Americans With Obesity Face Potential Medication Dosage Issues

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These issues arise from the fact that individuals with higher body fat percentages metabolize drugs differently, yet they are often excluded from research trials.

Americans With Obesity Face Potential Medication Dosage Issues
Americans With Obesity Face Potential Medication Dosage Issues ( Photo: American Medical Association )

Recent studies indicate that Americans with obesity may face challenges in receiving effective medication treatment due to dosing discrepancies

This exclusion results in prescribed doses that can be either too high or linger in the body for extended periods, potentially leading to inadequate treatment. With over 40% of Americans with obesity, this dosing deficit has significant implications for public health. Numerous popular medications, including those for birth control, high cholesterol, depression, and panic disorders, may not be administered in optimal amounts.

Experts, like Dr. William Dietz from George Washington University, highlight the weight bias as a primary reason for this oversight. He emphasizes the need for attention to this substantial portion of the population, asserting that it is a pervasive issue.

Dr. Caroline Apovian, a specialist in weight management, points out that body fat significantly impacts drug processing. For instance, medications like brexpiprazole may require higher doses for individuals with more body fat to achieve the same therapeutic effect. Neglecting to consider patients’ body mass can lead to ineffective treatment.

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More than half of ongoing drug trials do not mention body mass index in their descriptions, and when it is mentioned, it is often used as a criterion for exclusion

This oversight can result in medications lingering in larger bodies, potentially causing side effects or interacting with other drugs. Although the FDA acknowledges the problem, there remains a deficit of information regarding how drugs affect Americans with obesity, leading to their underrepresentation in research trials. Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford urges companies to prioritize inclusivity, particularly for medications addressing stigmatized conditions like mental health disorders.

Drugs like atorvastatin, metoprolol, omeprazole, sertraline, and others listed in the study may be affected by body size, potentially requiring adjusted dosages. Without proper consideration, these medications may not be as effective for individuals with obesity.

In light of these findings, advocates like Dr. Dietz call for heightened awareness among healthcare providers about potential dosage adjustments based on a patient’s body weight. It is imperative to ensure that Americans with obesity receive appropriate and effective medical care, without judgments or assumptions about their weight.


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