Setmelanotide: a promising advancement for pediatric patients with rare forms of genetic obesity

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2023 Apr 1;30(2):136-140. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000798. Epub 2023 Feb 1.


Purpose of review: Examine Setmelanotide use in patients with rare genetic variants that disrupt the melanocortin pathway.

Recent findings: Between February 2017 and September 2018, 10 participants with pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)/ proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 1 (PCSK1) deficiency and 11 participants with leptin receptor (LEPR) deficiency were enrolled in open-label, phase 3 trials at 10 centers in the United States and internationally to assess the efficacy and safety of the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) agonist Setmelanotide. 80% of POMC participants and 45% of LEPR participants achieved at least 10% weight loss at 1 year. Significant changes in hunger scores were seen for both cohorts as well. Setmelanotide was well tolerated with injection site reactions and hyperpigmentation being the most common adverse events reported. As a result, Setmelanotide was approved by the U.S. FDA in 2020 for chronic weight management in adult and pediatric patients ≥6 years of age with POMC, LEPR, or PCSK1 deficiency. In 2022, its approval was extended to include patients with Bardet-Biedel syndrome (BBS) after phase 3 trial data showed that, on average, Setmelanotide treatment resulted in a BMI loss of 7.9% for the 44 BBS participants.

Summary: Rare genetic variants such as POMC, LEPR, and PCSK1 deficiency disrupt MC4R pathway signaling, resulting in severe early-onset obesity, hyperphagia, and increased risk for metabolic co-morbidities. Patients with BBS also demonstrate severe early-onset obesity and hyperphagia, due in part to defective MC4R signaling. Setmelanotide has shown promising benefits in improving satiety scores and weight-related outcomes in patients with these early-life genetic obesity conditions, although longer-term studies are needed.

Trial registration: NCT04963231.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Humans
  • Hyperphagia
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Pediatric Obesity*
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin* / genetics
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin* / metabolism


  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • setmelanotide

Supplementary concepts

  • Proopiomelanocortin Deficiency

Associated data