HEALINE

Meds for Weight Management Underutilized Among Veterans

Only 1 percent of veterans enrolled in weight management programs receive medications

TUESDAY, May 28, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Weight management medications (WMM) are underutilized among veterans, according to a study published online May 15 in Obesity.

Dylan D. Thomas, from the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, and colleagues retrospectively assessed patients with obesity or overweight and obesity-related comorbidities who enrolled in a behavioral weight management program through the Veterans Health Administration from October 2013 to September 2016 (153,393 participants).

The researchers found that 1.1 percent of participants received WMM. The most commonly prescribed WMMs were orlistat (70.4 percent), phentermine/topiramate (11.2 percent), and bupropion/naltrexone (9.7 percent). Greater odds of WMM use were seen among women and those with higher body mass index (BMI), obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, depression, lower back pain, and alcohol abuse. Lower odds of WMM use were associated with age >65 years, Hispanic ethnicity, and required copayments. Among patients receiving WMM, use of orlistat versus any other WMM was associated with older age, black race, female sex, higher BMI, cardiovascular disease, lower back pain, and congestive heart failure.

"Additional research is needed to understand barriers to incorporating WMM into comprehensive obesity treatment plans," the authors write.

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