Semaglutide — one among Wegovy’s anti-obesity medication — led to a “important discount” in physique mass index in obese youngsters after greater than a yr of weekly therapy, researchers reported Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. .
Wegovy is at present obtainable in the US solely by prescription for adults. A brand new study checked out whether or not it’d work in youngsters.
“Boy, it does,” stated NBC News medical assistant Dr. Natalie Azar.
The study concerned 201 obese individuals aged 12 to 17 years in the United States and different nations who had been randomly assigned to obtain a once-weekly injection of semaglutide or a placebo. The dose of the drug was the identical as the really useful dose for adults.
Both teams obtained way of life recommendation on vitamin and bodily exercise for weight loss earlier than and through the study.
After 16 months of this routine, the teenagers in the semaglutide group misplaced almost 15 p.c of their physique weight, or about 34 kilos, whereas the management group gained about 5 kilos.
“Not solely did they lose weight, however their waist circumference improved and their ldl cholesterol improved,” Azar stated. It was additionally one among the first research to have a look at how high quality of life improved as youngsters misplaced weight, “and it improved dramatically,” he famous. “Having that further weight can have a important impression on their social improvement.”
The study was funded by pharmaceutical big Novo Nordisk, which manufactures Wegovy.
Emmalia Zummo, 17, of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, was one among the teenagers in the study who obtained semaglutide. She initially weighed 250 kilos, which was attributed to polycystic ovary syndrome, and misplaced greater than 70 kilos throughout the trial.
“I really feel higher, which is one thing I’ve by no means felt earlier than,” she instructed NBC News.
In the trial, semaglutide’s security profile amongst obese adolescents was related to that seen in adults, the researchers wrote. The drug “didn’t have an effect on progress or puberty,” they famous.
“There aren’t any considerations about the improvement, however some medication have unintended effects. The foremost unintended effects of this class of medicine are GI (gastrointestinal) – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, “stated Dr. Silva Arslanian, director of the Pediatric Research Center for Obesity and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh TODAY. He is one among the authors of the study. .
“None of our individuals interrupted college classes. But after all it’s extremely private.
Almost two-thirds, 62%, of adolescents who obtained semaglutide skilled gastrointestinal antagonistic occasions, in contrast with 42% of adolescents who obtained placebo.
Semaglutide belongs to a class of medicine known as GLP-1 receptor agonists and works by mimicking the pure hormone the physique makes when a individual eats meals. This hormone targets areas of the mind that regulate urge for food and consuming. Scientists imagine its motion on the mind helps individuals really feel full earlier, in order that they eat lower than normal.
It works higher for weight loss in obese teenagers than way of life interventions that drive starvation and satiety by the central nervous system for a number of causes, Arslanian stated.
Also, “we dwell in an obesogenic setting the place it isn’t simple to make wholesome way of life selections… (and) wholesome day by day bodily exercise has been changed by display actions that do not burn energy,” he stated.
Teens have had no issues injecting medication on their very own, “but when you recognize or have teenagers, mother and father normally have to supervise or warn them, no matter what life duties they’re doing,” Arslanian famous.
The drug prices about $1,300 a month, and medical health insurance usually would not cowl weight problems medication. Patients have to proceed utilizing it or they could regain the misplaced weight.
Asked if there have been any considerations about younger sufferers beginning the drug so early and taking it indefinitely, Arslanian stated, “That’s a excellent query, on everybody’s radar. I imagine that with additional scientific advances we might be in a position to discover a answer.”
Semaglutide has been in the information a lot these days. It can also be the energetic ingredient in Ozempic, a prescription drug for the therapy of sort 2 diabetes and Vegovi’s sister drug. Ozempic will not be authorized for weight loss, however many individuals who do not need diabetes take it off-label—the observe of taking medication authorized for off-label makes use of—and credit score it for weight loss success.
Demand for each medication impacts provide. The US Food and Drug Administration listed Wegovy and Ozempic as “at present in quick provide” on its web site.
Novo Nordisk is going through a Wegovy provide scarcity due to “unprecedented product demand and short-term manufacturing points,” in accordance to the firm’s web site. It has requested docs to maintain off on beginning new sufferers on the drug for now, however says it’s on observe to have all dosage strengths obtainable in the U.S. by the finish of this yr.
The FDA could approve semaglutide for weight loss in obese adolescents in 2023, Azar stated.
This article was initially revealed on TODAY.com