Few studies on combination therapies for the treatment of obesity had been conducted until recently, when two fixed-dose combinations, bupropion-naltrexone ER fixed-dose combination and phentermine-topiramate ER titrated-dose combinations were evaluated in clinical studies that ultimately led to FDA approval. Areas covered: In this review, we discuss safety concerns about both combinations, the rationale and history of combination therapies for obesity (including phentermine plus fenfluramine), and possible future new combinations. Expert opinion: Combination therapies are a promising new area in obesity treatment, similar to what occurs with diabetes and hypertension. Safety assessment is highly important due to the high number of potential users on a chronic basis.
Keywords: Obesity pharmacotherapy; bupropion/naltrexone; cardiovascular safety; combination therapy; nephrolithiasis; phentermine/topiramate; psychiatric safety; seizures.