Introduction: Obesity is considered to be a chronic disease. Currently there are five prescription-only medications on the US market for the long-term management of obesity. However, these medications are underutilized by obese or overweight individuals seeking medical assistance for weight management.Areas covered: This special report provides an overview of the emerging obesity pharmacotherapies based on the data available from recruiting and active phase II/III trials from a registry of clinical trials. The authors also give their expert opinion and provide their future perspectives on the treatment of obesity based on what is known.Expert opinion: Despite obesity being a chronic condition affecting 40% of the US population, there is a low demand for obesity medications in the US market. Although the potential obesity medications that are currently being investigated in phase II/III clinical trials are promising, it is unclear whether the future pharmacotherapies will be enough to meet the health care need.