Anti-obesity drug use before professional treatment in Taiwan

Tsan Hon Liou, Chih Hsing Wu, Hsu Chen Chien, Wen Yuan Lin, Wei Jei Lee, Pesus Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Between July 2004 and June 2005, a cross-sectional study was performed to determine the prevalence and patterns of anti-obesity medicine use among subjects seeking obesity treatment in Taiwan. Eighteen obesity outpatient clinics were selected via a random stratified sampling method and 1,060 first-visit clients (791 females and 269 males) aged above 18 years were enrolled and then completed a self-administered questionnaire. The prevalence of anti-obesity medicine use was 50.8%; more females than male used anti-obesity medicines (53.6% vs. 42.4%). Of the 1,060 subjects, 17.1% had used orlistat, 21.1% had taken sibutramine, and 18.3% had utilized unproven drugs such as cocktail therapy and other anti-obesity drugs. Furthermore, 23.6% and 22.4% of subjects indicated that they concurrently used Chinese herbal preparations and dietary supplements, respectively. Logistic regression analyses demonstrated that the odds ratio (OR) for anti-obesity medicine use was substantially higher in females (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.3-2.6), those aged 18-24 years (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0-2.6), those with a body mass index (BMI) >35 kg/m2 (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 2.1-5.7) and respondents concurrently using Chinese herbal preparations (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2-2.4) and dietary supplements (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.6-3.1). In conclusion, the prevalence of anti-obesity drugs use is high among Taiwanese adults before they seek obesity treatment. Young, obese females, and those who had taken Chinese herbal preparations/dietary supplements had a high likelihood to report using anti-obesity medicines. Use of unproven weight-loss drugs is common and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-586
Number of pages7
JournalAsia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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