Semaglutide reduces BMI in obese adolescents


In a recent study, adolescents, who received weekly doses of semaglutide 2.4 mg alongside lifestyle intervention, saw a significantly greater reduction in body mass index by week 68 than those only given lifestyle intervention.

Semaglutide is effective at reducing BMI in adolescents with obesity, when given as a weekly 2.4 mg dose and accompanied with lifestyle intervention, according to a recent study.

A weekly 2.4 mg dose of semaglutide is currently used to treat obesity in adults, but there is little evidence on the drug’s effectiveness in adolescents. To analyze the drug in adolescents, investigators conducted a double-blind, parallel-group, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Participants included adolescents aged 12 to 18 years of age with obesity or those who were overweight. Obesity was defined as having a bodymass index (BMI) in the 95th percentile or higher, while overweight was defined as having a BMI in the 85th percentile or higher. Participants also had at least 1 weight-related coexisting condition.

In the study, participants were divided by a 2:1 ratio into 2 groups. The first group was given a 2.4 mg dose of subcutaneous semaglutide once per week, while the second group was given a placebo for 68 weeks. Both groups had lifestyle intervention as part of their treatment.

The percentage change in BMI from baseline to week 68 was the primary endpoint of the study. The secondary endpoint was an observed weight loss of at least 5% by week 68.

Of the 201 participants in the study, 180 completed treatment. Those in the semaglutide group saw an average 16.1% reduction in BMI from baseline to week 68, while those in the placebo group saw an average reduction of 0.6%.

In the semaglutide group, 73% of participants had a reduction of at least 5% by week 68, compared to 18% of the placebo group. Improvements toward cardiometabolic risk factors and rate of gastrointestinal adverse events were also more significant in the semaglutide than the placebo group.

Cholelithiasis was seen in 5 members of the semaglutide group and none in the placebo group, and severe adverse events were seen in 11% of the semaglutide group and 9% of the placebo group.

These results showed a significant reduction in BMI among adolescents with obesity when given weekly 2.4 mg semaglutide. When paired with lifestyle changes, semaglutideis significantly more effective than lifestyle changes alone.


Weghuber D, Barrett T, Barrientos-Pérez M, Gies I, Hesse D, Jeppesen OK, et al.Once-weeklysemaglutide in adolescents with obesity. New England Journal of Medicine. 2022. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2208601

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