PHAR 5205: Obesity: Issues, Interventions, Innovations

Course Description

This course will focus on the role of the pharmacist in treating obesity. Students will learn the pharmacology of past and current medications to treat obesity, as well as discuss the pathophysiology of the disease to understand why more options aren’t available. Students will create presentations for the class while exploring drug information sources about dietary supplements for weight loss. Students will also discuss the care of an obese patient, including non-pharmacologic treatments for obesity and recognizing the potential for bias and its effect on patient care. Finally, students will look at bariatric surgery and discuss some specific adjustments needed in the care of bariatric patients.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss the complex nature of obesity, including the epidemiology and definition of the disease
  • Describe the pathophysiology of obesity including the function of adipocytes as endocrine cells and the complex system of appetite regulation
  • Explain insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome
  • Describe the pharmacology of past and present medications for obesity and hypothesize why more options aren’t available
  • Evaluate sources of information regarding dietary supplements for reliability, accuracy, and usability
  • Create a presentation on an assigned dietary supplement including recommendations for or against its use
  • Describe non-pharmacological methods of treatment of obesity, including lifestyle changes and motivational interviewing
  • Discuss the care of an obese patient including comorbidities
  • Recognize medications that may cause weight gain
  • Discuss medication dosing in obesity
  • Recognize the role of conscious and unconscious bias and how it affects patient care
  • Recognize different types of bariatric surgeries
  • Understand the path to surgery and recognize common misconceptions regarding bariatric surgery
  • Describe the management of a bariatric surgery, including specific medication-related needs post-surgery


  • Background
  • Pharmacology and Physiology
  • Food and Dietary Supplements
  • Care of an Obese Patient
  • Bariatric Surgery