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Efficacy and safety of liraglutide for weight management in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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Abstract

Obesity represents a risk factor for multiple coexisting conditions and complications. Liraglutide is mainly reserved for populations who fail to achieve weight loss goals with lifestyle changes alone. This study aims to systematically evaluate the safety and effectiveness of liraglutide in weight management in children and youth. A systematic search was performed of PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science from inception to February 23rd, 2023. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effects of liraglutide in children and youth were included. All data analyses were performed using Review Manager 5.3 version. Seven eligible articles were finally included, covering a population of 547 participants. Liraglutide use was associated with reduced body weight (WMD: -2.13 kg; 95%CI: -4.23, -0.03), BMI (WMD: -1.56 kg/m2; 95% CI: -2.41, -0.7), and BMI SDS (WMD: -0.17; 95% CI: -0.26, -0.08). Similar associations were found in HbA1c (WMD: -0.29%; 95% CI: -0.52, -0.06) and fasting plasma glucose (SMD: -0.39; 95% CI: -0.64, -0.14). Subgroup analysis shows an improvement in HbA1c control only among children with type 2 diabetes (WMD: -1.06%; 95% CI: -1.44, -0.67). No differences were found in fasting serum insulin, SBP, DBP, HDL, LDL, and TG between liraglutide and placebo. In addition, no difference was found in the frequencies of adverse events, serious adverse events, and adverse events resulting in discontinuation of therapy between liraglutide and placebo treatment groups.

Conclusion: Liraglutide is safe and effective in weight-reducing and glycemic control in children and adolescents.

What is Known:

• A few first-line treatment of these children and adolescents with overweight and obesity is a multi-component lifestyle intervention.

• Lifestyle modifications are not suitable for all individuals, therefore, new treatment strategies urgent need to be established.

What is New:

• This is the first meta-analysis conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of liraglutide for weight management in children and adolescents.

• Liraglutide is safe and effective in weight-reducing and glycemic control in children and adolescents.

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Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.

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HG and JJG wrote the main manuscript and fully participated in all analyses. YMZ and HG contributed to the study concept and design. JJG participated in literature search, data extraction, and quality assessment. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Junjun Guo.

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Gou, H., Zhai, Y. & Guo, J. Efficacy and safety of liraglutide for weight management in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Pediatr 182, 5095–5108 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-023-05186-8

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