Clinical and economic considerations of antiobesity treatment: a review of orlistat
Division of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
Abstract: The objective of this study was to review the current knowledge about the use of orlistat from clinical and economic perspectives, and to assess this drug’s public health impact. Weight reduction by current antiobesity drugs, compared to placebo, is at most around 5 kg. Orlistat, the most studied antiobesity drug, is associated with the least-severe adverse effects, but compared with other drugs in its class it also delivers the most modest weight loss versus placebo (less than 3 kg). Orlistat appears to have a favorable risk/benefit profile, and cost-effectiveness ratios seem to be within a range that is generally considered acceptable. In the short-term, orlistat is related to reduced diabetes incidence and to slightly improved blood pressure and lipid profiles. Long-term clinical effects have been largely unstudied, however, and this study did not find reports that considered mortality as an endpoint. Given a very low continuation with orlistat treatment in the population and very modest and, apparently, only short-term clinical effects, orlistat is not likely to have a significant impact on the population health. Public health approaches of improving environmental and social factors to foster healthier food choices and increase physical activity remain essential for addressing the obesity epidemic.
Keywords: obesity, orlistat, weight loss, cost-effectiveness
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