Obese patients who take the weight loss drug sibutramine may find that the amount of weight loss achieved is affected by their genetic make-up.
Sibutramine works by creating a sense of fullness so that patients do not feel the need to eat as much food.
However, a new study in the journal Gastroenterology suggests that people with a certain set of genes are likely to lose more weight when taking the obesity treatment
than those with different genes.
Lead author Dr Michael Camilleri, from the Mayo Clinic, revealed: "Our results suggest the genetic make-up of patients could predispose their responsiveness to a drug.
"This could have important implications for the future of personalised molecular-based or individualised medicine."
Dr Camilleri suggested that gene variations could be used to select obese patients who are most likely to benefit from taking the obesity treatment.
"Since the different markers were present in almost 50 per cent of patients, inclusion of screening for these genetic markers before prescribing the medication may even be cost-effective from a public health perspective," he added.