NHS in Britain to introduce weight loss injection to fight obesity

NHS in Britain to introduce weight loss injection to fight obesity

Feb 9, 2022: Obese people in Britain will soon be able to get a “game-changing” new fat-eliminating injection on the NHS.

A watchdog has decided that a drug called Wegovy may be prescribed as a weekly jab to suppress appetite. Experiments have shown that it was as effective as a gastric band, with an average weight of about 2.5 stone. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said trial participants saw an average weight loss of 12% after 68 weeks. NICE has released draft guidelines for recommending jab, also known as semaglutide, for adults with at least a weight-related condition and a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35.

Conditions include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, obstructive sleep apnoea and heart disease. The injection, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, will be offered by NHS alongside changes in dietary and exercise habits.

Helen Knight, programme director at NICE, said: “We know that management of overweight and obesity is one of the biggest challenges our health service is facing, with nearly two-thirds of adults either overweight or obese. It is a lifelong condition that needs medical intervention, has psychological and physical effects, and can affect quality of life.”

This drug works by hijacking the body’s appetite control system in the brain, which reduces appetite and calories. This hormone mimics the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that is released after a meal, making patients feel fuller.

Last year’s research found that people who followed this pattern weighed five times less than the placebo group. The UK has one of the worst rates of obesity in the Western world. The 2019 Health Survey of England estimates that 28% of adults in England were obese and another 36% were overweight.

The drug will only be given on prescription as part of a specialist weight management service by the NHS, involving input from several professionals, and for a maximum of two years.

Prof Rachel Batterham, of University College London, who was involved in researching the drug, told the Telegraph: “No other drug has come close to producing this level of weight loss – this really is a game changer. For the first time, people can achieve through drugs what was only possible through weight-loss surgery.”

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