Role of GLP-1 Receptor Agonists in Pediatric Obesity: Benefits, Risks, and Approaches to Patient Selection.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Effective treatments for pediatric obesity are limited. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists have emerged as therapeutic agents for obesity in adults and have shown benefits outside of weight loss. Here we explore the evidence for GLP-1R agonist use in pediatric obesity. RECENT FINDINGS: Emerging evidence suggests that GLP-1R agonists have a role in pediatric obesity treatment. A recently published, randomized, placebo-controlled trial found a greater reduction in BMI z-score (- 0.22 SDs) in adolescents receiving liraglutide compared with placebo. As in adults, gastrointestinal adverse effects were commonly seen. GLP-1R agonists appear to perform favorably compared with other approved pharmacological agents for pediatric obesity. However, heterogeneity in weight loss response, cost, side effects, and need for injections may limit their use in many pediatric patients. Rather than broadly applying this therapy if it is approved, we suggest careful patient selection and monitoring by clinicians pending further studies.
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