Intended for healthcare professionals


Drug treatment for obesity

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 09 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1379

We need more studies in men at higher risk of coronary events

  1. Jean-Pierre Després (, professor
  1. Québec Heart Institute, Laval Hospital Research Center, Sainte-Foy (Québec), Canada G1V 4G5

    Although obesity, especially abdominal obesity, is the commonest cause of complications such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, and cardiovascular diseases, doctors most often use drugs to treat the complications rather than the underlying condition. This situation can be attributed to several factors, including lack of recognition of obesity as an important causal factor, doctors' ignorance about the potential contribution of drugs to managing obesity, and a lack of evidence that weight loss drugs can help maintain a reduced body weight while improving the patient's health profile. A recent trial has now provided some good evidence of the long term effectiveness of a weight loss drug.

    The recently published STORM (sibutramine trial of obesity reduction and maintenance) study1 differs from previous weight loss trials. Its objective was not to show that sibutramine, a drug acting on the central nervous system and increasing energy expenditure, could induce significant weight loss beyond that achieved by a reduced calorie diet or placebo—an effect that already has been well documented.2 Rather, it aimed to test whether sibutramine therapy for an additional period of 18 months could prevent weight regain among obese patients who had achieved a weight loss of over 5% over six months with an initial dose of 10 mg/day. …

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