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Social Use of weight-loss drugs soars among kids, young adults

LeonardoBjj

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At 17, Israel McKenzie was so burdened by obesity that he stopped going to high school in person and was embarrassed to speak to people at his restaurant job.

"I was in a really dark place," said McKenzie, whose weight had climbed to 335 pounds on his 6-foot-1-inch frame, despite repeated efforts to diet and exercise. "I had given up hope."

But last year, the weight-loss drug Wegovy helped him shed 110 pounds in nine months, making the rural Tennessee teen part of a surge of adolescents and young adults using diabetes and obesity medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, new research shows.

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Even as millions of older adults clamor for drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy, monthly use of the medications soared in people aged 12 to 25. That's according to the new analysis of dispensing records from nearly 94% of U.S. retail pharmacies from 2020 to 2023.

The report, published in the journal JAMA on Wednesday, used the IQVIA prescription database to compile the first look at the national uptake of GLP-1 drugs among that age group. Nearly 31,000 children aged 12 to 17 and more than 162,000 people aged 18 to 25 used the medications in 2023 alone, said Dr. Joyce Lee, a University of Michigan pediatrician and diabetes expert who led the research.
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"What it's suggesting is that it's one of the tools in the toolbox and there are more providers prescribing this medication for the population," she said.

The report shows that the number of 12- to 25-year-olds using any GLP-1 drug — including older medications first approved to treat diabetes in 2005 and for weight loss in 2014 — climbed from about 8,700 a month in 2020 to more than 60,000 a month in 2023. The rise occurred even as prescriptions of other drugs among those patients fell by about 3%.

Those who received the drugs were just a small fraction of young people who struggle with obesity, Lee noted. About 20% of U.S. children and adolescents and about 42% of adults have the chronic disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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In early 2023, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children and teens with obesity be evaluated early and treated aggressively, including with surgery and medication if warranted.

McKenzie, the Tennessee teen, said he began gaining weight five years ago, during puberty.

"I started turning to food for all of my problems," he said.

The extra weight made his asthma worse and put him in danger of developing diabetes, his doctor said. He tried to follow medical advice by cutting out sugary soda and snack foods and exercising more, but the efforts failed to make a difference.

"My old doctor told me there was nothing he could do," he said. "He told me it was my fault."

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In early 2023, McKenzie connected with Dr. Joani Jack, a pediatric obesity specialist at Children's Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who regularly prescribes GLP-1 drugs for kids.

"I told him, 'I've seen 10 other people just like you today and we have lots of tools and treatment options,' " Jack said. Those typically include intensive behavioral and nutrition interventions combined with medication, if necessary.

In McKenzie's case, Jack prescribed the weight-loss drug Wegovy, which in late 2022 was approved for use in U.S. children over age 12. More than 6,000 kids in that age group received Wegovy in 2023, the new data show. More than 7,600 received Ozempic, which is approved to treat diabetes in adults, but can be used off-label in adolescents. Others received older GLP-1 drugs such as Saxenda and Trulicity.

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McKenzie said he had no notable side effects from the medication, but Lee noted that some young people report nausea, vomiting or constipation, including symptoms so serious that they stop the drugs.

It's important to understand the surging use of these medications in young people, Lee said. The drugs are meant for continuing use, so "we really need to think about the long-term safety and effectiveness of these medications for this population," she said.

In addition, the drugs are expensive and often difficult to obtain, either because of supply problems or because they're not covered by insurance.

Notably, government-run Medicaid plans paid for nearly half of the GLP-1 drugs prescribed to 12- to 17-year-olds and about a quarter of those used by people aged 18 to 25, the research found. Commercial insurance covered care for nearly 44% of the younger kids and about two-thirds of those who were older.

Today, McKenzie says his asthma is better and he looks forward to interacting with co-workers and friends.

"I have a lot of self-confidence now, a lot more than I used to," he said. "It has changed everything."

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https://www.voanews.com/a/use-of-weight-loss-drugs-soars-among-kids-young-adults/7623566.html
 
Calories in and Calories out! Its that simple.

I definetely feel for the kids that I see these days walking around obese at as young as 5-6. They don't deserve the ridicule and challenges that come with being that fat...For those that say its a choice, I agree but we can't expect children under 16 to be going on diets and what not, the responsibility is on the parents to set precendent and not suffocate their pantries with junk. But thats just my 2 cents.
 
Calories in and Calories out! Its that simple.

I definetely feel for the kids that I see these days walking around obese at as young as 5-6. They don't deserve the ridicule and challenges that come with being that fat...For those that say its a choice, I agree but we can't expect children under 16 to be going on diets and what not, the responsibility is on the parents to set precendent and not suffocate their pantries with junk. But thats just my 2 cents.
I want to spit on parents of fat kids
 
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It works but most people don't like the gym. I see people working out in the gym. More than half of them are just doing bullshit workouts. It's really hard to distinguish what is fad vs effectiveness because of social media.
 
In all seriousness, I'm intrigued by these drugs.

What is the longer term effect on the human body and mind?

While driving around running errands, a story on the radio was talking about how some of the side effects include less impulse buying, less desire to gamble, and less desire to consume alcohol.

As a result, scientists are now starting to study correlations between hunger and vices.

Are they both from the same part of the brain?
 
In all seriousness, I'm intrigued by these drugs.

What is the longer term effect on the human body and mind?

While driving around running errands, a story on the radio was talking about how some of the side effects include less impulse buying, less desire to gamble, and less desire to consume alcohol.

As a result, scientists are now starting to study correlations between hunger and vices.

Are they both from the same part of the brain?
- I will use my Thunder-Cats sword of omens: @Sano @Sinister

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Berberine is the natural plant based version of these drugs.
 
It works but most people don't like the gym. I see people working out in the gym. More than half of them are just doing bullshit workouts. It's really hard to distinguish what is fad vs effectiveness because of social media.

Anything is better than nothing, IMO. The exception being any exercise that might cause injury due to incorrect form or trying to do too much too early, etc. Someone working out incorrectly, still has the desire to improve their health. They just need help. I agree that social media is more often than not a bad place to get workout tips.
 
If you lived through the 90's, you already know the dangers of "weight loss" drugs. That said, if you're 400lbs you may as well pick your poison and go for it. The people looking to lose 10-20lbs with a quick fix are gonna be the ones regretting their choices.

But hey, if they find a weight loss drug that works for everyone, more power to them. I've been conditioned to believe that there is always a price to pay for this shit. Usually is, when your body is being transformed at a rapid pace by a drug, but you never know.
 
Anything is better than nothing, IMO. The exception being any exercise that might cause injury due to incorrect form or trying to do too much too early, etc. Someone working out incorrectly, still has the desire to improve their health. They just need help. I agree that social media is more often than not a bad place to get workout tips.
Most of the influencers are selling a dream. They get their bodies doing something else. It can be supplementation or not doing the workouts that they are selling.
 
If drugs are what it takes, i think it’s a lesser evil, that’s just my initial impression. I know a dude that’s been fat his whole adult life, and now he’s in shape because of these drugs
 
Most of the influencers are selling a dream. They get their bodies doing something else. It can be supplementation or not doing the workouts that they are selling.

When I see the videos that start out as "With these 3 simple steps, you will get the summer body you've been looking for!", but you have to sit through 8 minutes of video just to get to where they tell you to sign up for some shit........ Fucking frustrating.
 
Berberine is the natural plant based version of these drugs.

The mechanism of GLP-1s are different from Berberine. GLP-1 has a delaying effect in terms of gastric motility. Berberine is compared to something like Metformin. People are using GLP-1s off-label to lose weight. It mimics the body's signal of feeling full so you eat less. Berberine doesn't really do that outside of making you have diarrhea. You aren't going to lose weight using Berberine.
 
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