The Fight Against Obesity Escalates: New Drugs on the Horizon and Metabolic Implications

Curr Obes Rep. 2020 Jun;9(2):136-149. doi: 10.1007/s13679-020-00378-x.


Purpose of review: There is currently a steep rise in the global prevalence of obesity. Pharmaceutical therapy is a valuable component of conservative obesity therapy. Herein, medications currently in the phase of preclinical or clinical testing are reviewed, along with an overview of the mechanisms that regulate energy intake and expenditure. In addition, the current and potential future directions of obesity drug therapy are discussed.

Recent findings: Although the current arsenal of obesity pharmacotherapy is limited, a considerable number of agents that exert their actions through a variety of pharmacodynamic targets and mechanisms are in the pipeline. This expansion shapes a potential near future of obesity conservative management, characterized by tailored combined therapeutic regimens, targeting not only weight loss but also improved overall health outcomes. The progress regarding the elucidation of the mechanisms which regulate the bodily energy equilibrium has led to medications which mimic hormonal adaptations that follow bariatric surgery, in the quest for a "Medical bypass." These, combined with agents which could increase energy expenditure, point to a brilliant future in the conservative treatment of obesity.

Keywords: Appetite; Energy expenditure; Gut peptides; Medical bypass; Obesity; Semaglutide; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Review