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‘Hollywood’ weight loss drug approved for use

Posted on the 9th March 2023


Revolutionary weight loss injections favored by celebrities in the US will soon be available through high-street chemists in England.

While initially used for people with type 2 diabetes, the drugs, known as GLP-1 analogues, have shown promising results in treating obesity by mimicking hormones that help people feel full after consuming food.

Trials of the drugs have shown that, when combined with supervised weight-loss coaching, they help people lose significant amounts of weight.

Two such drugs, liraglutide and semaglutide, have recently been approved by England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Marked as Wegovy, semaglutide has risen to prominence following reports that celebrities such as Elon Musk have used it to shed pounds.

Based on evidence from clinical trials, NICE says semaglutide could help people reduce their weight by over 10 per cent if implemented alongside nutrition and lifestyle changes.

It will be recommended for use by people with at least one weight-related health condition, as well as those who have a body mass index (BMI) that puts them near the top of the obese range.

BMI is calculated by dividing an adult's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.

Those who are lower on the obese BMI range - a BMI between 30 and 34.9kg/m2 - could also be offered the drug if they have a weight-related health condition. NICE lists these as someone who is pre-diabetic, has type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or obstructive sleep apnoea.

The once-weekly injections of Wegovy will have to be prescribed by a specialist, and an individual will only be able to take the drug for a maximum of two years.

Semaglutide is also found in the diabetes medicine Ozempic, but, unlike Ozempic - which is intended for those with type 2 diabetes - Wegovy is recommended specifically for weight loss.

Meanwhile, experts have warned that slimming jabs like Wegovy do not tackle the root cause of obesity. It is also thought the jabs only work for as long as the drug is being taken, leading to concerns that any weight lost could be regained.

Related: Half of world on track to be overweight by 2035

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