HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Baltimore, Maryland, USA or Virtually from your home or work.
Joelle Hoeferkamp, Speaker at Obesity Conferences
University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine, United States


BACKGROUND/HYPOTHESIS: The growing epidemic of obesity has increased the need for weight management options exponentially. Weight Loss Medications (WLMs) in particular have demonstrated efficacy in weight management and demonstrated efficacy in post bariatric surgery weight loss maintenance. This study aims to assess both national and state trends in public online searches related to WLMs.

METHODS: Both generic and brand name FDA-approved weight loss medications were targeted in addition to the phrase “weight loss medication”. These terms included “Phentermine/Topiramate+ Qsymia”, “Naltrexone-Bupropion+ Contrave”, “Semaglutide+ Wegovy”, “Liraglutide+ Saxenda”, “Orlistat+ Xenical”, “Phentermine+ Adipex-P+ Lomaira”, “Benzphetamine+ Regimex”, “Diethylpropion+ Tenuate”, and “Phendimetrazine+ Bontril”. A Google Trends analysis was conducted to collect Relative Search Volume (RSV) during the period of 2004-2021, observing trends at both a national and state level in the United States.

RESULTS: Analysis revealed a 2.2-fold increase in the search term volume for weight loss medication (P<0.0001). There were substantial increases in search volume for Phentermine/Topiramate+Qsymia, Naltrexone-Bupropion+Contrave, and Liraglutide+Saxenda by 7.3-,17.4-, and 32.0-fold increases, respectively (P<0.01, P<0.001, and P<0.00001). In contrast, there were decreases in search volume for Orlistat+Xenical, Phentermine+Adipex-P+Lomaira, Benzphetamine+Regimex, Diethylpropion+Tenuate, and Phendimetrazine+Bontril by 4.0-,1.8-,5.5-,3.1-, and 6-fold decreases, respectively (P<0.0001, P<0.0001, P<0.01, P<0.000001, and P<0.0000001). State analysis indicated that the prevalence of search terms for weight loss medication predominately stemmed from the Southeastern United States.

CONCLUSIONS: The data demonstrates a consistent upward trend of national public interest in weight loss medication for the long-term management of obesity since 2004. In light of escalating obesity rates these findings provide valuable insight in prioritizing future treatment strategies. Furthermore, the data highlights the importance of promoting public awareness to a multidisciplinary approach for weight loss management especially in the Southeastern United States, where online search volume for weight loss medications was most prominent.


Student Doctor Joelle Hoeferkamp is currently a rising fourth year medical student at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine in San Antonio, Texas. In years prior, she received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of the Incarnate Word and completed a Post Baccalaureate in Advanced Pre-Medical Studies at Cooper Medical School. Ms. Hoeferkamp recently published her research in the The Future DO - Student Osteopathic Medical Association Research Journal and is looking forward to continuing her research in residency next year.