Pharmacological therapies to address obesity in type 1 diabetes

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2020 Aug;27(4):194-206. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000555.


Purpose of review: Obesity is increasing in prevalence among patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and is associated with insulin resistance and increased cardiovascular risk. The management of obesity in this population is complicated by defects in pancreatic islet hormone secretion and the effects of exogenous insulin treatment. Here, we review the effects of antiobesity medications and adjunct-to-insulin medications on body weight in T1D.

Recent findings: There is a profound evidence gap around the use of drugs for the treatment of obesity in T1D since systematic studies have not been performed in this population. Adjunctive-to-insulin therapy with certain antihyperglycemic agents leads to modest weight loss and reductions in insulin dose in T1D. However, only pramlintide has been approved in the United States for clinical use as adjunctive therapy in T1D.

Summary: The growing prevalence of obesity in T1D has created an unmet need for safe and effective therapies to treat overweight and obesity in this population. Currently, antiobesity medications are used off-label for the treatment of patients with T1D. Additional studies are needed to understand the role of these medications in the management of obesity in patients with T1D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / classification
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin