Anti-Obesity Medication Use in Children and Adolescents with Prader-Willi Syndrome: Case Review and Literature Search

J Clin Med. 2021 Sep 30;10(19):4540. doi: 10.3390/jcm10194540.


(1) Background: children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) have high obesity rates due to hyperphagia and decreased metabolic rates. Although anti-obesity medications (AOMs) are prescribed to this population, there are no consensus guidelines on acceptability, safety, and efficacy. We present literature review and case series on AOMs in youth with PWS. (2) Methods: we performed PubMed review from January 2000 to April 2021 utilizing keywords: "Prader-Willi syndrome" or "PWS" and "medication" including: topiramate, metformin, phentermine, liraglutide, orlistat, oxytocin, semaglutide, naltrexone-bupropion. For our case series, patients were identified through retrospective chart reviews from a multi-disciplinary PWS clinic. Eligibility criteria: age ≤ 18 years, genetically confirmed PWS, AOM use for at least 16 weeks, and recent anthropometric data. (3) Results: a literature search yielded 14 articles (3 topiramate, 1 metformin, 4 liraglutide, 5 oxytocin, 1 naltrexone-bupropion). All studies reported improved hyperphagia with variable BMI effects. Ten adolescents met case series eligibility (mean age 13.2 ± 2.6 years, 40% female; AOMs: 6 metformin, 5 topiramate, 2 semaglutide, 3 liraglutide). After AOM course, 60% had decreased or stable BMI z-score. No significant side effects. (4) Conclusions: results suggest AOMs may be useful for weight management in youth with PWS. Additional studies are required to validate findings and support AOM treatment guidelines.

Keywords: Prader-Willi syndrome; anti-obesity medication; liraglutide; metformin; naltrexone-bupropion; oxytocin; semaglutide; topiramate.