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05-14-2017 | Obesity | Review | Article

Medication use for the treatment of diabetes in obese individuals


Author: John P. H. Wilding

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg


Obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes and may complicate type 1 diabetes. Weight loss for obese individuals with diabetes has many health benefits, often leads to improvement in glucose control and sometimes, in type 2 diabetes, near normalisation of abnormal glucose metabolism. Weight loss is difficult to maintain and attempts to lose weight may be undermined by some diabetes treatments such as sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones and insulin. Whilst lifestyle support should be the primary approach to aid individuals who wish to lose weight, pharmacological approaches can also be considered. These include choosing glucose-lowering drugs or drug combinations that are weight neutral or result in weight loss or prescribing drugs that are specifically approved as anti-obesity medication. Given that some of the newer glucose-lowering medications that cause weight loss, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) and sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i), are also being used or considered for use as anti-obesity drugs, it seems that the distinction between glucose-lowering medication and weight loss medication is becoming blurred. This review discusses the main pharmacological approaches that can be used to support weight loss in individuals with diabetes.

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