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In 2023, more than 1,200 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 were prescribed semaglutide for obesity, according to an analysis of insurance claims by Komodo Health. Additionally, when data from Medicaid programs in 5 selected states was analyzed by Reuters, more than 460 children were found to be taking the weight management drug. The bottom line seems to indicate that providers are embracing obesity pharmacotherapy for tweens. Of note, it was December 2022 when the Food and Drug Administration first approved semaglutide as a weight loss treatment for adolescents age 12 and older, so 2023 was essentially the first year it would have been prescribed for this population. The manufacturers of semaglutide and tirzepatide are reportedly testing the products for use in kids as young as 6 years of age, as per Reuters. 

Hope for a long, healthy life: When kids are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity-related conditions, initiating treatment early can help prevent lifelong health issues. However, it’s unknown how long children would need to keep using weight-loss drugs, and the obvious lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise, would likely take precedence for most kids.

Providers Recommending Obesity Pharmacotherapy For Tweens