Study finds long-term 10% weight loss with anti-obesity medications and lifestyle changes

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A new study finds overweight and obese people maintained an average weight loss of 10.6% over 3 to 5 years with a program of lifestyle changes in combination with anti-obesity medications. Weight loss of more than 10% provides significant health benefits, according to researchers who are presenting their findings Sunday, June 12 at ENDO 2022, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

"Data on the effectiveness of anti-obesity medications for long-term weight loss maintenance in the has been limited to 1 to 2 years," said lead researcher Michael A. Weintraub, M.D., of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, N.Y. "Our study is unique because we analyzed weight loss maintenance over 3-5 years in more than 400 adults with overweight and obesity who were taking weight-loss medications."

The study reviewed data from 428 patients at an academic weight management center. All patients received counseling focused on a low-glycemic diet and exercise by the obesity medicine specialist during their office visits. Patients were also offered additional counseling with a registered dietitian. Medical therapy included FDA-approved and off-label weight-loss medications. The most common medications used were metformin, phentermine and topiramate. At the final visit, patients were taking an average of two medications for weight management.

The were followed for a median of 4.7 years. They lost and maintained an average weight loss of 10.6%, which was maintained with and lifestyle interventions over 3 to 5 years.

"A 10% weight loss is clinically significant because it is associated with improvements in cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and as well as improvements in mobility and overall quality of life," he said.

Rates of obesity are approaching 40% in the United States, Weintraub noted. "Anti-obesity medications are an underutilized treatment option for obesity and can prevent obesity-related diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease," he said. "This research supports the utility of anti-obesity medications in achieving long-term maintenance."

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