Drug Therapy For Obesity: To Use, Or Not To Use?
To date, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for obesity. Medical researchers continue to learn more about the causes and treatments of obesity. The difficulty lies is translating this into effective treatments.
A recent study by Mayo Clinic researchers published in the journal “Gastroenterology” looked at internal as well as external traits of normal, overweight and obese individuals.
People with obesity were found to take longer to reach a sense of fullness, had larger stomachs even when empty and their stomachs emptied more quickly.
Additionally, when traits such as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference were considered, people who had higher BMIs and larger waist circumferences (despite categorization of normal weight, overweight or obese) consumed more calories in a controlled setting (the laboratory kitchen).
Researchers next tested the effectiveness of a combination medication to treat obesity. The medication slowed the rate at which the stomach emptied and decreased the number of calories consumed at meals. This is comparable to the effects gastric surgery has on sense of fullness and stomach size — both of which are reduced. It isn’t completely clear how this combination drug works, so further study is needed.
It’s worth noting that the weight loss in this short-term study was not large at > 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) a week, but it is slightly more than what would be expected with diet and exercise alone.
Is drug therapy for weight loss right for everyone? Likely not. However, it may be a useful part of a treatment plan for some.
Nevertheless, every treatment plan for weight control must include the prescription to eat better — healthier choices with portions that are appropriate — and daily physical activity.