In its latest recommendations, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found drug therapy to be less effective for long-term weight loss than behavioral therapy, mainly because research on medications isn’t strong enough to make a comparison.
Clinical trials of obesity medications also tend to have a high dropout rate, which could be a result of drug side effects such as anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, elevated heart rate, and mood disorders. Overall, the task force implied that drug therapy’s benefits may not outweigh its risks.
FDA-approved weight loss medications include orlistat (Xenical), lorcaserin (Belviq), and naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave).
This content first appeared in the January 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.