New Drugs, Strong Arguments, Continued Again

In regard to the suitability of the new wave of weight-loss drugs for teens, one cogent point is that their bodies are still morphing into a mature form, and permanent damage might occur that is even more destructive than carrying extra weight. In addition, it will take a long time and a considerable number of studies to determine whether serious physical damage happens.

How much can semaglutide or tirzepatide contribute to rewiring the brain in a direction that is not healthy? Because once that happens, undoing the damage takes real work. And as always when dealing with adolescents, the specter of eating disorders lurks just offstage. Compared to adults, kids have less freedom of choice in changing their lifestyles. They are subject to oppressive forces, like peer pressure and relentless advertising, to chow down on junk food and chug sugar-sweetened beverages.

They may also be under the parental thumb to an unhealthy extent, and sadly, not all parents make the best decisions on their children’s behalf. And adolescents are already prone to making decisions based on emotion rather than reason, so with a daily or weekly dose of something that might affect their brains, unexpected consequences could ensue.

What could go wrong?

In May, naturopathic physician Christina Kovalik published “Understanding the Hype about Peptide Therapy for Weight Loss.” About GLP-1 peptides like tirsepatide and semaglutide she wrote,

Peptides are smaller versions of proteins, about 50 amino acids or less in size, that signal the body to perform various functions related to gut health, cognition, injury healing, metabolism, inflammation reduction, muscle building and cell recovery.

The injections delay digestion, slow intestinal motility, reduce the production of sugar in the liver, and stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin. The annoying side effects can include diarrhea, constipation, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, acid reflux, and fatigue. The more serious, call-your-doctor side effects include allergic reactions, vision changes, dehydration, gallbladder problems, heart palpitations, pancreatitis, kidney damage, and even thyroid cancer. Dr. Kovalik wrote,

It takes time and requires patience. It is a tool that allows you to jump start your metabolism while making lifelong, sustainable changes to the way you eat and the way you move your body. If you choose to go back to your old habits after finishing the program, expect the weight to come back.

Everything Dr. Kovalik says is based on the premise that patients will use these substances for a while, then quit. According to other sources, it looks like there will be no “finishing the program,” because patients who quit will gain the weight right back.

All the voices

But these drugs might be bad for them. But obesity, serious medical problems, and early death are also bad for them. But these drugs have to be injected, and we don’t want our kids learning to use needles. But if they get diabetes, they will be sticking themselves with needles anyway. But the pharmaceutical companies are one step ahead, trying hard (and reportedly with some success) to develop an oral alternative.

But what could happen if we let them have these drugs? (Which is probably a foregone conclusion anyway.) But if we don’t, what horrors of illness and mortality will befall us?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Understanding the Hype about Peptide Therapy for Weight Loss,”, 05/31/23
Image by Franklin Park Library/CC BY 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources