Jun 1, 1996
Singapore medical journal
Obesity is common and its prevalence is rising. In Singapore, a national health survey in 1992 showed that 5% of the adult population were obese and 21% were overweight. Obesity causes much morbidity and mortality and treatment is desirable. The majority of obese patients have no known cause but it is essential to exclude any underlying cause before treatment. Antiobesity drugs should be used as an adjunct to an adequate programme of dietary restriction, exercise and behavior modification. Serotonergic drugs and adrenergic agents are available in the treatment of obesity. The short-term efficacy and safety of antiobesity drugs such as fenfluramine and d-fenfluramine are proven. The long-term use of antiobesity drugs used singly or in combination remains to be established. Many peptides (cholecystokinin, glucagon, bombesin, neurotensin, etc) with weight reduction properties are undergoing extensive studies: their clinical applications are experimental. The treatment of obesity is difficult and frustrating and antiobesity drugs have an established short-term role. In morbid obesity where the life of the patient is in danger, surgery such as gastric plication may be life-saving. The recent discovery of leptin (1994) and neuropeptide Y (1995) are important breakthrough in obesity research; hopefully further research may produce more effective treatment of obesity in man.