Wegovy and Weight-Loss Drugs See Surge in Usage Among Adolescents

Wegovy and Weight-Loss Drugs See Surge in Usage
Wegovy and Weight-Loss Drugs See Surge in Usage. Credit | Shutterstock

United States: A 17 years old, who faced a tough battle with rotundity. importing 335 pounds at a height of 6 feet 1 inch, felt hopeless and embarrassed, floundering to go to academy or talk to people at work. Despite trying to diet and exercise, he could not lose weight and felt trapped.

With determination, he began a trip to change his life. Now, his story inspires others, showing that with courage and perseverance, anything is possible.

Teen’s Battle with Obesity

Wegovy, a weight-loss medication, assisted the girl from rural Tennessee in losing 110 pounds in nine months last year. As a result, recent study indicates that a growing number of teenagers and young adults are taking GLP-1 receptor agonists, which are treatments for diabetes and obesity.

Drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy are in high demand among millions of elderly people, but among those between the ages of 12 and 25, monthly drug use has increased. A recent review of dispensing records from approximately 94 percent of retail pharmacies in the United States from 2020 to 2023 supports this.

Surge in GLP-1 Use Among Youth

The IQVIA prescription database was utilized in the study, which was published in the journal JAMA on Wednesday, to gather the first data on the countrywide uptake of GLP-1 medications within that age range. Dr. Joyce Lee, a University of Michigan pediatrician and diabetes specialist who oversaw the study, estimated that in 2023 alone, about 31,000 youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 and over 162,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 25 utilized the drugs.

“What it suggests is that more providers are prescribing this medication for the population, and it’s one of the tools in the toolbox,” the spokesperson stated.

Rise in GLP-1 Prescriptions

According to the analysis, the number of 12- to 25-year-olds taking any GLP-1 drug increased from roughly 8,700 per month in 2020 to over 60,000 per month in 2023, a nearly 600% rise. This includes older treatments that were initially approved to treat diabetes in 2005 and for weight loss in 2014. The increase happened despite a roughly 3% decrease in those patients’ prescriptions for other medications.

Chronic Disease Burden on Youth

 Those who just received the drugs are the ones who really struggle with the obesity Lee noted and about 20% of the United States children and adolescents and about almost 42 percent of the adults have the chronic disease according to the United States  Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention.

Five years ago, during puberty, McKenzie, the adolescent from Tennessee, started gaining weight.

“I started eating to cope with everything,” he remarked.

His doctor stated that the additional weight aggravated his asthma and increased his risk of acquiring diabetes. He attempted to adhere to medical recommendations by reducing his intake of sugar-filled soda and snack items and increasing his physical activity, but his efforts were ineffective.

He said, “My previous physician told me there was nothing he could do.” “He said it was my fault,”

McKenzie made contact with Dr. Joani Jack, a pediatric obesity expert at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tennessee, early in 2023. Dr. Jack frequently writes prescriptions for GLP-1 medications for children.

“I told him we have a lot of resources and treatment options, and I’ve seen ten other people just like you today,” Jack remarked. Usually, they involve strict dietary and behavioral guidelines along with medicine, if needed.

Coverage for GLP-1 Medications

In McKenzie’s instance, Jack recommended the medication Wegovy, which was authorized for use in the United States in late 2022 for children over the age of twelve. According to the new data, over 6,000 children in that age bracket received Wegovy in 2023. Ozempic, which is licensed to treat adult diabetes but can also be used off-label in adolescents, was given to more than 7,600 patients. Older GLP-1 medications like Saxenda and Trulicity were given to others.

Teen’s Health Transformation

Interestingly, the study discovered that about 25 percent of GLP-1 medications used by adults 18 to 25 and nearly half of those prescribed to 12- to 17-year-olds were funded by government-run Medicaid insurance. Approximately two thirds of the older children’s care was covered by commercial insurance, and approximately 44% of the younger children’s.

McKenzie reports that his asthma is improving today and that he is excited to talk to friends and co-workers.

“Now, compared to before, I have a lot more self-confidence,” he remarked. “It has completely changed.”