Study Shows Weight Loss Medication Works Best With Lifestyle Modification
A lifestyle modification program of diet, exercise, and behavioral therapy when used in combination with a weight loss medication resulted in significantly greater weight loss among obese adults than treatment with the medication alone.
Schmalfeldt: A lifestyle modification program of diet, exercise, and behavioral therapy when used in combination with a weight loss medication resulted in significantly greater weight loss among obese adults than treatment with the medication alone. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, conducted a study into the effects of the weight loss medication "sibutramine" when used alone and in combination with lifestyle modification. Doctor Susan Yanovski is Director of the Obesity and Eating Disorders Program for the NIDDK.
Yanovski: The first line of treatment for obesity is really lifestyle modification. That's what's recommended and that's what's going to work for many people. Unfortunately there are some people for whom lifestyle alone isn't going to lead to sufficient weight loss, and for those people medication could be useful. What this study found was that when you added lifestyle therapy to weight loss medication, you had a much better result at one year. In fact, you more than doubled the amount of weight loss compared with drug alone.
Schmalfeldt: One limitation of the study is that it only included obese patients who were otherwise healthy. Since many obese patients also have other conditions that can adversely affect their health, doctors should carefully monitor patients enrolled in programs that include weight-loss medications.
Yanovski: Drugs really shouldn't be used alone for weight loss. It's going to be much more effective if you use it combined with lifestyle treatment, which is treatment that gives patients the skills they need to improve their diets and physical activity.
Schmalfeldt: According to data from the 1999 to 2000 National Health and Examination Survey, about 65 percent of Americans aged 20 or older are overweight, with about 31 percent of adults classified as obese, as determined by body mass index. The study appeared in the November 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Susan Yanovski
Topic: Weight Loss