The limits and challenges of antiobesity pharmacotherapy.Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2020 Aug; 21(11):1319-1328.EO
Pharmacotherapy is a useful adjunct when patients with obesity are unable to achieve adequate benefit from lifestyle interventions.
This review covers the history of antiobesity drugs, efficacy, and risks of currently approved drugs, limits of their usefulness in clinical practice, gaps in knowledge, methodological limitations of clinical trials, and reasons for underutilization.
In randomized controlled trials, currently approved antiobesity drugs have yielded an average weight loss ranging from approximately 3% to 9% relative to placebo at 1 year. Inadequate inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities and men, and high dropout rates in clinical trials limit generalizability of these findings to clinical practice. Weight loss achieved with antiobesity drugs is generally associated with lowered glycemia, but improvements in blood pressure and lipid measures tend to be marginal. There is limited evidence for sustained weight loss beyond 1 year and for safety and efficacy of antiobesity drugs in children and adolescents, and in post-bariatric surgery patients. None have demonstrated reduction in major adverse cardiovascular events or other significant disease outcomes. Limited health insurance coverage and negative perceptions of physicians have hindered the utilization of antiobesity drugs.