Objective: On the basis of the clinical observations that bupropion facilitated weight loss, we investigated the efficacy and tolerability of this drug in overweight and obese adult women.
Research methods and procedures: A total of 50 overweight and obese (body mass index: 28.0 to 52.6 kg/m(2)) women were included. The core component of the study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled comparison for 8 weeks. Bupropion or placebo was started at 100 mg/d with gradual dose increase to a maximum of 200 mg twice daily. All subjects were prescribed a 1600 kcal/d balanced diet and compliance was monitored with food diaries. Responders continued the same treatment in a double-blind manner for an additional 16 weeks to a total of 24 weeks. There was additional single-blind follow-up treatment for a total of 2 years.
Results: Subjects receiving bupropion achieved greater mean weight loss (last-observation-carried-forward analysis) over the first 8 weeks of the study (p = 0.0001): 4.9% +/- 3.4% (n = 25) for bupropion treatment compared with 1.3% +/- 2.4% (n = 25) for placebo treatment. For those who completed the 8 weeks, the comparison was 6.2% +/- 3.1% (n = 18) vs. 1.6% +/- 2.9% (n = 13), respectively(p = 0.0002), with 12 of 18 of the bupropion subjects (67%) losing over 5% of baseline body weight compared with 2 of 13 in the placebo group (15%; p = 0.0094). In the continuation phase, 14 bupropion responders who completed 24 weeks achieved weight loss of 12.9% +/- 5.6% with fat accounting for 73.5% +/- 3.7% of the weight lost and no change in bone mineral density as assessed by DXA. Bupropion was generally well-tolerated in this sample.
Discussion: Bupropion was more effective than placebo in achieving weight loss at 8 weeks in overweight and obese adult women in this preliminary study. Initial responders to bupropion benefited further in the continuation phase.