Anti-obesity drugs: guidance on appropriate prescribing and management


This report (published in 2003) replaced Clinical management of overweight and obese patients, published in 1998.

As the prevalence of obesity in society increases, so too does interest in ways of tackling the problem, both by the medical profession and the public. Anti-obesity drugs are one of several measures that can be used, but changes in the pharmaceutical field are fast-moving. This report is designed to ensure that physicians are kept abreast of the latest developments and can prescribe accordingly.

It provides guidance on non-pharmacological management of overweight and obese patients, which should always be the first line of treatment. It sets out how to assess such patients and which groups are suitable for drug therapy. Using advice from the General Medical Council, evidence-based reviews of current scientific knowledge and guidance documents from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the report details which anti-obesity drugs are appropriate for treatment, with comprehensive guidance on when and how they should be used.

In an area where the therapy could be open to abuse by patients or doctors, the report emphasises the importance of clear communication and documentation of treatment between all the doctors involved in a patients' care, It also highlights the essential elements of an appropriate clinical setting for anti-obesity drug treatment.


  • Summary and Recommendations
  • Introduction
  • Non-pharmacological management of overweight and obese patients
  • Assessment
  • Anti-obesity drug therapy
  • Good medical practice and ethical considerations
  • References

Anti-obesity drugs full text available to download as a pdf.

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