- NHS has approved Wegovy, a weight loss injection also known as semaglutide
- Health officials warn this is not a “quick fix”
- Wegovy mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and suppresses appetite
The NHS is set to offer Wegovy, a weight loss injection also known as semaglutide, to thousands of people living with obesity in England.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) determined that semaglutide, sold under the brand name Wegovy, is safe, effective, and cheap.
The medicine is administered by an injection into the skin and mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) which suppresses appetite and causes people to eat less.
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Despite being used by celebrities such as Elon Musk who confirmed he used “Wegovy and fasting“, health officials warn that the drug is not a “quick fix”.
People with a BMI of 30 or above may be eligible to obtain the medicine.
Individuals will be provided Wegovy on prescription as part of a specialised weight management service and for a maximum of two years.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which authorised the drug, advised that it should be taken in conjunction with a low-calorie diet and increased physical exercise.
NICE’s Helen Knight stated: “It won’t be available to everyone. Our committee has made specific recommendations to ensure it remains value for money for the taxpayer, and it can only be used for a maximum of two years.”
A statement from Novo Nordisk read: “Novo Nordisk welcomes the final Nice recommendation for Wegovy (once-weekly semaglutide 2.4mg), as an option for weight management within the NHS.”
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Analysis: are weight loss drugs right for everyone?
Weight loss medications can support weight loss, but they can also have negative side effects and hazards. Weight reduction medicines may not be beneficial for everyone and should not be used in place of a good diet and exercise. In fact, some medics have raised concerns that Wegovy can trigger acclerated aging.
However, the mantra of a “good diet and exercise” is perhaps the reason obesity is climbing – 26% of adults in England are obese and a further 38% are overweight according NHS Digital.
Certain dietary approaches, such as low carbohydrate and Mediterranean diet are demonstrated to support sustainable weight loss and so before beginning any weight reduction medication, it is critical to talk with a healthcare professional to fully understand the options that are right for you.