Obesity is an important causative factor in morbidity, disability and premature death. Increasing levels of obesity will impose enormous health, financial and social burdens on worldwide society unless effective interventions are implemented. For many obese individuals, diet and behavioural modification need to be supplemented by pharmacotherapy. Preclinical research has revealed a greater understanding of the complex nature of the hypothalamic regulation of food intake and has generated a wide range of new molecular targets for the development of drug candidates for obesity treatment. As shown by the clinical results that have been obtained with this next generation of therapies, some approaches, for example, fixed-dose drug combinations, have already demonstrated an ability to deliver levels of efficacy that are not achievable with the current antiobesity drug therapies. The regulatory and marketing landscape for development, registration and commercialisation of novel centrally acting drugs for treatment of obesity and related metabolic disorders has changed substantially in recent years. Now a much greater emphasis is placed on tolerability and safety, as well as efficacy. In this review we briefly describe the therapeutic approaches to tackle obesity that are in late-stage clinical development. We then discuss drugs in late-stage development for the treatment of obesity and also future directions.
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