New understandings of the hormonal/neural mechanisms that underlie the regulation of appetite, food intake, and weight have led to the development of novel targets for obesity therapy. Evidence-based recommendations now advise the use of pharmacologic agents for obesity in collaboration with lifestyle changes. Most of these drugs can be used on a long-term basis. However, it is important that patients be monitored and therapeutic adjustments made when required. At the present time, anti-obesity medications are underutilized among patients likely to benefit from them.
This CME article will provide an in-depth review of recommendations supporting the role of pharmacologic therapy as an adjunct to lifestyle changes in reducing weight gain and promoting weight loss. Data will be presented on the efficacy and safety of the available weight-loss agents approved for long-term use, as will recent data showing the potential cardiometabolic benefits of these agents. The need for individualized obesity therapy, especially in the treatment of patients with comorbidities, will be discussed.