Pediatric obesity is a serious worldwide problem. Solutions for treating the millions of children and adolescents with obesity are desperately needed because prevention efforts over the past several decades have not been sufficient in slowing the steady rise in obesity prevalence.
The two most effective biology-based treatments for pediatric obesity are anti-obesity medications and bariatric surgery. These two treatments, when accompanied by lifestyle modification, have the potential to reduce not only body weight but also treat many other risk factors, such as prediabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol, liver disease, and sleep apnea, as well as others.
Which Medication has been approved ?
The Food and Drug Administration have approved 7 medications anti-obesity for adults, and now 3 for children and adolescents: phentermine, orlistat, and liraglutide.
Each of these medications works by treating the biology that drives weight gain, whether it is decreasing impulsivity, reducing hunger and appetite hormone pathways, or improving energy regulation pathways.
These medications already FDA-approved result in 10%-16% weight loss on average in the pediatric population.
How long will the patients need the treatment?
Unfortunately the answer might be: for the rest of your life. It’s pretty similar to hypertension or diabetes. If a medication is helping to take under control the blood pressure or glucose levels, Why should I stop taking the medicine?. In short, we would not want to do that. Even if our example patient only maintained that 10% initial weight loss, that would be very successful, just like someone maintaining their low blood pressure.
What are the side effects of the medication?
Anti-obesity medications, depending on the type, can cause nausea and vomiting and increase heart rate — and because they are relatively new, we do not fully understand the long-term impact of continued use past 1 year.
This new treatment will help a great global problem, despite the risks the medication has , they may not be as serious as the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases because of the obesity in our children. Of course, every time is accompanied with a healthy lifestyle.
Justin Rhyder (July 19, 2022). Pediatric Obesity Treatment Options: Beyond Lifestyle Modification.Medscape. Retrieved from: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/977143?src=#vp_2
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