Lightening the load? A systematic review of community pharmacy-based weight management interventions

Obes Rev. 2011 Nov;12(11):897-911. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00913.x. Epub 2011 Aug 25.


The extent to which community pharmacies can increase capacity for weight management is unknown. Thus, the objective of the present paper was to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of community pharmacy weight management interventions. This paper used a design of systematic review and narrative synthesis. Electronic databases (1999-2009) were searched, including Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL and Pharm-line. Weight management studies in community pharmacies were eligible for the inclusion criteria. All languages and study designs were considered. Outcome measures included body weight or anthropometry (at baseline and at least one follow-up time point). Data were extracted through independent, duplicate data extraction and quality assessment. As a result, 10 studies were included, totalling 2,583 service users and 582 pharmacies from the USA, the UK, Switzerland, Spain and Denmark. One was a randomized controlled trial of a meal-replacement versus a reduced calorie diet. A non-randomized controlled before and after study compared community pharmacist treatment using Orlistat with usual care. Eight studies were uncontrolled. Five studies described behaviour change techniques. Long-term (12 months) mean weight loss measured in three studies ranged from 1.1 to 4.1 kg. Four uncontrolled studies reported statistically significant weight loss. No study reported economic evaluations. Currently, there is insufficient evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of community pharmacy-based weight management initiatives to support investment in their provision.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Community Pharmacy Services / economics*
  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactones / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Obesity / economics*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Orlistat
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Lactones
  • Orlistat