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September 19, 2012

FDA Approval of Obesity DrugsA Difference in Risk-Benefit Perceptions

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Health Systems, Management, and Policy, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora (Dr Morrato); and Office of Energetics, Nutrition & Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham (Dr Allison).

JAMA. 2012;308(11):1097-1098. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.10007

Given the obesity epidemic, patients and physicians are in need of safe and effective treatments. Companies are responding with significant investment in drug development. Drugs provide an important therapeutic option when lifestyle modifications are insufficient for achieving weight loss goals and when surgery is not desired or warranted. However, in the last decade, 3 obesity drugs were removed from the US market, and until last month, only 1 new obesity drug has been approved since 1999. How is it possible to make sense of this curious duality of circumstances?

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