Semaglutide in Adolescent Obesity

D Weghuber et al NEJM 2022; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2208601. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adolescents with Obesity

Methods: In this double-blind, parallel-group, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, we enrolled 201 adolescents (12 to <18 years of age) with obesity (a body-mass index [BMI] in the 95th percentile or higher) or with overweight (a BMI in the 85th percentile or higher) and at least one weight-related coexisting condition.  180 (90%) completed treatment. Participants were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide (at a dose of 2.4 mg) or placebo for 68 weeks, plus lifestyle intervention.

Key findings:

  • The mean change in BMI from baseline to week 68 was −16.1% with semaglutide and 0.6% with placebo
  • At week 68, a total of 95 of 131 participants (73%) in the semaglutide group had weight loss of 5% or more, as compared with 11 of 62 participants (18%) in the placebo group
  • Improvement with respect to cardiometabolic risk factors (waist circumference and levels of glycated hemoglobin, lipids [except high-density lipoprotein cholesterol], and alanine aminotransferase) were greater with semaglutide than with placebo
  • “The safety of semaglutide in this adolescent population appeared to be consistent with findings among adults with overweight or obesity… Gastrointestinal disorders (primarily nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) were the most frequent adverse events with semaglutide (occurring in 62% of participants, as compared with 42% in the placebo group) and were generally mild or moderate in severity and of short duration (median duration, 2 to 3 days for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in the semaglutide group)”
  • “Permanent discontinuations because of gastrointestinal disorders were very low. Furthermore, semaglutide did not appear to affect growth or pubertal development during the trial period”

My take: As in adults, treatment with semaglutide results in weight loss.

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