Diabetes and Obesity Management - Episode 4

Episode 4 - Role of Pharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Obesity

As explained by Peter Salgo, MD, and Yehuda Handelsman, MD, FACP, FACE, FNLA, the obesity guideline published in 2013 doesn’t offer pharmacotherapy treatment options. However, Dr Salgo cites efficacy data that support their use for weight loss.

Dr Salgo explores short- and long-term agents, many of which are now being used as combination therapy, and asks the panelists to discuss their approaches when treating patients with obesity.

Kari Uusinarkaus, MD, FAAFP, FNLA, explains that although pharmacotherapeutic agents are helpful adjuncts in the management of weight loss, not all patients respond to treatment. Dr Uusinarkaus adds that overcoming other treatment barriers still deserves attention.

Dr Handelsman and Jeffrey D. Dunn, PharmD, MBA, emphasize how cost and reimbursement issues with these agents will continue to challenge their overall success. Dr Dunn explains that because more treatment options are becoming available, a coordinated effort to provide coverage is necessary.

Dr Handelsman emphasizes that, although there are effective pharmacotherapeutic options, lifestyle modification remains important. Dr Handelsman explains that not all patients who are obese require medication. Patients with complications should consider pharmacotherapeutic agents in combination with lifestyle interventions. For this reason, physicians need to focus on each patient as an individual when making treatment decisions.