Nearly half of children on semaglutide, a weight loss drug, are no longer clinically obese, according to a landmark study

person injecting semaglutide into their stomach

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  • 134 children with clinical obesity received semaglutide, a weight-loss drug.

  • Nearly half of them have lost enough weight to no longer be considered clinically obese.

  • The doctor-prescribed drug semaglutide is changing the face of obesity treatment, experts have said.

According to one study, almost half of children given semaglutide for weight loss lost enough weight to no longer be considered clinically obese.

The study, presented at the European Obesity Congress in Dublin, is the latest in a series of trials showing the jab offers a lifesaving treatment for obese people.

Two hundred and one clinically obese adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 took part in a trial to test the effect of the weight-loss drug semaglutide, marketed as Ozempic when prescribed for diabetes and Wegovy when is prescribed for weight loss.

One hundred and thirty-four of these children received a weekly dose of 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide for more than a year, alongside advice on a healthy lifestyle, The Guardian reported. The rest received the same lifestyle advice and a placebo shot.

The study found that at the end of 68 weeks of treatment, almost 45% of children who received semaglutide had lost enough weight to no longer be considered clinically obese, compared with only 12% of adolescents who received the placebo, according to The Guardian.

The results are “historically unprecedented with treatments other than bariatric surgery,” Aaron Kelly, study leader and co-director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine, said at a press conference on the results. results, according to The Guardian.

“These results underscore the high degree of clinical efficacy of semaglutide in obese adolescents,” the report reads by The Guardian.

Semaglutide has changed the face of obesity treatment

a man standing on a weight loss scale

A man checking his weight in a doctor’s office.Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

The FDA approved semaglutide, a drug originally designed to treat type 2 diabetes, for the treatment of obesity in 2021.

The drug has changed the face of obesity treatment. Obesity is a poorly understood disease, but what is clear is that for those who have it, lifestyle interventions and diet alone are usually not effective.

“The biggest misconception about obesity is that people just let themselves go,” Fatima Cody Stanford, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, told Insider.

“But the research actually shows us that obesity is a disease caused by biology,” she said.

However, a landmark study has shown that semaglutide can help people who are dangerously overweight significantly reduce their risk, to the point that their weight is no longer a health concern.

The study was a breakthrough for the field, which previously could only offer invasive bariatric surgery as a last resort.

Since then, a series of articles have shown that the drug can help people shed obesity-related pounds.

Semaglutide is safe but should only be used on clinical advice

stock image of doctor and patient in doctor's office

An image of a doctor and a patient.The Good Brigade/Getty Images

The drug has taken over social media, prompting some to take it without medical necessity to lose weight.

These posts, however, have prompted widespread false claims such as exaggerated side effects and misleading successes, Christopher McGowan, a board-certified physician in internal medicine, gastroenterology and obesity medicine, previously told Insider.

“Semaglutide is a legitimately effective drug. It provides health-altering weight loss,” he told Insider. “It has an excellent safety profile overall and is generally well tolerated,” he said.

But, he warned, “people see on social media that it’s a quick fix or a way to shed a few pounds. That’s not how it’s studied or intended to be used.”

While losing weight is generally a good thing, medical intervention is only deemed necessary when your weight puts you at risk for serious health issues such as diabetes and cancer, said Francesco Rubino, director of metabolic surgery at King’s College London, to Insider.

Those not in this category might seek other interventions, such as improving their diet and exercise, he said.

“The question is, do you really need to lose weight?” he said.

Semaglutide is also a lifetime commitment, as those who stop the drug may see their weight rebound, Rubino said.

“You should commit to taking this drug for life, which you would only consider if the benefits outweigh the risks, however small that risk may be,” Rubino said.

Read the original Insider article

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