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Is Obesity Pharmacotherapy Effective in Achieving Clinically Meaningful Weight Loss in Veterans?

Research Paper Title

Obesity Pharmacotherapy is Effective in the Veterans Affairs Patient Population: A Local and Virtual Cohort Study.

Background

Obesity is a major public health challenge, and the US military veteran population is disproportionately affected. Using deidentified records from a local weight management clinic and a national clinical data repository, obesity pharmacotherapy use and effectiveness for weight loss and obesity comorbidities in this vulnerable population were assessed.

Methods

During the initial year of the local clinic, 43 records with monthly follow-up of MOVE! lifestyle intervention augmented by obesity pharmacotherapy were found. Nationally, more than 2 million records of prescribed obesity pharmacotherapy compared with metformin as control were identified. Records with detailed documentation of weight trends from 1 year before to 1 year after the prescription date for further analysis were selected for review.

Results

The most commonly prescribed medications in the local clinic were metformin, liraglutide, and combination phentermine/topiramate. On average, weight loss of -4.0 ± 2.1 kg over the initial 6-month intervention was observed. In the national cohort, 577,491 records with an obesity or control metformin prescription and adequate weight documentation were identified. The most effective pharmacotherapy in the national cohort was phentermine/topiramate (-0.0931 ± 0.0198 kg/wk difference), followed by liraglutide, lorcaserin, and orlistat.

Conclusions

Obesity pharmacotherapy is effective in achieving clinically meaningful weight loss in veterans as part of an integrated care approach.

Reference

Pendse, J., Vallejo-Garcia, F., Parziale, A., Callanan, M., Tenner, C. & Aleman, J.O. (2021) Obesity Pharmacotherapy is Effective in the Veterans Affairs Patient Population: A Local and Virtual Cohort Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 29(2), pp.308-316. doi: 10.1002/oby.23075.

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