Introduction: Obesity is a public health concern on a global scale, obesity can lead to significant risk of developing various comorbidities. Lifestyle interventions along with surgical and medical approaches are the primary options for obesity treatment. This systematic review aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of pharmacological interventions for weight loss in adults with obesity.
Methods: A systematic search review was carried out from January 2018 to December 2022. The search for relevant articles was conducted through PubMed and EBSCO databases. 2290 articles were retrieved and evaluated based on the established inclusion and exclusion criteria. Among them, 362 articles were duplicates and subsequently removed. Further, 1893 articles failed to meet the inclusion criteria and were excluded from this review. Consequently, 35 articles were considered for the review.
Results: Pharmacologic interventions showed good efficacy in treating obesity. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists showed the highest efficacy. Other options including sodium glucose co-transporter (SGLT) Inhibitors, orlistat, phentermine/topiramate, metformin, tirzepatide, Gelesis100 also demonstrated efficacy to various degrees. The safety profile of these interventions was generally good with gastrointestinal symptoms being the most frequently reported adverse events in almost all the included interventions. Neurological symptoms were the most frequently reported in phentermine/topiramate.
Conclusion: This review, in agreement with prior research, indicates that medications can effectively treat obesity with a favorable safety profile. Thus, pharmacotherapy presents a promising, safe, and effective method to achieve weight loss, indicating its potential to play a significant role in the future.