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Medication Plus Behavior Changes Help Obese Adolescents Lose Weight

reduce their sedentary behaviors, and provided nutritional counseling.

At the end of the study, the 281 adolescents in the treatment group lost an average of 14 pounds, while the 79 patients in the control group gained an average of four pounds. Body mass index (BMI) decreased by 9.4 percent in the treatment group compared to 1.2 percent in the control group. Patients in both groups gained height and matured sexually at the same rate.

The standard definition of overweight in adolescents usually refers to those with a BMI greater than the 95th percentile for age and sex. This study focused on heavier patients, those with a BMI two units more than the 95th percentile, placing them at roughly the 97th percentile. Their mean weight was approximately 215 pounds.

At the end of the study, 33 percent of the patients who received sibutramine, compared to 7.6 percent in the control group, no longer had a BMI that was 2 units above the 95th percentile. Furthermore, 16.7 percent of the treated patients had their BMI drop below the 95th percentile (vs. 3.8 percent in the control group).

“At the end of a year of treatment, one-third of the adolescents who received medication were no longer severely overweight, and one out of six who were treated dropped below the standard definition of being overweight,” said Dr. Berkowitz. “We know that moderate weight loss in adults helps prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes. This may also be true in adolescents, although this study cannot address that question.”

As with any medication, cautioned Dr. Berkowitz, patients considering the use of sibutramine would need to consult with their physicians. Patients who take sibutramine require regular monitoring of pulse and blood pressure, and interactions with other specific medications may indicate that sibutramine should not be prescribed. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently approve using sibutr
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