For the first time ever, health practitioners have been provided with a clinical practice guideline for the treatment of obesity. This new tool could help them treat patients with obesity more effectively.
The guideline, "Pharmacological Management of Obesity: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline," published by the Endocrine Society, has been released on the heels of FDA approval of four new anti-obesity drugs - lorcaserin (Belviq), phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia), naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave) and liraglutide (Saxenda).
Obesity is a disease that puts individuals at risk for more than 30 other health conditions.
"The pharmacotherapy guideline provides a roadmap for clinicians considering anti-obesity drug treatment for patients not finding success with diet and exercise alone," says Donna Ryan, MD, Member of the Development Panel and Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center, speaking on behalf of TOS.
Dr. Ryan explains that this new guideline offers information about recommended medications and dosage based on obesity-related comorbidities. It also gives specific recommendations for transitioning patients off drugs that cause weight gain with the goal of shifting the treatment paradigm from treating weight last to treating weight first.
Key recommendations include implications for continuing and discontinuing medication, guidance for prescribing medications and disclosure of information to patients about medication-related weight gain. This new guideline expands upon the Guidelines (2013) for Managing Overweight and Obesity in Adults, published in Obesity in November 2013 by TOS, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC).
While the 2013 Guidelines can help healthcare practitioners identify patients who could benefit from treatment, the new guideline provides specific recommendations with respect to the best anti-obesity drug for these patients. Both resources are important and fill a gap in the treatment of obesity.
Individuals affected by obesity should seek the support of healthcare providers for weight loss. The anti-obesity drugs approved by the FDA can be used as an adjunct to diet and exercise and can help treat obesity more effectively, especially in patients who have not yet found success with diet and exercise alone.
Dr. Ryan has called upon prescribing health practitioners to review these guidelines and take steps to put them into practice as this can increase the effectiveness of obesity management strategies and can help people who need additional support.
Source: Obesity Society
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