Obesity medications and the treatment of type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Technol Ther. 1999 Fall;1(3):277-87. doi: 10.1089/152091599317198.


Obesity is a chronic disease and requires ongoing treatment. Type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity and improves with weight loss. Diets of 800 kcal/d induce twice the weight loss induced by weight loss medications. The strength of weight loss medication, which should be used with diet and a lifestyle change program, is the maintenance of weight loss. Sibutramine and orlistat are the only two medications approved for the long-term treatment of obesity. Orlistat gives a reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in excess of that expected with weight loss, and the drop in blood pressure expected with weight loss is not seen with sibutramine. Except in newly diagnosed patients with diabetes subjects, patients with diabetes lose half the weight of subjects who do not have diabetes when treated with weight loss medications. Metformin and, to a lesser extent, acarbose cause weight loss, making them attractive choices for the treatment of obese type 2 diabetic subjects. Repaglinide appears to be weight-neutral, but other medications for patients with diabetes can be associated with weight gain. Many new medications are in development for the treatment of obesity. These new medications act through a variety of mechanisms and will surely play an increasingly important role in the treatment of obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acarbose / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lactones / therapeutic use
  • Life Style
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Orlistat
  • Weight Loss


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Appetite Depressants
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Lactones
  • Metformin
  • Orlistat
  • Acarbose