Purpose of Review
This review provides a rationale for the use of pharmacotherapy in pediatric weight management, summarizes results of some of the key pediatric clinical trials of approved and “off-label” obesity medications, introduces new options in the pediatric pipeline, and offers a glimpse into the future of pediatric obesity medicine.
Despite the need for adjunctive treatments to enhance the outcomes of lifestyle modification therapy among youth with obesity, none of the obesity medications evaluated to date have been shown to meaningfully reduce BMI or cardiometabolic risk factors. Promising medications recently approved for the treatment of obesity in adults will soon be tested in pediatric trials, offering hope that new therapeutic options will soon be available.
As new medications are approved to treat pediatric obesity, it will be important to evaluate the safety and efficacy of combination pharmacotherapy and investigate predictors of response. Application of precision medicine approaches to the field of pediatric obesity management will improve the long-term outlook for the tens of millions of youth afflicted with this serious and recalcitrant disease.