Pharmacologic Weight Loss Therapy

Weight loss drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be useful as an adjunct to diet and physical activity for patients with a BMI ≥ 30 and without concomitant obesity-related risk factors or diseases. Drug therapy may also be useful for patients with a BMI ≥ 27 who also have concomitant obesity-related risk factors or diseases. The FDA approved medications are intended to assist obese and overweight Americans who have been unsuccessful in getting their weight under control with diet and exercise.

Short-term weight loss medications are indicated as adjunct therapy in a regimen of weight reduction based on exercise, behavioral modification and caloric restriction.

Long-term weight loss medication may be required for the rest of a patient's life to augment weight loss from diet and behavioral changes.

Placebo-controlled studies indicate that a statistically significant proportion of the patients benefit from the addition of weight loss medication to a low energy diet and exercise regimen. These studies also indicate that many patients are unable to complete these studies. Most patients will have intermittent success with weight loss. For these patients surgery may be an appropriate means of safe weight loss.