Big Pharma Is Targeting 6 Yr Olds With Weight-Loss Drugs Despite Known Health Risks

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weight loss for children

Big pharma is set to start clinical trials for anti-obesity shots in children as young as six years old, despite concerns that the drugs may cause stomach paralysis and suicidal thoughts

Pharmaceutical behemoths have announced that they are recruiting children as young as six to test their popular weight loss drugs, all of which have known physical and mental health risks.

Novo Nordisk, maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, and Eli Lilly, maker of Mounjaro, already have approval for the drugs in the US and European Union (EU) for people aged 12 and over.

According to reports, Novo Nordisk is reportedly already in phase 3 trials with children 6-12, testing its Saxenda product. Eli Lilly began recruiting children for its trials last week.

An Eli Lilly spokesperson told Bloomberg, “We are certainly committed to innovation in this space that’s going to address all segments of the population that’s affected.”

The Defender reports: Commenting on the plans for marketing Ozempic and Mounjaro to younger children, nutritionist Carrie Lupoli told NewsNation:

“It’s scary to me that we are going down that path instead of actually working on the root cause because we know weight gain is a symptom of health and hormones. …

“This isn’t going to help us get healthier as a nation and it’s going to perseverate this ‘lose weight by any means’ mindset.”

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide, the active ingredient in Saxenda, and tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro, all belong to the class of drugs called incretin mimetics.

They are designed to mimic the body’s natural insulin-releasing hormone that people with Type 2 diabetes or obesity are either missing or have in short supply.

All three drugs function as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. The GLP-1 hormone helps regulate blood sugar levels by inducing the pancreas to release insulin, which helps the body process glucose (sugar) for energy.

The drugs attach to the same receptors as GLP-1, causing the body to release more insulin when we eat, which — unless we are insulin-resistant — lowers blood sugar levels.

Mounjaro’s tirzepatide, called a “dual co-agonist” medicine, also targets the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor, potentially providing a more robust insulin response, with greater suppression of glucagon and enhanced weight loss effects.

Dr. Ibiye Owei, assistant professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, told Healthline that semaglutide “works by making people feel full sooner … by slowing emptying the stomach so there is a feeling of satiety.”

The drugs also suppress the appetite and reduce cravings. Although the mechanisms are not fully understood, scientists point to GLP-1 receptors in various regions of the brain involved in the regulation of appetite and reward — in particular the suppression of dopamine signaling that affects the relationship between food and pleasure.

These drugs also have been shown to have other health-promoting effects, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the heart, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, and protecting pancreatic cells.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020 approved Ozempic for reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The drugs typically come in liquid form and are self-administered weekly through injections to the belly, outer thighs, upper buttocks or the backs of the arms.

Long list of adverse effects

The FDA last month updated the warning labels listing adverse events for semaglutide (used in Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus) to include the potential for developing ileus, an intestinal obstruction that can be life-threatening.

The FDA lists other adverse events for the drug, including pancreatitis, acute kidney injury, acute gallbladder disease, diabetic retinopathy complications, risk for thyroid C-cell tumors, and hypoglycemia when used alongside insulin or drugs that increase insulin secretion.

About one-third of the participants in clinical trials reported gastrointestinal (G.I.) issues, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation. Less frequent G.I. issues included dyspepsia, flatulence, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastritis and eructation (belching).

Studies in pregnant animals showed abnormal fetal development, early pregnancy losses and smaller offspring.

More than 500 reports of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts

This summer, European regulators began reviewing Ozempic and Saxenda for reportedly inducing suicidal thoughts among some users.

Depression and suicidal thoughts are listed as possible side effects for Wegovy, which carries a higher dose of semaglutide than its sister drug Ozempic, which does not list these effects.

According to NPR pharmaceuticals correspondent Sydney Lupkin, FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) has logged almost 500 reports of anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts from people taking semaglutide drugs — including Ozempic.

Five of those experiencing suicidal thoughts later died.

The FDA told NPR last month it was not following the EU’s lead in reviewing reports of suicidal ideation but was monitoring the situation, saying it continued to “conclude that the benefits of these medications outweigh their risks.”

Niamh Harris
About Niamh Harris 15111 Articles
I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.