Thousands of obese people might be eligible to get a weight loss drug via the NHS after a watchdog issued approval.
Around 12.4million adults in the UK are obese, with around 1.3million are thought to be morbidly obese.
The obesity epidemic reportedly costs the NHS £6.1billion and wider society £27 billion every year, according to Government estimates.
Well, the trials with weekly injections have so far appeared to deliver positive results with The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) saying that people saw their weight drop by 12 percent, on average, after 68 weeks.
ITV report that Nice's has been using semaglutide/Wegovy (made by Novo Nordisk) for adults with at least one weight-related condition and a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35.
The drug is given via a pen injector and it is believed that, in some cases, those with a BMI of 30 may be eligible.
Patients inject themselves with semaglutide, which can suppress your appetite by mimicking the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that's released after eating.
Long story short, it makes people eat less and loose weight by feeling more full.
Helen Knight, programme director in the centre for health technology evaluation at Nice, said: "We know that management of overweight and obesity is one of the biggest challenges our health service is facing, with nearly two-thirds of adults either overweight or obese.
"It is a lifelong condition that needs medical intervention, has psychological and physical effects, and can affect quality of life."
Professor Rachel Batterham, an obesity expert at University College London who co-authored the study, said that last year was a 'major breakthrough for improving the health of people with obesity'.
She said: "No other drug has come close to producing this level of weight loss – this really is a gamechanger.
"For the first time, people can achieve through drugs what was only possible through weight-loss surgery."
It is unconfirmed what price NHS England is paying for the drug, however, it will be given as a 2.4mg dose for obese people — double that given to diabetics, reports Daily Mail.
A consultation on the recommendations made by Nice is now open until March 1.
NHS England won't be able to make rollout plans until Nice's final guidance is released.
GPs are also set to pilot healthy food prescriptions under the Government's 'levelling up' plans.
The ‘Community Eat Well programme’ is aiming to ‘prescribe exercise and healthy food’.
The plan is to reduce health inequalities between the UK’s richest and poorest communities they want the healthy life expectancy (HLE) to rise five years by 2035.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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