Objective: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) covers intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) for obesity. The efficacy, however, of the specific approach has never been evaluated in a randomized trial, as described here. The 1-year trial also assessed whether the addition to IBT of liraglutide 3.0 mg would significantly increase weight loss and whether the provision of meal replacements would add further benefit.
Methods: A total of 150 adults with obesity were randomly assigned to: IBT (IBT-alone), providing 21 counseling visits; IBT combined with liraglutide (IBT-liraglutide); or IBT-liraglutide combined for 12 weeks with a 1,000- to 1,200-kcal/d meal-replacement diet (Multicomponent). All participants received weekly IBT visits in month 1, every-other-week visits in months 2 to 6, and monthly sessions thereafter.
Results: Ninety-one percent of participants completed 1 year, at which time mean (± SEM) losses for IBT-alone, IBT-liraglutide, and Muticomponent participants were 6.1 ± 1.3%, 11.5 ± 1.3%, and 11.8 ± 1.3% of baseline weight, respectively. Fully 44.0%, 70.0%, and 74.0% of these participants lost ≥ 5% of weight, respectively. The liraglutide-treated groups were superior to IBT-alone on both outcomes. Weight loss in all three groups was associated with clinically meaningful improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors.
Conclusions: The findings demonstrate the efficacy of IBT for obesity and the potential benefit of adding pharmacotherapy to this approach.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02911818.
© 2018 The Obesity Society.