Obesity is a complex and retractable disease for which effective and durable treatments are elusive. Successful treatment of severe obesity with lifestyle modification therapy alone is highly unlikely, particularly for adolescents. Pharmacotherapy, if appropriately prescribed, can be an effective tool to use in conjunction with lifestyle modification therapy to achieve better weight loss outcomes. Only a few obesity medications have been evaluated in children and adolescents with results suggesting modest efficacy. However, a new pipeline of obesity drugs has been recently approved for use among adults. Among these, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) treatment appears to have reasonable weight loss efficacy along with other beneficial pleiotropic effects. Although larger trials will be required to confirm the results, two small pediatric clinical trials have suggested that GLP-1RA treatment may be useful in adolescents with severe obesity. Once sufficient evidence is generated supporting the safety and efficacy of GLP-1RAs and other obesity medications in youth, the pediatric medical community needs to become less resistant to the use of pharmacotherapy. Otherwise, poor outcomes will continue to be the norm.
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© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.