Minneapolis, MN—Nearly half of adolescents receiving semaglutide were able to lose enough weight to drop below the clinical cutoff for obesity, according to a new secondary analysis of the STEP TEENS trial.

The results were presented at the 2023 European Congress on Obesity, which was held in Dublin, Ireland, in mid-May. The University of Minnesota–led study was also published in the journal Obesity.

In addition, the study found that almost three-quarters (74%) of the teens moved down by at least one weight category.

“These results underscore the high degree of clinical effectiveness of semaglutide in adolescents with obesity,” said Aaron S. Kelly, PhD, codirector of the Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine at the University of Minnesota. “In a practical sense, we see that semaglutide reduced weight to a level below what is defined as clinical obesity in nearly 50% of the teens in our trial, which is historically unprecedented with treatments other than bariatric surgery.”

The full STEP TEENS trial was published in 2022 in the New England Journal of Medicine. It revealed the efficacy of semaglutide in helping adolescents lose weight. The secondary analysis examined the effect of semaglutide treatment on improvement in BMI categories.

In the STEP TEENS trial, adolescents with obesity received once-weekly SC semaglutide 2.4 mg or placebo, as well as counseling in healthy nutrition and a goal of 60 minutes of moderate-to-high–intensity physical activity per day.

The original conclusion was that, for adolescents with obesity, once-weekly treatment with a 2.4-mg dose of semaglutide plus lifestyle intervention resulted in a greater reduction in BMI than lifestyle intervention alone.

The results of the post hoc analysis took that even further, indicating that in the overall population, 44.9% of participants receiving semaglutide achieved normal weight or overweight BMI category versus 12.1% receiving placebo at Week 68 (odds ratio 22.7; 95% CI, 7.6-67.9).

“The proportion of semaglutide-treated participants in obesity class III decreased from 37.3% to 13.6%, but increased with placebo,” the authors wrote. “The odds ratio for achieving an improvement of ≥1 BMI category was significantly greater with semaglutide versus placebo (23.5; 95% CI: 9.9–55.5); an improvement of ≥1 BMI category was seen in 73.7% of participants receiving semaglutide compared with 19.0% with placebo.”

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