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National institute for clinical excellence (NICE) guidance for anti-obesity medication: is it being followed?

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Anti-obesity medication is being used increasingly by some general practitioners (GP) for obesity management (Lawrence, 2002). The aim of this audit was to identify whether the anti-obesity medication prescribed by GPs was in accordance with the NICE guidance (NICE, 2001a,b). Method: 

The medical notes and electronic patient records of 154 patients prescribed either orlistat or sibutramine between September 2002 and April 2003, were examined. Information about patients’ weight, previous weight loss, previous dietary and physical activity advice, behaviour modification, time on medication, weight loss achieved and blood pressure were recorded and comparisons made with the NICE guidance. Results:  Conclusion: 

The results show that the majority of patients prescribed with orlistat and sibutramine are not treated in accordance with the NICE guidance. The recommendation is that GPs are given further training about the optimum treatment associated with the prescription of anti-obesity medication. References:

Lawrence, G. (2002) Prescribing Advisor. Personal communication.

NICE (2001a) NHS National Institute for Clinical ExcellenceGuidance. Technology Appraisal Guidance No 22. Guidance on the use of orlistat for the treatment of obesity.

NICE (2001b) NHS National Institute for Clinical Excellence Guidance. Technology Appraisal Guidance No 31. Guidance on the use of sibutramine for the treatment of obesity.

Document Type: Abstract


Publication date: 2004-12-01

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