Usage, risk, and benefit of weight-loss drugs in primary care

  • Forslund T
  • Raaschou P
  • Hjemdahl P
 et al. 
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Purpose. To investigate the use of the weight-loss drugs rimonabant, sibutramine, and orlistat in primary care and to characterize the patients receiving the drugs. Methods. In this retrospective, descriptive study, 300 randomly selected patients having started weight-loss drug treatment at 15 primary care centres were investigated using the patient's medical records and their complete drug purchase data. Results. Even though 48% of the patients specifically demanded drug treatment, 77% continued treatment less than one year. 28% of rimonabant patients and 32% of sibutramine patients had a history of depression or antidepressant treatment. 41% of sibutramine patients had a history of hypertension and/or cardiovascular disease. 36% had no documented weight after treatment initiation. Conclusions. These results suggest that weight-loss drug treatment was often initiated upon patient request but was of limited clinical benefit as it was managed in a large portion of Swedish primary carecenters.

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