Weight Loss Medications in the Treatment of Obesity and Hypertension

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Weight loss is strongly associated with improvement in blood pressure; however, the mechanism of weight loss can impact the magnitude and sustainability of blood pressure reduction.

Recent Findings

Five drugs—orlistat, lorcaserin, liraglutide, phentermine/topiramate, and naltrexone/bupropion—are currently approved for weight loss therapy in the USA. Naltrexone/bupropion results in an increase in in-office and ambulatory blood pressure compared to placebo. Other therapies are associated with modest lowering of blood pressure, and are generally well-tolerated; nonetheless, evidence is limited regarding their effect on blood pressure, particularly longitudinally, in individuals with hypertension.

Summary

Although weight loss medications can be an effective adjunct to lifestyle modifications in individuals with obesity, there is limited evidence regarding their benefit with regard to blood pressure. Future studies evaluating the effectiveness of weight loss medications should include careful assessment of their short- and long-term impact on blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Katelyn Daigle for editorial assistance in preparing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kishore M. Gadde.

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Dr. Cohen has no financial conflicts of interest to disclose. Dr. Gadde is an advisor to AstraZeneca with payments made to his employer, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; has received research support from AstraZeneca, BioKier, and National Institutes of Health (NIH); and has received speaking honoraria from the American Diabetes Association.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Antihypertensive Agents: Mechanisms of Drug Action

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Cohen, J.B., Gadde, K.M. Weight Loss Medications in the Treatment of Obesity and Hypertension. Curr Hypertens Rep 21, 16 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-019-0915-1

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Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Weight loss medication
  • Weight loss pharmacotherapy