Obese teenagers lose 15% of body weight in trial of repurposed diabetes drug

Obese teenagers lose 15% of body weight in trial of repurposed diabetes drug

Obese teenagers lose 15% of body weight in trial of repurposed diabetes drug

Obese teenagers lose 15% of body weight in trial of repurposed diabetes drug
Increase / Woman weighing kg

A repurposed type 2 diabetes drug helped obese teenagers lose a significant amount of body weight, reduced their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improved their weight-related quality of life during a 68-week clinical trial, researchers reported this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The drug is semaglutide (brand name Wegovy), which was first approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in 2017, but has since also proven useful for weight loss in adults who are obese or overweight. The drug works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake, the Food and Drug Administration explained in approving its use for weight loss in adults.

New data suggests it could also significantly help teenagers struggling with obesity and overweight problems improve their health and outlook as they enter adulthood. One of five children and a teenager in the U.S. is obese, which can lead to serious health problems in children, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems and joint problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, semaglutide is not a magic cure for obesity, which is a complex, multifactorial, chronic disease. The researchers note that at the seven-week follow-up after the 68-week treatment, some teenagers regained a small amount of weight, suggesting that they may need to stay on the drug to maintain the weight loss. It is also not clear how long a person can take the drug while still losing weight. Still, the drug could be a useful new tool in the fight against the severe, progressive condition.

the results

In a phase 3, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial published this week, researchers gave teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 a weekly injection of 2.4 mg of semaglutide for 68 weeks.

Of the 201 teenagers enrolled in the trial, 133 obese teens and one overweight teen were treated with semaglutide, while 67 were given a placebo. Both groups, along with parents and guardians, also received counseling about healthy eating and exercise.

The drug appeared to be generally safe, with some gastrointestinal side effects – nausea, vomiting and diarrhea – mostly seen in the early stages of treatment, which lessened as the weeks went by.

After 68 weeks, those treated with semaglutide lost an average of about 15 percent of their starting weight — about 34 pounds. In the placebo group, the teens gained about 3 percent of their starting weight — about 5 pounds. The average change in BMI (body mass index) was -16 percent in the treatment group, and +0.6 percent in the placebo group.

In the treatment group, 73 percent lost at least 5 percent of their weight, 62 percent lost at least 10 percent, and 37 percent lost at least 20 percent. Treated teenagers also saw reductions in clinically important cardiovascular risk factors, including lower waist circumference, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, which was not seen in the placebo group. Finally, the treated teenagers reported improvements in their quality of life scores regarding physical comfort.


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