Current pharmacotherapy for obesity

Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2018 Jan;14(1):12-24. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2017.122. Epub 2017 Oct 13.


More than one-third of adults in the USA have obesity, which causes, exacerbates or adversely impacts numerous medical comorbidities, including diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Despite intensive lifestyle modifications, the disease severity warrants further aggressive intervention, including pharmacotherapy, medical devices and bariatric surgery. Noninvasive anti-obesity drugs have thus now resurfaced as targeted adjunctive therapeutic approaches to intensive lifestyle intervention, bridging the gap between lifestyle and bariatric surgery. In this Review, we discuss FDA-approved anti-obesity drugs in terms of safety and efficacy. As most of these drugs have a mean percentage weight loss reported in clinical trials but individual variations in response rates, a future direction of obesity pharmacotherapy research might include the potential for personalized medicine to target early responders to these anti-obesity drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Appetite Depressants / pharmacology
  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use*
  • Bariatric Surgery / trends
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Weight Loss / drug effects
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Appetite Depressants
  • Hypoglycemic Agents