Doctors Prescribe Diabetes Meds 15 times More than Obesity Meds, study finds

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Even with the close tie between obesity and type 2 diabetes, new research shows that healthcare clinicians prescribe 15 times more antidiabetes medications than those for obesity.

Obesity is a well-established major risk factor for developing diabetes, with almost 90% of people living with type 2 diabetes having obesity or overweight.

According to a release:

Although six antiobesity medications are now approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating obesity when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, this research points out that only 2% of the eligible 46% of the U.S. adult population is receiving these medications. The research is published in the September issue of Obesity, the scientific journal of The Obesity Society.

“Given the close tie between obesity and type 2 diabetes, treating obesity should be an obvious first step for healthcare providers to prevent and treat diabetes,” says Catherine E. Thomas, MS, the lead researcher from Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “By treating obesity, we may be able to decrease the number of patients with type 2 diabetes, among other related diseases and the medications used to treat them.”

Researchers pointed to a number of barriers to obesity treatment including lack of reimbursement for healthcare providers, limited time during office visits, lack of training in counseling, and competing demands, among others. 

“A greater urgency in the treatment of obesity – on the part of clinicians and patients – is essential,” continued Thomas. “We’re talking about prolonged and better quality of life for patients.” 

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