Impact of a pharmacist-run weight loss medication management service

Published:November 24, 2021DOI:



      Weight loss medications have been shown to be effective for weight loss and reducing disease state risk in patients who are overweight or obese. However, it is unknown what impact pharmacists have on weight loss when providing medication management services.


      To evaluate weight loss outcomes and clinic utilization of a pharmacist-run weight loss pharmacotherapy service at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) in Nashville, TN.

      Practice Description

      Patients enrolled in the MOVE! weight loss program were referred to a clinical pharmacy specialist (CPS) who was able to assess comorbidities, prescribe weight loss medication, and provide ongoing follow-up via telehealth visits.

      Practice Innovation

      This is the first description of a pharmacist-run weight loss pharmacotherapy clinic. This model expanded the role of pharmacists at TVHS, where CPS involvement was previously limited to chart reviews when medication recommendations were requested.


      This prospective quality improvement project evaluated patients seen by the CPS in the first 6 months of clinic implementation. Primary outcomes included change in weight and proportion of patients with at least 5% weight loss at the end of the study period. Results were compared with patients seen by preventative medicine providers (PMPs) in the same time frame.


      A total of 79 patients were seen in the CPS clinic, and 40 met inclusion criteria. The clinic utilization rate was 100%. Mean weight change was −3.6 ± 5.7 kg (P < 0.001), and 25% of patients followed up by the CPS lost at least 5% body weight. In the PMP clinic, 29 patients demonstrated a mean weight change of −1.6 ± 6.0 kg (P = 0.15 compared with baseline), and 17.2% lost at least 5% body weight.


      This pharmacist-led weight loss clinic demonstrated statistically significant reductions in weight and was able to expand access to care for patients seeking weight loss services.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      APhA Member Login
      APhA Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Use your society credentials to access all journal content and features
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Data, trend and maps. Available at: Accessed July 12, 2020.

        • Hales C.M.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Fryar C.D.
        • Ogden C.L.
        Prevalence of obesity and severe obesity among adults: United States, 2017-2018.
        NCHS Data Brief. 2020; : 1-8
        • Kyle T.K.
        • Dhurandhar E.J.
        • Allison D.B.
        Regarding obesity as a disease: evolving policies and their implications.
        Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2016; 45: 511-520
      2. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. VA/DoD clinical practice guideline: management of overweight and obesity (OBE) (2020). Available at: Accessed August 1, 2020.

        • Garvey W.T.
        • Mechanick J.I.
        • Brett E.M.
        • et al.
        American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology Comprehensive Clinical Practice guidelines for medical care of patients with obesity.
        Endocr Pract. 2016; 22: 1-203
        • Luppino F.S.
        • de Wit L.M.
        • Bouvy P.F.
        • et al.
        Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010; 67: 220-229
        • Finkelstein E.A.
        • Trogdon J.G.
        • Cohen J.W.
        Dietz WAnnual medical spending attributable to obesity: payer-and service-specific estimates.
        Health Aff (Millwood). 2009; 28: w822-w831
        • Jensen M.D.
        • Ryan D.H.
        • Apovian C.M.
        • et al.
        2013 AHA/CC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the Obesity Society [published correction appears in Circulation. 2014;129(25 suppl 2):S139–S140].
        Circulation. 2014; 129: S102-S138
        • Apovian C.M.
        • Aronne L.J.
        • Bessesen D.H.
        • et al.
        Pharmacological management of obesity: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice guideline.
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; 100: 342-362
        • Khera R.
        • Murad M.H.
        • Chandar A.K.
        • et al.
        Association of pharmacological treatments for obesity with weight loss and adverse events: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published correction appears in JAMA. 2016;316(9):995].
        JAMA. 2016; 315: 2424-2434
        • Boardman H.F.
        • Avery A.J.
        Effectiveness of a community pharmacy weight management programme.
        Int J Clin Pharm. 2014; 36: 800-806
        • Harmon M.
        • Pogge E.
        • Boomershine V.
        Evaluation of a pharmacist-led, 6-month weight loss program in obese patients.
        J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2014; 54: 302-307
        • Malone M.
        • Alger-Mayer S.A.
        Pharmacist intervention enhances adherence to orlistat therapy.
        Ann Pharmacother. 2003; 37: 1598-1602
        • Malone M.
        • Alger-Mayer S.A.
        • Anderson D.A.
        The lifestyle challenge program: a multidisciplinary approach to weight management.
        Ann Pharmacother. 2005; 39: 2015-2020
        • Lloyd K.B.
        • Thrower M.R.
        • Walters N.B.
        • Krueger K.P.
        • Stamm P.L.
        • Evans R.L.
        Implementation of a weight management pharmaceutical care service.
        Ann Pharmacother. 2007; 41: 185-192
        • Rea K.
        • Jadallah J.
        • Nadpara P.
        • Goode J.K.
        Evaluation of the impact of a community-based, pharmacist-led weight loss program focused on a high-protein diet on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
        J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2021; 61: S147-S153
        • Yager S.
        • Parker M.
        • Lexumburg J.
        • Varghai N.H.
        Evaluation of multidisciplinary weight loss shared medical appointments.
        J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020; 60: 93-99


      Kayla Haverkamp, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, Primary Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Phoenix VA, Phoenix, AZ; at the time of study: Postgraduate Year 2, Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Resident, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN


      Paula Newberry, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, BCACP, Primary Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Clarksville, TN


      Jennifer Baker, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, VISN 4 Clinical Resource Hub, Wilmington, DE; at the time of study: Telemedicine Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and Residency Research Coordinator, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN