NICE have recommended a new drug which could benefit thousands suffering with obesity and help them to lose weight.
The drug known as semaglutide, can be used in adults with at least one weight related condition and a BMI of at least 35kg/m2 and in exceptional circumstance those with a BMI of 30.0kg/m2 to 24.9kg/m2
Semaglutide can only be prescribed for a maximum of two year and must be used as part of a weight management programme such as a tier 3 weight management programme or tier 4 speciality obesity services.
The results of the initial clinical trial found that participants taking semaglutide lost on average 12 percent more of their body weight compared to those taking the placebo.
The drug should be injected once a week using a pre-filled pen, similar to that used to in administering insulin in diabetes patients.
The injection works by supressing appetite and mimicking glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP1), a hormone released after eating.
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.
“But in recent years NICE has been able to recommend a new line of pharmaceutical treatments which have shown that those people using them, alongside changes to their diet and exercise, have been able to reduce their weight.”
The list price for a pack of four semaglutide pre-filled pens (0,24mg, 0.5mg and 1.0mg) is £73.25 (excluding VAT).and could drastically reduce costs for weight-related issues on the NHS.
Currently it costs the NHS an estimated £6.1 billion for treatments related to obesity in the UK, with an estimated 28 percent of adults in England being obsese and a further 36 percent being overweight.
A consultation has begun to make comments on the recommendations, which can be made here before 5pm on Tuesday 1st March 2022.