Contemporary Review of Drugs Used to Treat Obesity
Zinnia T. San Juan.
Obesity, classified by the American Medical Association in 2013 as a disease, is an epidemic that is drawing
serious global attention. It is the most common preventable disease and the most common modifiable risk factor for
several chronic diseases. It is an independent cause of increased morbidity and mortality. Obesity is spreading across most
countries, socio-economic strata, age groups, gender groups, and races, albeit to variable degrees. It is concerning that
both adults and children are increasingly afflicted by obesity. Both incidence and prevalence of the disease are on the rise.
The direct and indirect costs attributable to obesity have reached billions of US dollars. Obesity management involves a
multi-disciplinary approach that includes the patient and his or her family, the primary care provider, a dietician or
nutrition specialist and physical trainer. It may also require specialist care in the use of pharmacological and surgical
interventions. Currently available anti-obesity drugs are indicated for those who are obese (BMI of 30 kg/m2) or overweight
(BMI of 27 kg/m2) with at least one weight-related comorbid condition. This article focuses on the FDA-approved antiobesity
drugs, their mechanisms of action, chemical structures, efficacy, safety profiles and known side effects.
Keywords: Body mass index, diet, drugs, exercise, lifestyle modification, lorcaserin, obesity, orlistat, phenteramine,
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