Tens of thousands of people will be helped to lose weight with a ‘pioneering’ drug in Britain’s fight against the bulge.
Watchdog NICE has given the green light to the weekly jab in what experts have hailed as a ‘critical moment’ in the fight against obesity.
Semaglutide – sold under the brand name Wegovy – works by hijacking the brain to suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake, resulting in significant weight loss.
Trials showed that those who took it lost about 12 percent of their body weight — and cut their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half.
The drug, which costs £73 a month, has now been green-lit for use on the NHS.
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson (left) revealed that he used Ozempic to lose weight. When asked in October whether following a healthier diet or going to the gym was the cause of his 30-pound (13.6 kg) weight loss, Elon Musk (right) cited “fasting” and “Wegovy”
Rumor has it that Kim Kardashian used Wegovy to lose weight quickly to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s famous ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ dress at the 2022 Met Gala (pictured)
Are YOU eligible for the once-a-week shot?
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Wegovy will be available to people with a BMI of 35, making them morbidly obese.
Patients must also have at least one weight-related comorbidity, such as type 2 diabetes, to be eligible.
Adults with a BMI between 30 and 35 may also be recommended the drug if they have been referred for specialist help.
HOW YOUR BMI WORKS
BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))
Under 18.5: Underweight
18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
25 – 29.9: Overweight
30 – 34.9: Obese
35 or higher: Morbid obesity
It means patients can be referred for the DIY jabs rather than a gastric band or other slimming surgery, reducing the burden on hospitals and saving the NHS millions.
Experts today welcomed the recommendation for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above as part of a weight-loss program of diet and exercise.
Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said this is “the weight-loss drug we’ve been waiting for” and urged health leaders to ration supplies to those who need it most.
He said, ‘It’s a game changer and so successful that Hollywood A-listers are now using it to slim down and show off their figure.
“The real danger is that there won’t be enough to go around any time soon.
“You shouldn’t use it just to lose a few pounds, because that could jeopardize the health of those who really need it, those with type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity.”
Made by Novo Nordisk, it is hoped that the jabs – which will initially help around 35,000 people a year – will be available to patients within weeks as part of NHS specialist weight management services.
The drugs work by suppressing appetite by mimicking the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is released after eating, making people feel like they are eating less and losing weight.
Adults with a BMI classified as obese and at least one weight-related disease such as pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure could be eligible.
The injections are self-administered once a week by patients using pre-filled pens for a minimum of 16 weeks.
Patients can be put on the drug for up to two years initially, although regulators say there is scope to increase this if field data shows it remains an effective weight-loss aid.
Wegovy and Ozempic work by prompting the body to produce a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 that is naturally released from the gut after meals
Semaglutide, marketed as Wegovy for overweight or obese people, will be available in pharmacies from spring
A British study found that people taking Wegovy lost weight quickly, losing 18% of their weight over 68 weeks. They regained two-thirds of that weight, or 12% of their original body weight in the year after they dropped the weekly injections. Experts say the drug should be used for a lifetime to keep the pounds off
Around 19 million people in England are obese, costing the NHS more than £6 billion a year.
Trials showed that patients given the weekly shot lost a tenth of their body weight in just 20 weeks — 25 times more than those given a placebo — while consuming about 35 percent fewer calories.
Overweight and obese participants who received regular doses also saw their chance of developing type 2 diabetes drop by up to 61 percent.
Obesity expert Alex Miras, a professor of endocrinology at the University of Ulster, said it will make a huge difference for obese people.
“This decision by NICE is a critical moment for the treatment of obese people,” he said, adding: “The weight loss that can be achieved with this safe medication is significant and will likely lead to the improvement of obesity-related complications.” in a large number of patients.’
The drug is already prescribed in much lower doses to treat patients with type 2 diabetes, under the brand name Ozempic.
It has led celebrities Elon Musk and Jeremy Clarkson to publicly praise it for helping to move the pounds.
Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian was rumored to have used it to quickly lose 7.3kg to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s iconic ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ dress at the 2022 Met Gala.
However, it is not without side effects: users often complain of nausea, constipation and diarrhea after taking the medication.
It is also known to make food less appealing, potentially ruining the enjoyment of eating altogether.
Helen Knight, director of drug evaluation at NICE, said: ‘For some people, losing weight is a real challenge and so a drug like semaglutide is a welcome option.’
Dietitian Dr Duane Mellor, from Aston Medical School, Aston University, said: ‘It is important to remember that semaglutide works alongside and supports healthy lifestyle changes and when people are offered semaglutide they also receive ongoing support to make changes and to keep these. dietary and lifestyle changes.
‘As all individuals initially offered semaglutide through the NHS will be supported by specialist weight management services, including support from a specialist dietitian.’
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Basic meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat muesli biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and a large baked potato with skin
• Provide dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day
• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide