Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jennifer Laurent


Background and Purpose: More than one-third of American adults are obese. The prevalence of extreme obesity is rapidly rising. Nine medications are currently approved for weight loss yet they remain under utilized with the focus primarily on lifestyle modifications. The study's objective was to determine current prescribing patterns and attitudes of weight loss medications in the management of obesity among primary care providers (PCPs).

Methods: PCPs were surveyed to determine practice patterns, attitudes, barriers, and facilitators for prescribing weight loss medications.

Conclusions: A total of 105 surveys were completed. 76% of all PCPs did not prescribe weight loss medications for long-term weight loss therapy and 58% of PCPs had negative perceptions of pharmacotherapy as a treatment. Significant differences existed between prescribing patterns and attitudes of advanced practice clinicians and physicians. Safety concerns were identified as the greatest barrier. Having 2+ comorbidities and severe obesity were identified as facilitators for prescribing weight loss medications. Under utilization of pharmacotherapy suggests that PCPs may not have sufficient knowledge about medication safety profiles and efficacy. Delaying treatment until patients have reached a high level of morbidity may be less efficacious than earlier treatment.

Implications for Practice: Education regarding effectiveness and risks of weight loss medications for obesity management is needed and earlier interventions with pharmacotherapy may prevent significant morbidity and mortality.



Number of Pages

58 p.