Current pharmacotherapies for obesity: A practical perspective

Angela Golden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: To review the currently available pharmacotherapies for obesity management with a particular focus on the United States. Methods: Narrative review based on literature searches and the latest prescribing information (up to July 2017). Conclusions: Obesity pharmacotherapies may assist those individuals who have obesity, or overweight with comorbidities, who have failed to maintain weight loss with lifestyle modifications alone (caloric restriction and increased physical activity). Currently approved options in the United States include phentermine for short-term use and five obesity pharmacotherapies that can be used long-term (orlistat, lorcaserin, phentermine–topiramate, naltrexone–bupropion, and liraglutide 3.0 mg). If the use of an obesity pharmacotherapy is indicated, treatment should be selected to provide the most appropriate option for each individual and their circumstances. Variables such as contraindications, individual comorbidities, patient choice, patient readiness to incorporate additional behavioral changes (e.g., alcohol prohibition), and cost should guide choices. Implications for Practice: Each of the obesity pharmacotherapies has advantages and disadvantages that can help guide treatment choice. Those receiving treatment may also have individual preferences based on factors such as administration route, frequency of dosing, and/or safety profile. In addition, some options may be particularly appropriate for patients with common obesity-related complications such as depression or diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S43-S52
JournalJournal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Nurse practitioners
  • obesity
  • pharmacotherapy
  • weight management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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