Pharmacologic treatment options for obesity: what is old is new again

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 Jun;15(3):182-9. doi: 10.1007/s11906-013-0343-6.


After a long period of failure in development, two new medications (phentermine/topiramate ER - Qsymia™ and lorcaserin - Belviq®) have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for long-term weight management in persons with obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m(2)) or in overweight persons (BMI ≥ 27 kg/m(2)) with comorbidities. Another medication, bupropion/naltrexone, is undertaking a cardiovascular outcomes trial and an analysis in 2014 will determine its approval and release. The most widely prescribed drug for obesity, phentermine, used since 1959 for short-term weight management, has been released in a new formulation. This paper reviews these new medications, and other important events in the landscape for management of obesity, with an eye to the interests of physicians who manage hypertension. All the new drugs under discussion are re-fittings of old agents or fresh approaches to old targets; thus, what is old is new again in the pharmacotherapy of obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Appetite Depressants / administration & dosage
  • Appetite Depressants / adverse effects
  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Time
  • Weight Loss


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Appetite Depressants