Experts See Place for Weight-Loss Drugs in Obesity Treatment

Experts See Place for Weight-Loss Drugs in Obesity Treatment

TUESDAY, Jan. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A healthy diet and exercise should be the main tools obese people use to lose weight, but prescription weight-loss drugs may have a place, too, according to new guidelines from the Endocrine Society.

“Lifestyle changes should always be a central part of any weight loss strategy,” Dr. Caroline Apovian, chair of the guidelines task force, said in a society news release. She is director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center.

The guidelines say that other methods, such as weight-loss drugs and weight-loss surgery, can be combined with lifestyle changes.

“Medications do not work by themselves, but they can help people maintain a healthy diet by reducing the appetite. Adding a medication to a lifestyle modification program is likely to result in greater weight loss,” said Apovian, who is also professor of medicine and pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

In the past two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved four new weight-loss drugs: lorcaserin, phentermine/topiramate, naltrexone/bupropion and liraglutide.

Prescription weight-loss drugs may be an option for obese people who haven’t been able to lose weight and maintain a weight goal if they meet the criteria on the drug’s label, according to the guidelines.

The guidelines appear in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey said that nearly 34 percent of American adults ages 19-79 were overweight. Of those, more than 13 percent were obese and more than 6 percent were extremely obese.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about prescription weight-loss drugs.