Nav: Home

Weight loss medicines underutilized by veterans

May 15, 2019

(Boston)--Despite the availability of new weight management medications and several clinical guidelines recommending their use as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for obesity, a new study has found that their use is extremely low (about one percent) among eligible Veterans.

Being female, having higher body mass index (BMI), obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, depression, low back pain and alcohol abuse was associated with greater likelihood of using these medications. However, being over the age of 65, Hispanic race/ethnicity and required copayments was associated with lower odds of their use.

Obesity is a chronic disease that compromises quality of life, increases healthcare costs, and is a risk factor for and increases morbidity from diabetes, depression, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and several cancers. In 2017, the prevalence of obesity among the Veterans Health Administration (VA) patient population was 41 percent while 37 percent were overweight.

To address this issue, every VA facility now offers MOVE!®, a comprehensive behavioral weight management program, to any veteran who is overweight or obese. MOVE! has evolved into the largest health-care based weight management program in the country. Any veteran who is engaged in MOVE! or a similar behavioral weight management program is eligible to receive weight management medication.

"Of the more than 150,000 participants in MOVE!, only about one percent receive weight management medication," said Varsha G. Vimalananda, MD, MPH, from the Center for Healthcare Organization & Implementation Research at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

According to the researchers, this low rate of use is also similar to non-VA settings where less than two percent of potentially eligible patients in the general population are treated with these medications. "The comparably low rates of use of medicine in and outside the VA are surprising. Insurance coverage is a major barrier to use outside the VA, but is a much lesser issue in VA, where veterans can receive them at no or relatively low out-of-pocket cost," explained Vimalananda, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

The researchers believe clinician or patient barriers beyond insurance drive underuse of these medications for Veterans as well as the general population and that additional research is needed to better understand these obstacles.

These findings appear online in the journal Obesity.
-end-
This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health [UL1TR001430, P30DK046200, T32DK007201]. Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-358-7838, ginad@bu.edu

Boston University School of Medicine

Related Depression Articles:

Tackling depression by changing the way you think
A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality.
How depression can muddle thinking
Depression is associated with sadness, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
Neuroimaging categorizes 4 depression subtypes
Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.
Studies suggest inflammatory cytokines are associated with depression and psychosis, and that anti-cytokine treatment can reduce depression symptoms
Studies presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, Italy, (Oct.
Is depression in parents, grandparents linked to grandchildren's depression?
Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers
Postpartum depression -- a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it -- is indeed serious.
Tropical Depression 1E dissipates
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
Diagnosing depression before it starts
MIT researchers have found that brain scans may identify children who are vulnerable to depression, before symptoms appear.
Men actually recommend getting help for depression
Participants in a national survey read a scenario describing someone who had depressed symptoms.
Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the 'bible' of psychiatry -- diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist.

Related Depression Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...