Public health nutrition

Drugs in the treatment of obesity: sibutramine, orlistat and rimonabant.

PMID 17903331


Modification of lifestyle is the main therapeutical approach in the treatment of obesity, but use to fail on long terms of time. Addition of anti-obesity drugs allows keeping the weight loss during years and improving obesity-related comorbidities. This review is an actualisation on efficacy, safety and tolerability of the approved drugs on the long-term treatment of obesity (orlistat and sibutramine). New indications and effects of their use far beyond the weight loss are as well commented. Finally, potential benefits of the administration of CB1 antagonist rimonabant on the weight loss and cardiometabolic risk factors are analysed in detail. A decade of experience on the use of orlistat and sibutramine has demonstrated their higher efficacy on the weight loss when compared to placebo either on adult or teenage population as well as safety and tolerability on long-term administration. Beneficial effects on the lipid profile, glycosilated haemoglobin on diabetic patients, blood pressure and levels of inflammatory cytokines, contribute to decrease the cardiovascular risk on obese patients. Phase III clinical trials using rimonabant show additional benefits to the expected weight loss, mainly reducing visceral fat and cardiometabolic risk factors. Pharmacological treatment of obesity must be considered as a therapeutical tool that has to be used together with long-term lifestyle changes, contributing to the body weight reduction as well as to the improvement of the cardiometabolic risk related to obesity.

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