Korean J Fam Pract.  2020 Apr;10(2):77-86. 10.21215/kjfp.2020.10.2.77.

Obesity Treatment in Ambulatory Care Focused on Pharmacotherapy

  • 1VIP Healthcare Center, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Korea
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea


Obesity is a chronic relapsing disease associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer with a growing incidence. Since obesity is a complex disease that is affected by a variety of factors, including social, cultural, and environmental factors, it should be approached by establishing an integrated and comprehensive treatment strategy. It is difficult to achieve a sufficient amount of weight loss in most obese patients through lifestyle interventions alone, so pharmacotherapy in primary care should be actively considered as an additional treatment. Currently, there are four drugs that can be used for long-term weight management in Korea: orlistat, naltrexone/bupropion, phentermine/topiramate, and liraglutide. Sympathomimetics, such as phentermine, diethylpropion, phendimetrazine, and mazindol, can only be used for short-term treatment. These drugs can induce weight loss by suppressing appetite or inhibiting fat absorption in the gut. The prescription of such drug treatments should be based on evidence-based clinical care and tailored to the patient. Patient-tailored obesity drug treatments should be performed taking into consideration the advantages, side effects, and safety issues of each drug. Considering that obesity is a chronic disease that must be controlled for a lifetime, obese patients should be guided by clinicians to maintain their weight sustainably by setting common and realistic goals.


Obesity; Drug Therapy; Weight Loss; Anti-Obesity Agents; Ambulatory Care
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