Combined drug treatment of obesity.


Atkinson RL, Blank RC, Loper JF




Obes Res


Pharmacological treatment of obesity has been neglected as a viable therapeutic option for many years. Recent long term studies with combinations of obesity drugs gives promise that drugs may play a role in weight maintenance, which classically has been the most difficult aspect of treating obesity. Currently available obesity drugs include centrally acting adrenergic agents and serotonin agonists. Drugs still in development include a lipase inhibitor that produces fat malabsorption, a combined adrenergic-serotonergic reuptake inhibitor, various gut-central nervous system peptides, and a number of beta-3 agonists. Any of these obesity drugs given alone produces modest weight loss, and for most, weight loss continues for as long as medication is given. The most successful drug regimens to date are combinations of phentermine and fenfluramine or of ephedrine, caffeine, and/or aspirin. The former combination produces reduction in body weight and complications of obesity for 2 to almost 4 years in clinical trials to date. More research is needed to document long term efficacy and particularly the long term safety of these and other combinations.