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Lifestyle modification plus medication more effective than medication alone

A new study shows that treatment with a lifestyle modification program of diet, exercise and behavioral therapy when used in combination with the weight loss medication sibutramine (Meridia) resulted in significantly greater weight loss among obese adults than treatment with the medication alone. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, appears in the November 17, 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine and was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Lifestyle modification should be the first line of treatment for obesity," says Susan Yanovski, M.D., director of the Obesity and Eating Disorders Program for NIDDK, and author of an accompanying editorial in the journal. "But for obese adults who can't lose enough weight to improve their health, medication used as an adjunct can help."

"The take home message is that weight loss medications will be most effective when they are combined with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity," says Thomas A. Wadden, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. "Weight loss medication used alone can produce some weight loss, but lifestyle modification treatment can help patients acquire skills to successfully make changes in their diet and physical activity."

A total of 224 obese adults aged 18 to 65 years participated in the one-year study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: 1. weight loss medication alone; 2. lifestyle modification alone; 3. weight loss medication plus lifestyle modification; and 4. weight-loss medication plus brief physician-mediated therapy. The researchers included the fourth treatment group to measure the effectiveness of weight-loss medication combined with brief lifestyle modification counseling
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Contact: Marcia Vital
niddkdkocpl@mail.nih.gov
301-496-3583
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
16-Nov-2005


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