A study found that less than half of obese teenagers administered a new generation of recently approved weight-loss drugs were clinically obese at the end of a 16-month trial.

The findings support a small but growing body of evidence for the drug semaglutide. It can be an effective treatment option for chronic weight management, which goes by the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy.

Obesity among children and adolescents is now alarmingly high in many countries and has a significant impact on young people’s lives, with the World Health Organization calling childhood obesity “one of the most pressing public health challenges of the 21st century”.

The authors of the new peer-reviewed study published on Wednesday In the journal ObesityThey found that semaglutide was “very effective” in reducing body weight in teenagers.

The weight of 134 clinically obese adolescents was monitored for 68 weeks, with participants receiving weekly injections of 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide. By the end of the study, 45 percent of the group’s BMI had dropped below clinical levels of obesity.

In a separate group that received a placebo, only 12 percent were not considered overweight at the end of the trial. Both groups received lifestyle advice and had a daily goal of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

The findings show that the drug is an effective treatment, said Aaron Kelly, a childhood obesity expert at the University of Minnesota Medical School, who co-authored the study and presented the findings Thursday at the European Congress of Obesity.

Kelly said in an interview, “It makes it easier for them to participate in a familiar diet, fill up quickly and not be hungry all the time.” “If you were assigned semaglutide—compared to placebo—you were 23 times more likely to have a clinical reduction in obesity.”

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The study adds to existing research that a weekly self-administered injection of Wegovi or Ozempic, made by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, is effective in reducing body weight — more so than previous generations of diet pills — and some. Health risks associated with obesity.

The US Food and Drug Administration first approved Ozempic to treat type 2 diabetes. The agency approved the use of Wegovin as a treatment for chronic weight management in adults in 2021 and as a treatment for teenagers late last year. That move dramatically increased demand for the drug, in part because celebrities touted its benefits on social media and led to shortages in certain quantities. According to the FDA.

The latest report is based on data from a research center trial published in December. New England Journal of Medicine. But researchers used the results to focus on the drug’s effect on obesity rather than simple BMI results.

“It’s a different way of expressing the results in a more clinical way,” said Kelly, who co-authored the December paper.

Semaglutide works by mimicking the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1, or glucagon-like peptide 1, to target receptors in the brain, reducing the patient’s appetite and slowing the absorption of food in the gut.

It helps to normalize body systems related to nutrition and energy regulation. It basically takes the edge off,” Kelly said.

Doctors touted the drug as the latest in a new generation of weight loss drugs that could help patients struggling with difficult weight management. According to the most recent data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 22 percent of Americans ages 12 to 19 are obese. Among adults, the rate reaches 42 percent. Being overweight or obese increases the lifelong risk for many health conditions and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, stroke, and heart disease.

His son was on medication for obesity. Then their plan refused to pay.

The use of BMI – based on a person’s weight and height – has been criticized by some obesity experts and nutritionists as a measure of obesity. They say it doesn’t take into account racial and ethnic differences, along with other factors.

Despite semaglutide’s effectiveness in the trial, Kelly cautions that it should not be considered a quick fix for obesity. Although clinical trials have not confirmed this, many doctors expect patients to take the drug indefinitely.

Obesity is a chronic disease, Kelly, and treatment must be permanent. “Especially if you develop obesity as a child, you have a very high chance of struggling with it for the rest of your life,” Kelly said. “If you’re involved in any type of treatment for obesity, it’s going to last a long time.”

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