Pharmacotherapy of obesity: Available medications and drugs under investigation

Metabolism. 2019 Mar:92:170-192. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2018.10.010. Epub 2018 Nov 1.


Obesity is a chronic disease with a continuously rising prevalence that currently affects more than half a billion people worldwide. Energy balance and appetite are highly regulated via central and peripheral mechanisms, and weight loss triggers a homeostatic response leading to weight regain. Lifestyle and behavioral modifications are the cornerstones of obesity management; however, they often fail to achieve or sustain long-term weight loss. Pharmacotherapy added onto lifestyle modifications results in an additional, albeit limited, weight reduction. Regardless, this weight reduction of 5-10% conveys multiple cardiovascular and metabolic benefits. In this review, evidence on the food and drug administration (FDA)-approved medications, i.e., orlistat, lorcaserin, phentermine/topiramate, liraglutide and naltrexone/bupropion, is summarized. Furthermore, anti-obesity agents in the pipeline for potential future therapeutic use are presented.

Keywords: Liraglutide; Lorcaserin; Naltrexone/bupropion; Obesity; Orlistat; Personalized therapy phentermine/topiramate.

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*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Weight Loss


  • Anti-Obesity Agents