NOV 15, 2022 9:00 PM PST

Obesity Drug Effective in Both Adults and Teens

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that semaglutide, a drug approved for adults with pre-obesity or obesity, is also effective in adolescents with pre-obesity or obesity.

The phase 3 clinical trial included over 200 adolescents ages 12–18 years with obesity (body mass index [BMI] at or above the 95th percentile) or pre-obesity (BMI at or above the 85th percentile) plus at least one weight-related health condition. The study participants were randomized 2:1 to receive either semaglutide or a placebo for 68 weeks, and all participants were also enrolled in a lifestyle intervention program that involved counselling on nutrition and physical activity.

After the 68-week trial, participants in the semaglutide group decreased their BMI by an average of 16.1%, while participants in the control group increased their BMI by an average of 0.6%. Participants in the semaglutide group also experienced improvements in several cardiovascular risk factors compared to the placebo group, including waist circumference and lipids.

Semaglutide works by mimicking a hormone that acts on parts of the brain that decrease appetite and improve eating control. The lead author noted that the general recommendations for weight loss involve dietary changes, but these aren’t always enough in our modern, “obesogenic” environment. By adding safe and effective medications, weight loss is likely to be more successful. Obesity is on the rise across the United States and all over the world for both adults and adolescents, and the rise in obesity is correlated with many other health issues. In particular, obesity is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease. By implementing lifestyle changes and using medications when necessary, it may be possible to reverse this trend.

Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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