Are weight loss drugs safe for children and teenagers?

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    Orlistat, liraglutide, and semaglutide are approved by the FDA for children ages 12 and older with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile. In a study involving 201 children between the ages of 12 and 18, semaglutide treatment for 68 weeks reduced weight and BMI by 14.7% and 16.1%, respectively.[1]

    The safety of GLP-1 receptor agonists and other weight loss drugs in children and adolescents remains to be determined. Adolescence is a period of rapid growth, sexual maturation, and neural development. It is unknown whether decades-long use of semaglutide or other drugs could impact metabolic regulation, brain circuitry, or long-term development in children or adolescents who start treatment at an early age.


    1. ^Weghuber D, Barrett T, Barrientos-Pérez M, Gies I, Hesse D, Jeppesen OK, Kelly AS, Mastrandrea LD, Sørrig R, Arslanian S,Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adolescents with Obesity.N Engl J Med.(2022-Dec-15)