‘Revolutionary’ slimming drug to be made available on NHS | Obesity

Thousands of obese people in England will be able to get a new slimming drug on the NHS after a watchdog approved its use.

Patients receiving the weekly injections saw their weight drop by an average of 12% after one year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

He released draft guidelines recommending semaglutide, also known as Wegovy, for adults with at least one weight-related condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea or heart disease, and a body mass index. (BMI) of at least 35.

In exceptional cases, some people with a BMI of 30 or more may also have access to the drug, which is self-administered using an injection pen.

More than one in four people in England suffer from obesity, which means having a BMI of 30 or more. Obesity can be physically debilitating and lead to serious and life-threatening conditions. It costs the NHS and the wider economy billions of pounds a year.

The new drug suppresses appetite by mimicking the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which is released after eating. Patients inject semaglutide, which makes them feel full, which means they eat less and lose weight.

“We know that managing overweight and obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing our health service, with nearly two-thirds of adults overweight or obese,” said program director Helen Knight. at the Health Technology Assessment Center in Nice. .

“It is a lifelong condition that requires medical intervention, has psychological and physical effects and can affect quality of life.

The Nice document indicates that access to current drug treatments for obesity is limited to a specific population that has prediabetes and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The other drug treatment options available are ‘poorly tolerated’ and ‘rarely used’.

He adds: “The committee concluded that there is a significant unmet need for many people with obesity, and that semaglutide would be a welcome new treatment option.”

Nice said people of South Asian, Chinese and Black African or Caribbean descent could access the drug at a lower BMI after seeking medical advice.

Patients will only receive semaglutide by prescription as part of a specialist weight management service involving multiple professionals and for a maximum of two years. Evidence from clinical trials shows that people lose more weight with semaglutide plus supervised weight loss coaching than with support alone.

Experts have previously described the drug as ‘a game-changer’ and suggested that for the first time people could achieve through drugs what was previously only possible through weight loss surgery.

In 2020 Boris Johnson launched the government’s obesity strategy, which included banning TV and online adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt before 9 p.m. and ending offers such as buying a one-in-one-free deal on unhealthy foods. foods high in salt, sugar and fat.

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