Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Diabetes Drug Helps Obese Adolescents Lose Weight

Published: Feb 05, 2013

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY)’s diabetes drug exenatide helped severely obese teenagers lose weight, according to a study that suggests a new use for some medicines used to control blood sugar. Exenatide, also known under the brand names Bydureon and Byetta, enabled the teens to lose an average of 2.7 percent of their body mass index over three months, according to the results published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. The study had 26 severely obese participants ages 12 to 19. About 15 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese, and about 5 percent are severely obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Though statistically significant, the weight loss achieved in the study was modest, said study author Aaron Kelly. Exenatide might be used in combination with other weight loss medications to achieve stronger results, he said. “What it ultimately is going to take is combination medical therapy,” Kelly, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said in an interview. “The BMI reduction is not impressive, but it’s a step in the right direction.” BMI, is a measure of weight and height, with a 5-foot, 4- inch (160-centimer) woman weighing 175 pounds (80 kilograms) having a BMI of 30. BMI of 30 or more is considered obese, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health, based in Bethesda, Maryland. A BMI of 40 and more is considered extremely obese. For a 5-foot- 6-inch tall adolescent, that would include those weighing 220 pounds or more, according to the Atlanta-based CDC. $910 Million: Bristol-Myers acquired exenatide when it bought Amylin Pharmaceuticals for $6.49 billion last August. The drug is expected to generate $910 million in sales this year, according to the average of three analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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