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Clinical and Cost Benefits of Anti-Obesity Medication for US Veterans Participating in the MOVE! Weight Management Program

W. Timothy Garvey, Mu Cheng, Abhilasha Ramasamy, B. Gabriel Smolarz, Suna Park, Neela Kumar, Nina Kim, , Rachel H. Bhak, Mei Sheng Duh,
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Published: 3 February 2023

Abstract: This study investigated the clinical and economic impact of anti-obesity medications (AOMs; orlistat, liraglutide, phentermine/topiramate extended-release [ER], naltrexone ER/bupropion ER) among United States Veterans with obesity participating in Motivating Overweight/Obese Veterans Everywhere! (MOVE!), a government-initiated weight management program. The study population was identified from electronic medical records of the Veterans Health Administration (2010–2020). Clinical indices of obesity and health care resource utilization and costs were evaluated at 6, 12, and 24 months after the initial dispensing of an AOM in the AOM+MOVE! cohort (N = 3732, mean age 57 years, 79% male) or on the corresponding date of an inpatient or outpatient encounter in the MOVE! cohort (N = 7883, mean age 58 years, 81% male). At 6 months postindex, the AOM+MOVE! cohort had better cardiometabolic indices (eg, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c) than the MOVE! cohort, with the trends persisting at 12 and 24 months. The AOM+MOVE! cohort was significantly more likely than the MOVE! cohort to have weight decreases of 5%–10%, 10%–15%, and >15% and lower body mass index at 6, 12, and 24 months. The AOM+MOVE! cohort also had fewer inpatient and emergency department visits than the MOVE! cohort, which was associated with lower mean total medical costs including inpatient costs. These results suggest that combining AOM treatment with the MOVE! program could yield long-term cost savings for the Veterans Affairs network and meaningful clinical improvements for Veterans with obesity.
Keywords: anti-obesity medication / health care resource utilization / MOVE! / weight loss intervention

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