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Prescription Obesity Drugs
Adrenergic Serotonergic Agents Reduce Appetite and Increase Satiety
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Use of Prescription Drugs in the Treatment of Obesity

Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States and in many other countries of the world. Obesity is a chronic disease, not a failure of willpower. Diet, exercise, and behavioral modification of lifestyle are rarely successful over the long term. Medications have been used sparingly, because of concerns about addiction and ineffectiveness, but used chronically, obesity drugs are effective. The two main categories of obesity drugs are centrally active adrenergic and serotonergic agents. These drugs reduce appetite, enhance satiety, and increase energy expenditure. Use of single agents produces modest weight loss and use of combinations increases loss, but few patients reach their goal weight.

Co-morbidities associated with obesity resolve or are reduced in severity with weight loss. Adverse events of major concern are changes in brain biochemistry and primary pulmonary hypertension.

NOTE: Published guidelines for use of obesity medications recommend they be used to treat only medically significant obesity - patients with a 30+ body mass index (BMI) with no obesity-related conditions, or patients with a 27+ BMI with two or more obesity-related conditions.

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