HealthDay News — For adolescents with obesity, semaglutide is effective for reducing body mass index (BMI) category, according to a study published online in Obesity.

Aaron S. Kelly, PhD, from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, and colleagues examined how improvement in BMI with the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist semaglutide translated into changes in BMI category in a post hoc analysis of the phase-3a STEP TEENS trial. Adolescents with obesity received once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg or placebo plus lifestyle intervention.

The researchers found that in the overall population, 44.9% of participants receiving semaglutide and 12.1% receiving placebo achieved the normal weight or overweight BMI category at week 68 (odds ratio, 22.7). There was a decrease from 37.3% to 13.6% in the proportion of semaglutide-treated participants in obesity class III, whereas an increase was seen in placebo-treated participants. For achieving an improvement of one or more BMI category, the odds were significantly greater with semaglutide versus placebo (odds ratio, 23.5). In addition, 73.7% vs 19% of participants receiving semaglutide versus placebo had an improvement of 1 or more BMI category.

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“These results underscore the high degree of clinical effectiveness of semaglutide in adolescents with obesity,” Kelly said in a statement. “In a practical sense, we see that semaglutide reduced weight to a level below what is defined as clinical obesity in nearly 50% of the teens in our trial, which is historically unprecedented with treatments other than bariatric surgery.”

Several authors disclosed ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Novo Nordisk, which manufactures semaglutide and funded the study.

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