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Popular weight-loss drugs could harm children

UCI researchers warn of unintended effects in kids

September 12, 2023

IN THE NEWS: Concern about the unintended effects of popular weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy on adults is now extended to children, thanks to new research.

KFI AM 640 logo with orange and black letters and red heartThe work was led by a team of researchers and healthcare professionals from UCI Health, who are concerned that treating childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes with weight-loss drugs using glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RA) could have impacts far beyond weight control.

UCI Health pediatrician Dr. Dan M. Cooper, the lead author of the study, spoke to the Wisconsin Radio Network about the concerning findings.

“This could lead to more suicidal ideation or depression in kids, which is already at deep levels. It could impact health across the lifespan.”

The research commentary, Unintended Consequences of Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists Medication in Children and Adolescents – A Call to Action, was published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.

Cooper is a distinguished professor of pediatrics at the UCI School of Medicine. He is the associate director of the UCI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and interim director of the UCI Institute for Precision Health. Cooper’s research seeks to understand the role of physical activity and exercise in growth and development in children and adolescents in both health and disease.

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