Weight Loss Induced by Antiobesity Medications Among Patients With Knee or Hip Osteoarthritis

Researchers report that medications that promote slow to moderate weight loss may improve survival rates for people with weight issues who also have knee or hip osteoarthritis.

Rapid weight loss prompted by anti-obesity drugs may increase the chance of premature death among people with weight issues who also have knee or hip osteoarthritis, according to new study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The study authors suggest people with weight issues and knee and/or hip osteoarthritis have a better chance of living longer by taking anti-obesity medications that promote slow-to-moderate weight loss instead of ones that work more quickly.

The researchers used data from 6,524 participants in the IQVIA Medical Research Database with knee or hip osteoarthritis who were taking weight loss drugs orlistat, sibutramine, or rimonabant.

The research team said the five-year death rate was 5.3% for the “weight gain/stable” group, 4% for the “slow-to-moderate weight loss” group and 5.4% for the “fast weight loss” group.

The study said the risk of death was 28% lower for the “slow-to-moderate weight loss” group compared with the “weight gain/stable” group while only 1% lower for the “fast weight loss” group.

“A slow-to-moderate rate of weight loss induced by anti-obesity medications may lower the risk of death in overweight/obese people with knee/hip osteoarthritis,” said Jie Wei, a doctor of public health at Xiangya Hospital at Central South University in China and a study first author, in a statement.

Waring said the study demonstrates an association between mortality and rate of weight loss, but it doesn’t necessarily extrapolate the reasons why.

Weight loss drugs are known to work on the brain’s pleasure center, which helps people with addiction problems.

Some weight loss drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy – both of which use the active ingredient semaglutide – have been found to possibly affect a person’s desire to drink alcohol by cutting down how much dopamine the body releases in response to addictive behavior.


Jie Wei, David Hunter, Nancy E. Lane, Jing Wu, Chao Zeng, Guanghua Lei, Yuqing Zhang. Weight Loss Induced by Antiobesity Medications and All-Cause Mortality Among Patients With Knee or Hip Osteoarthritis. First published: 06 December 2023  https://doi.org/10.1002/art.42754 

National Natural Science Foundation of China. (December, 2023). Can anti-obesity medications help people with knee or hip osteoarthritis?. MedicalNewsToday. Retrieved December 8, 2023 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-anti-obesity-medications-help-people-with-knee-or-hip-osteoarthritis

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