Diabetes Drug Helps Obese Teens Shed Extra Kilos

First Posted: Feb 06, 2013 05:13 AM EST

A drug that was approved to cure adults suffering from type 2 diabetes may also help obese kids to shed off the extra pounds, according to a recent finding.

Approved in the year 2005 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drug 'Byetta' (Exenatide) is an injectable diabetes medicine that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. This drug controls the level of blood sugar by helping the pancreas produce insulin more efficiently.

"We're encouraged by these trial results because there is potentially a role for this class (of drugs) to be useful in terms of weight reduction and cardiovascular risk control," Aaron Kelly, the study's lead author from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, was quoted as saying in Reuters.

For the study, Kelly along with colleagues from Amplatz Children's Hospital selected obese children from Minnesota who belonged to the age group of 12 to 19. They were divided into two different groups.

The first group that consisted of 12 obese kids were asked to inject themselves with Byetta before breakfast and dinner every day for three months. Meanwhile, the other group consisting of 10 obese kids were injected with an inactive placebo, reports Reuters.

After six months, the researchers noticed that those obese kids who took the drug had a 4 percent reduction in their body mass index (BMI) compared to those on placebos.

It was reported that initially, the BMI of the children was an average of 43. After three months, for those who took the drug, their BMI dropped to 41, while for those on placebo, their BMI was 42.

Recently, the FDA approved two new drugs to treat obesity in adults, namely Belviq and Qsymia.

"We're really viewing this as preliminary evidence for this general drug class. We wouldn't recommend this medication to be used (for weight loss in youths) at this point," Kelly continues to say.

The study appears in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

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