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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

MeReC Bulletin - Drug Management of Obesity

The National Prescribing Centre (NPC) has published a MeReC Bulletin (PDF) discussing the drug management of obesity.

The bulletin describes the increasing incidence of obesity and the impact that this has on health. The article also discusses non-pharmacological and pharmacological methods for loosing weight with a more detailed examination of when drugs are appropriate, how effective they are likely to be and the side effects and safety concerns associated with use.

The article concludes that, "it is worth encouraging people to eat a little less and move a little more". It is also noted that all anti-obesity drugs are associated with modest weight loss of 3 to 5kg and that prescribing should consider the overall benefit in relation to safety warnings, national guidance and licensed product indications. Finally, the bulletin provides a table of the three currently available anti-obesity drugs with detail given for Safety, Tolerability, Efficacy, Price and Simplicity of use (STEPS) that will aid clinicians in making an informed decision about which drug is most appropriate to use.

Action: Clinicians who are involved in the management of patients who are overweight or obese will find this bulletin to be useful and informative. It is of the usual high standard expected from the NPC.

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