Anti-Obesity Drugs: A Review about Their Effects and Safety

Diabetes Metab J. 2012 Feb;36(1):13-25. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2012.36.1.13. Epub 2012 Feb 17.


The current recommendations for the treatment of obese people include increased physical activity and reduced calories intake. When the behavioral approach is not sufficient, a pharmacologic treatment is recommended. In past years, numerous drugs have been approved for the treatment of obesity; however, most of them have been withdrawn from the market because of their adverse effects. In fact, amphetamine, rimonabant and sibutramine licenses have been withdrawn due to an increased risk of psychiatric disorders and non-fatal myocardial infarction or stroke. Even if orlistat is not as effective as other drugs in reducing body weight, orlistat is presently the only available choice for the treatment of obesity because of its safety for cardiovascular events and positive effects on diabetic control. Hopefully, more effective and better tolerated anti-obesity drugs will be developed through an improved understanding of the multiple mechanisms and complex physiological systems targeting appetite.

Keywords: Anti-obesity agents; Obesity; Safety.