December 4, 2023


Healthy Always

Wegovy authorized to assist overweight teenagers drop some pounds

4 min read

The Meals and Drug Administration’s approval of Wegovy, Novo Nordisk’s newest weight problems drug, for adolescents aged 12 years and older opens up a highly-anticipated software within the combat towards childhood weight problems, however some medical doctors warn the sought-after medicine isn’t a magic bullet.

The transfer comes after the FDA authorized Wegovy (semaglutide) for weight administration in adults in 2021.

Although the FDA authorized Novo Nordisk’s earlier weight problems drug, Saxenda, for weight reduction in adolescents in December 2020, there’s larger curiosity in Wegovy because it’s injected weekly as a substitute of day by day and it has been proven to have larger results on weight reduction. The drug, which mimics the consequences of hormones that may assist folks really feel full after consuming, led to a mean 16{a0a53df5b21b30f1dc707787012dfe5cf0092a60ed2df5b3ad9744fa4ff50b1c} discount in body-mass index in teenagers in a 68-week trial.


The FDA’s determination comes as charges of childhood weight problems surge, with about 20{a0a53df5b21b30f1dc707787012dfe5cf0092a60ed2df5b3ad9744fa4ff50b1c} of children and adolescents within the U.S. having the situation. Many medical doctors have awaited the approval of a brand new drug in a area that’s lengthy lacked extremely efficient and secure medicines.

However some are cautioning towards a rush to make use of it.


“I’m involved that medical doctors are going to hurry to judgment and make use of a medicine that could be very costly and has its personal negative effects with out giving correct consideration of what the precise explanation for the issue is,” stated Robert Lustig, professor emeritus of pediatrics on the College of California, San Francisco. Wegovy prices greater than $1,300 per thirty days and may trigger nausea, vomiting, and uncommon instances of pancreatitis.

Lustig stated every teen’s weight problems is attributable to totally different genetic, environmental, and behavioral elements and requires tailor-made remedy. He worries that widespread use of Wegovy could lead on physicians to miss the foundation causes of a person’s situation.

“Treating the downstream signs of the issue is just placing a Band-Assist on the issue, it’s not fixing the issue,” Lustig stated. “I’m apprehensive that Wegovy is a Band-Assist.”

Since Wegovy, Saxenda, and different medication are supposed to be taken over the long run to take care of weight reduction — probably the remainder of a person’s life — youngsters could be on the medicine for an particularly very long time, and there isn’t but data on the consequences of the drug over that point span, Lustig added.

Fatima Cody Stanford, an weight problems drugs physician-scientist at Massachusetts Common Hospital in Boston, is extra enthusiastic in regards to the medicine. “I’m extraordinarily excited as a result of we do have extra restricted choices accessible for the use in pediatric sufferers,” she stated. “The sooner the intervention, the higher when it comes to shaping their metabolic well being.”

There haven’t been vital security issues in related medication which have been available on the market for longer, equivalent to Saxenda, stated Stanford, who consults for Novo Nordisk.

However making certain that the medication are used appropriately in those that want them might be essential, stated Stanford. As Wegovy and related medicines have been rolled out, some adults who don’t have weight problems have sought them out for his or her weight-loss results.

“There’s a threat for these medicines getting used inappropriately like we’ve seen within the grownup inhabitants, significantly in sufferers which will have a historical past of disordered consuming,” Stanford stated. “I might hope that physicians and different superior follow suppliers which have the power to prescribe might be considerate in regards to the implications behind using these medicines.”

Within the meantime, medical doctors and sufferers will seemingly face challenges getting the drug. There have been shortages of Wegovy since March as a result of manufacturing points. Whereas the corporate this week reported all doses at the moment are accessible to retail pharmacies nationwide, it’s nonetheless ramping up manufacturing capability.

Novo Nordisk expects a second contract producer to return on-line within the first half of 2023 and a second web site on the present producer to start out later within the yr, it stated in an emailed assertion.

Amid the possibly tight provide, the rollout of the drug threatens to widen well being disparities. Latest research has discovered that dwelling in much less advantaged areas is linked to a larger threat of creating weight problems throughout childhood and adolescence. Communities which will want the drug essentially the most could also be least in a position to afford the medicine, which isn’t lined by many insurers, stated Kavitha Selvaraj, medical director of the wellness and weight administration program at Lurie Youngsters’s Hospital of Chicago.

“We’ll proceed to work inside the present well being care system to acquire broader protection and larger entry,” Novo Nordisk stated in its assertion.

Equitable distribution is very essential when treating adolescents as a result of untreated weight problems early in life can result in well being issues equivalent to diabetes and coronary heart illness afterward, Selvaraj stated. “The significance of appearing early in childhood and adolescence actually can’t be overstated.

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