Despite the increasing number of medications recently approved to treat obesity among adults, few agents have been formally evaluated in children or adolescents for this indication. Moreover, there is a paucity of guidance in the literature addressing best practices with regard to pediatric obesity pharmacotherapy clinical trial design, and only general recommendations have been offered by regulatory agencies on this topic. The purposes of this article are to (1) offer a background of the current state of the field of pediatric obesity medicine, (2) provide a brief review of the literature summarizing pediatric obesity pharmacotherapy clinical trials, and (3) highlight and discuss some of the unique aspects that should be considered when designing and conducting high-quality clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of obesity medications in children and adolescents. Suggestions are offered in the areas of target population and eligibility criteria, clinical trial end-point selection, trial duration, implementation of lifestyle modification therapy and recruitment and retention of participants. Efforts should be made to design and conduct trials appropriately to ensure that high-quality evidence is generated on the safety and efficacy of various medications used to treat pediatric obesity.
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