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Wednesday
May252011

Should Lap Band Be Approved for Teens?

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More teenagers may now have the opportunity to turn their weight around through Lap-Band procedures -- possibly even with FDA approval. Currently, minors must have parent permission, but the Lap-Band creator, Allergan, has requested that the FDA approve Lap-Band procedures for anyone more than 14 years old. The procedure uses a temporary elastic band to consrict the patient's stomach so that it can only hold a small amount of food.

Cathy Taylor, a spokesperson for Allergan, said the company made the request because of the increase in obese teenagers, and the disease's correlation to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

"In addition, the prevalence of obesity continues to rise, making it a significant health epidemic," said Taylor. "Due to all of the above, Allergan continues to be committed to the research and development of the Lap-Band System to help those affected by obesity, to improve their health and lives."

Because the Lap-Band System is not currently FDA-approved for use in patients younger than 18, Taylor said, "Allergan does not promote the use of the product with adolescents. Therefore, we cannot elaborate on the potential benefit of Lap-Band in this patient population."

But that does not mean the company is not trying to prove that it is beneficial to adolescents. Amanda Sena, a spokesperson for the FDA, confirmed that Allergan is currently conducting clinical trials in the United States to determine the effectiveness of the Lap-Band in the morbidly obese teen population.

Sena said she could not comment on when the FDA would come to a decision for Lap-Band use in teens.

The Lap-Band procedure in teens remains a controversial issue. While some obesity experts agree that the surgery should be available for teens, others believe the procedure should be a last resort, if not forbidden altogether, in this age group.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio