Weight Loss Medicines
There are 2 anti-obesity medicines which have been clinically proven to be safe and effective - Liraglutide and Orlistat.
They are usually only available with a prescription and if you meet a strict set of criteria. You must also show that you have already made a significant effort to lose weight through diet and change of lifestyle.
Liraglutide - weight loss injection
You may have seen some newspapers articles about so called “Skinny jabs” and maybe wondering what they are. Well, the real name for these injections is Liraglutide but you may hear it called Saxenda.
This is a weight loss medicine that works by making you feel fuller and less hungry. It's taken as an injection once a day.
It's available on the NHS but only if you meet strict criteria. You'll only be prescribed Liraglutide if all of these apply:
- you have a BMI of 35 or more, or you have a BMI of 32.5 or more and you're of south Asian, Chinese, black African or African-Caribbean origin
- you have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar)
- you're at high risk of heart problems such as heart attacks and strokes, for example because you have high blood pressure (hypertension)
You can get it privately from a pharmacy but this can be expensive.
New weekly injection treatment for obesity to be available soon
A new injection called Wegovy or Semaglutide, will soon be made available on the NHS for the treatment of obesity. This was announced in February by NICE, a government agency which advises on which medicines are safe and effective to use.
Semaglutide will be prescribed to adults with at least one weight-related condition and a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, and exceptionally, to people with a BMI of 30.0 to 34.9.
It is a weekly injection with a pre-filled pen containing the medicine.
It suppresses appetite by mimicking a hormone that is released after eating that tells us we are full.
It’s not available yet so watch this space. You can read the NICE article about semaglutide here.
Orlistat is a tablet and will usually only be recommended if you've made a significant effort to lose weight through diet, exercise or changing your lifestyle. It works by preventing your body from absorbing as much as fat. However, it can lead to unpleasant side effects like fatty stools and diarrhoea.
Orlistat is only prescribed if you have either:
- a body mass index (BMI) of 28 or more, and other weight-related conditions, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes
- a BMI of 30 or more
Need to discuss your options?
Please contact the Trust medical advisers on 01480 474074 if you would like to discuss the options available to you.