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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Apr;23 Suppl 1:S4-7. doi: 10.1002/oby.21093.

Efficacy comparison of medications approved for chronic weight management.

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Weill Cornell Medical College, Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, & Metabolism, Comprehensive Weight Control Center, New York, New York, USA.


For the first time, patients who are obese are able to benefit from 5 different FDA approved pharmacologic agents for chronic weight management. Although weight loss from all of these medications was limited to 5% to 10% of total body weight loss in the Phase III clinical trials, patients are capable of losing more weight when a cumulative approach of diet, exercise, and multiple medications are used. A pilot study of adding phentermine to lorcaserin yielded double the weight loss than lorcaserin alone. A higher percentage of total body weight is lost with use of combination phentermine/topiramate compared to orlistat, lorcaserin, and bupropion/naltrexone but there are more contraindications to its use and potential cardiovascular adverse effects due to adrenergic agonism. Lorcaserin and bupropion/naltrexone yielded similar weight loss but carry different adverse effect profiles and interactions with other psychiatric medications may preclude use of one over the other. When choosing a medication for obesity, several factors need to be considered, such as comorbidities, medication interactions, and risk of potential adverse effects.

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