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Recent Study Highlights the Rise of GLP-1 Receptor Agonists in Youth Weight Management


A recent study published in JAMA highlights a significant trend in the United States, the increasing use of GLP-1 receptor agonists among adolescents and young adults from 2020 to 2023. This development, while focused on the US, may shed light on potential future trends in the UK, suggesting that we might expect more young people here to benefit from these medications for weight management.

What Are GLP-1 Receptor Agonists?


GLP-1 receptor agonists, including semaglutide, sold under Wegovy and Ozempic, and liraglutide sold under Saxenda and Victoza, were originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes. However, a few of them (namely Wegovy and Saxenda) have been approved by NICE for weight management in the UK. These medications help regulate blood sugar levels and, importantly for weight management, they also reduce appetite and slow gastric emptying, leading to significant weight loss.

The study led by Dr. Joyce M. Lee and colleagues found a notable increase in the dispensing of these medications to individuals aged 12 to 25. This rise reflects a broader recognition of their effectiveness not only in managing diabetes but also in promoting weight loss and improving metabolic health. As obesity rates continue to climb, these medications are becoming a key component of comprehensive weight management strategies.

Download Obesity statistics in the UK here

The study documented a dramatic increase in the dispensing of GLP-1 receptor agonists, with prescriptions rising from 8,722 in 2020 to 60,567 in 2023. Notably, young women and adolescent girls saw the biggest increase in the number of prescriptions. The study utilised data from over 93% of retail pharmacies in the US, although it could not determine the exact conditions these prescriptions were intended to treat or if the patients used the medications for weight management or diabetes control.

The study also observed a 3% decrease in the prescription of other medications for this age group during the same period. The medications examined included Ozempic (semaglutide), Trulicity (dulaglutide), and Byetta (exenatide) for type 2 diabetes, as well as Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) for weight management. In the US, these drugs can be prescribed to children as young as 10 or 12. However, tirzepatide, sold as Zepbound and Mounjaro, is currently approved only for adults.

The increased use of GLP-1 receptor agonists among young people in the US may predict similar trends in the UK, as healthcare providers and patients here become more aware of these medications’ benefits. The UK faces its own obesity challenges, with the November 2023 update from the UK government’s obesity profile highlighting that 1 in 5 children in the UK are obese by the time they leave primary school.

Addressing this crisis is critical, and GLP-1 receptor agonists could become an essential part of the solution. At SemaPen, we are prepared to meet this potential demand by offering a variety of GLP-1 receptor agonists through our convenient online platform. These medications, combined with our resources and guidance on nutrition and physical activity, can provide a powerful programme for effective and sustainable weight management in the UK.


Integrating GLP-1 Agonists into SemaPen Weight Loss Programmes

At SemaPen, we are leveraging these findings to enhance our weight-loss programmes. Here’s how we’re making a difference:

Enhanced Treatment Options: By including GLP-1 receptor agonists in our weight loss programmes, we provide a robust option that complements lifestyle changes, resulting in better weight management outcomes.

Convenience and Flexibility: Our online web app is designed for your convenience.  If you are eligible for prescription, , you can browse and purchase the medications you need based on your schedule and preferences.

Holistic Support: While our primary focus is on providing effective weight loss medications, we also offer resources and guidance on nutrition and physical activity to help you achieve sustainable weight loss.

While the benefits of GLP-1 receptor agonists are promising, it’s important to manage potential side effects, such as delayed gastric emptying. Our clinical professionals closely monitor each client via chat to mitigate these risks and ensure safe, effective treatment. The rising use of GLP-1 receptor agonists among young people in the US suggests a significant advancement in weight management that could soon be mirrored in the UK.


At SemaPen, we’re ready to offer effective weight loss solutions to our clients. By staying at the forefront of medical advancements, we continue to provide the highest standard of care in weight management.