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W. Timothy Garvey Part 1, Introduction & Obesity Pharmacotherapy

Jul 3, 2018

In part 1 of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. W. Timothy Garvey talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the AACE 2018 convention in Boston, MA. Dr. Garvey discusses obesity pharmacotherapy and answers the question of which weight loss medication is needed to make a person smaller.

W. Timothy Garvey, MD, FACE is a professor and Director of the University of Alabama Diabetes Research Center in Birmingham.


Transcript of this video segment:

Freed: This is Steve Freed and we’re here at the 2018 AACE meeting. We have a special guest with us who we have talked to before, Dr. Timothy Garvey, and he is very interesting. I’ve got 22 paragraphs about your background but maybe you can give us a 30-second overview of who you are and what you do.

Garvey: I am Tim Garvey, that’s right. I am an endocrinologist. I’m a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB and director of the NIH funded UAB Diabetes Research Center there. I am in academic practice – education and research. My whole career I’ve been interested in insulin resistance and diseases that are characterized by insulin resistance, including diabetes and obesity. And I have enjoyed that tremendously and that’s where I am now.

Freed: Great. Your presentation is called, “Obesity Pharmacotherapy and Alice in Wonderland: Which Cake Will Make You Smaller?”

Garvey: Right.

Freed: I have no clue what that is about so maybe you can explain it?

Garvey: Well, you know the Alice in Wonderland story. So she took a pill, well not a pill, that’s the Jefferson Airplane song. Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland) said she ate a cake and she’d get bigger and then another cake and she’d get smaller. So the question in obesity is which weight loss medication do you need to make you smaller? The answer is, there is no one medication that can be recommended above all others across the board. Like [what] we do in diabetes [is], everybody begins with Metformin, but that is not true in obesity. All the medications we have, have different mechanisms of action, different side effects, profiles, different warnings and cautions, different medicine interactions. We really just have to know the pharmacology of these drugs to individualize our therapy for the best outcomes. I wish it was easier but generally as patients come in the door that is really what we have to deal with. So it’s really a matter of learning some pharmacology about these drugs – there’s five that are approved for chronic treatment of obesity by the FDA. It’s not a million drugs so it’s something we can get our arms around. It just requires a little bit of work to get knowledgeable on that.   

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