Meet the Teens Who Lost Weight on Ozempic-Like Drugs Who Are Slimming Down to Stay Alive

Deana Buckley wanted her daughter Demi to have a fair shot to happiness

Tipping the scales at nearly 200 pounds at age 15, the Michigan girl was bullied.

And despite being a high school athlete who sweated it out on the basketball, cheer and volleyball teams, she couldn’t keep the weight off.

I would look in the mirror and cry, Demi, now 16, told The Post. “I truly hated my body.”

Unable to lose weight, Demi became depressed and resorted to harmful tactics to cope with her declining mental health. Dean Buckley

But in March 2023, Demi found a supportive solace in a syringe like other teenagers facing similar weight loss problems.

That January, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of semaglutide, a once-weekly diabetes medication classified as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, for obese youth ages 12 and older.

Semaglutide is an active ingredient in both Wegovy and Ozempic. The latter, however, has not yet been approved by the FDA for weight loss in people under the age of 18. Ozempic, like the equally popular weight loss drug Mounjaro, is a type 2 diabetes drug that has also helped users lose weight. Wegovy is only approved for the management of weight loss.

Deanna, who once weighed 366 pounds and has now dropped 150 pounds with Mounjaro’s help, felt confident that similar traits would do wonders for her struggling offspring.

Deana urged Demi’s health care provider to give her a prescription for Wegovy to help the teenager shed unwanted pounds. Dean Buckley

Things got worse when Demi fell into depression and developed an eating disorder. Then came the self-harm.

That’s where the buck stopped for worried Deana.

We asked the doctor to put Demi on Wegovy, said the 50-year-old mother of two. “The doctor was a little hesitant at first, but I told him that if this drug had been available to me when I was a teenager, my whole world would have been different.”

Deana and Demi hope the teenager’s journey will help remove the stigma surrounding obesity, as well as weight loss vaccines for minors. Dean Buckley

Pediatric surgeon Jun Tashiro tells The Post that more parents of overweight children may want to consider following suit when it comes to the transformative jabs.

“Anti-obesity drugs can help reduce weight, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as lower the risk of heart and kidney disease for patients,” said Tashiro, an expert in the Program of Healthy Weight for Teens at NYU Langone.

He admitted that the injections have some side effects, including nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. But Tashiro says patients with a family history of thyroid cancer and pancreatitis are at higher risk of developing more serious complications from the injections.

In addition to diet and exercise, there are many options that parents and teens can explore when it comes to losing weight,” he said, “including these medications.

Demi is now down 60 pounds thanks to the help of the injections. Dean Buckley

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees.

In a January 2023 report, it recommended anti-obesity pharmacotherapy to improve weight loss outcomes in children aged 12 to 17 years. A few months later, in May, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that 45 percent of clinically obese teenagers lost weight while taking semaglutide.

Oprah Winfrey highlighted 16-year-old Maggie Ervie, who lost 80 pounds on Victoza, a weight-loss injection for children, during her obesity special in mid-March.

Buffalo, New York, mom Kailey Wood says her 12-year-old daughter, Natalie, has had similar success — since starting a Wegovy regimen in October, she’s lost 50 pounds.

Before taking the prescription drugs, the seventh-grader had gained 30 pounds every year since age 5 due to a metabolic disorder. Natalies weight spurred diagnoses of polycystic ovary syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and pre-diabetes.

He said, I’m fat. I don’t like the way I look, Kailey, 37, told The Post. I told him there was a solution.

The body-positive mom assured her tween that she was perfect just the way she is, but explained that medication could help if she was ready for a change.

She was like, hell yeah, let’s do it, Kailey said.

And although Natalie struggles with bouts of constipation due to the doses, her overall health has stabilized.

Diego attributes his weight loss to medication as well as overhauling his lifestyle. Julissa Alcantar Martínez

Julissa Martnez, 49, a mother of two from Houston, says her son, Diego, was just as excited to start taking weight-loss injections at 16.

Despite having to deal with some diarrhea and sulfur burps from the hydrogen sulfide gas in his gut, he’s down 86 pounds. Inspired by the loss, her older sister Julissa, 21, has also lost 73 in shots.

Maritinez’s daughter, Julissa, told The Post she’s grateful her mother championed her younger brother’s weight loss, opening the door to her own journey. Julissa Alcantar Martínez

But Diego, now 18, says the drugs are only partially responsible for his transformation.

It’s not the GLP-1 that caused the weight loss, he told The Post. I was taking 10,000 steps every day, eating less and healthier.

It’s more than just taking a shot, Diego added. You have to change your behavior and mindset.

Demi, now 60 pounds lighter, says shedding those self-loathing thoughts has been the biggest weight off her shoulders.

I am happier with my body and my mind, said the teenager. I look in the mirror and feel confident.”

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