Conference Coverage

Real-world weight loss with meds approximates RCT results



Patients who took a fixed-dose combination of phentermine and topiramate–extended release (ER) lost over 15% of their body weight at 12 months, according to real-world experience from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Gerardo Calderon of the Mayo Clinic, MInnesota Kari Oakes/MDedge News

Dr. Gerardo Calderon

The results seen with the medication combo – a mean 15.5% total body weight loss at 12 months – bested the 8%-11% seen in randomized controlled trials (RCTs), said Gerardo Calderon, MD, in an interview during a poster session at Obesity Week, presented by the Obesity Society and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The combination was also the most commonly prescribed weight loss medication at the Mayo Clinic, where Dr. Calderon is a gastroenterology and hepatology research fellow.

Patients taking lorcaserin at the Mayo Clinic also lost more weight loss than RCT participants (8.8% vs. 5%-6%, respectively). Notably, they also had a higher probability of losing at least 10% of their baseline total body weight (40% vs. 17%-23% in clinical trials). In RCTs, 37%-48% of patients taking phentermine/topiramate-ER had a total body weight loss of at least 10%, similar to the Mayo Clinic’s figure of 49%.

The rate of reported adverse events – 23.8% – exceeded that reported in RCTs, noted Dr. Calderon. Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, were reported by 2%-20% of patients across the various drugs prescribed. Insomnia and mood changes, along with dizziness or lightheadedness, were reported by 2%-6% of patients. Almost 12% of patients taking phentermine/topiramate-SR reported paresthesias. No patients stopped taking their medication because of side effects, however.

The study was a review of patients seen at the Mayo Clinic during January 2016 – June 2018. Patients were included if they were prescribed weight loss medications and had a body mass index of at least 25 kg/m2 with comorbidities related to adiposity or with a BMI of at least 30 without such comorbidities. To be included, patients had to be followed for at least 3 months and see a Mayo Clinic physician at least twice.

Patients with previous bariatric surgery or other major gastrointestinal surgery, those who didn’t use their medications because of insurance problems or drug costs, and those who were on weight loss medication before being seen for the first time were excluded from the study.

Patients were a mean 49 years old, and most were female (86/118; 72.9%). Mean BMI at enrollment was 41.7, with a mean weight of 117.6 kg.

Of 118 patients, 76 (64.4%) had dyslipidemia. About half of patients reported obstructive sleep apnea, and the same amount had hypertension. About 40% had diabetes, and the same number had degenerative joint disease.

Phentermine/topiramate was prescribed the most frequently, with 43.2% of patients on this medication. Liraglutide was taken by 34.7% of patients, bupropion/naltrexone-SR by 16.1%, and lorcaserin by 5.9%.

Patients taking liraglutide had similar weight loss (7.1%) to that seen in RCTs (6%-8%). For this medication, the real-world Mayo Clinic experience showed less chance of hitting the 10% total body weight loss mark (12% vs. 26%-33% in RCTs).

For bupropion/naltrexone-SR, weight loss was similar among the Mayo Clinic patients (7.2%) and RCT participants (5%-8%), and probability of achieving at least 10% total body weight loss was similar as well (32% vs. 34%).

Weight loss medication was a component of a multidisciplinary weight loss approach at Mayo Clinic. Physicians, dietitians, and psychologists worked together to care for patients with overweight and obesity at his facility, Dr. Calderon said. Overall, patients were followed for a mean 6.7 months, and patients had a mean 3 follow-up visits, with over half of patients attending at least one follow-up appointment in study months 6-12. At 12 months, though, the attrition rate was 57.9%. “We notice an attrition rate of almost 60% at 1 year. People are not coming to their follow-up. ... Definitely, this is something we are concerned about, and we would like to bring these attrition rates lower,” he said.

Most patients (63.6%) saw a dietitian, but on average, patients had just one appointment. “At the Mayo Clinic, we provide dietitians and psychological support. But it’s up to the patients if they want to have it or not,” said Dr. Calderon. “Most of them, they just went once to a dietitian.”

“Overall, these outcomes are similar to those in RCTs and support the concept that weight loss medications can achieve clinically significant weight loss in a multidisciplinary weight loss program,” noted Dr. Calderon and his coauthors.

Dr. Calderon reported no outside sources of funding and no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Calderon G et al. Obesity Week, Abstract T-P-3425.

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