New Antidiabetes Medications More Rapidly Adopted Than Anti-obesity Drugs

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Antidiabetes medications are more commonly prescribed than anti-obesity drugs.
Antidiabetes medications are more commonly prescribed than anti-obesity drugs.

HealthDay News -- The adoption rate of the newest antidiabetes pharmacotherapy, subtype 2 sodium-glucose transport protein inhibitors (SGLT2s), is considerably higher than that of anti-obesity pharmacotherapies, according to research published in Obesity.

Catherine E. Thomas, from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of data from 2012 to 2015 to characterize the adoption of anti-obesity pharmacotherapies and SGLT2 inhibitors.

The researchers found that the number of antidiabetes prescriptions dispensed was 15-fold higher than the number of dispensed anti-obesity prescriptions. The anti-obesity market share was 74.0% and 18.6% for phentermine and new anti-obesity pharmacotherapies, respectively. 

Per month, the mean increases in prescriptions were 25 259 for SGLT2 inhibitors, 5154 for new anti-obesity pharmacotherapies, and 2718 for phentermine. 

The majority of medications were prescribed by family medicine/general practice and internal medicine specialties. The highest prevalence of prescribers of any subspecialty was endocrinology.

"The adoption rate of SGLT2s was nearly exponential, while the adoption rate of new anti-obesity pharmacotherapies was linear," the researchers wrote. "Considering the relative prevalence of obesity to diabetes and that obesity is a major cause of diabetes, these results are paradoxical and suggest systematic barriers against the prescribing of anti-obesity pharmacotherapies."

Disclosures: Several study and editorial authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.


  1. Thomas CE, Mauer EA, Shukla AP, Rathi S, Aronne LJ. Low adoption of weight loss medications: A comparison of prescribing patterns of antiobesity pharmacotherapies and SGLT2s. Obesity. 2016;24(9):1955-1961. doi:10.1002/oby.21533.
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