By Anthony J. Brown, MD
WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Bupropion is more effective than placebo in producing weight loss in overweight and obese women, according to a report published in the September issue of Obesity Research.
Premarketing study findings have suggested that sustained-release bupropion produces minor weight loss in a small percentage of subjects with depression. The present study is the first randomized, placebo-controlled trial to show that the drug may be effective in non-depressed, obese subjects, the authors state.
Dr. Kishore M. Gadde, from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues randomized 50 non-depressed overweight and obese women to receive bupropion or placebo for 8 weeks. Subjects were prescribed a 1600 kcal/day diet and food diaries were employed to ensure compliance.
The subjects were started on a 100 mg/day dose and gradually increased to a maximum of 200 mg twice daily. Patients who responded to therapy continued treatment for an additional 16 weeks. Additional single-blind follow-up was maintained for a total of 2 years, the authors note.
Over the first 8 weeks, bupropion-treated subjects achieved a mean weight loss of 4.9%, significantly greater than the 1.3% loss achieved by placebo-treated subjects, the investigators state. At the end of the first 8 weeks, the mean weight loss was slightly higher in both groups, but significantly greater weight loss was still noted among bupropion-treated women.
The average weight loss among the 14 bupropion responders who completed 24 weeks of therapy was 12.9% with fat accounting for most of the loss, the researchers note.
"Single-blind follow-up at 1 year revealed a mean weight loss of a little over 14%," Dr. Gadde told Reuters Health. "At 2 years the weight loss was 13.6%," he added. "In most weight loss trials, there is often no further weight loss in the second 6 months of the study and there is often a regain of weight in the second year," he explained. "The fact that this did not occur in the current study is very gratifying."
"We are currently analyzing the 1-year follow-up data of study that involves 327 subjects," Dr. Gadde noted. "So far the results look very positive," he said.