Published by BBC NEWS - 8th February 2022

Overweight man

Image source, Getty Images

Adults struggling with their weight could soon be offered a weekly injection to help shed unhealthy fat.

The treatment, semaglutide, branded Wegovy, makes people feel fuller, so they eat less, and not as hungry.

In trials, used alongside a healthy diet and exercise, it helped obese people lose a 10th of their body weight – about two stone (13kg) on average.

And the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is recommending it should be made available on the NHS.

NICE’s draft guidelines for England and Wales, not yet fully approved, say it should be prescribed:

  • by a specialist
  • to obese adults at least one weight-related health condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease
  • for a maximum of two years

People would inject themselves, using pre-filled pens.

Obese people should speak to their GP about losing weight safely.

Some manage it through diet and exercise alone.

  • orlistat – a pill that stops the body absorbing some of the fat in food
  • liraglutide, branded Saxenda – a daily injection that makes people feel fuller and less hungry
  • a gastric band – placed around the stomach to make people feel fuller
  • a gastric bypass or bariatric surgery – to remove or alter the plumbing of some of the digestive tract

Obesity affects about one in four adults in the UK and increases the risk of other serious health conditions.

In 2018-19, 11,117 hospital admissions in England were directly attributable to obesity.

Helen Knight, from NICE, said: “We know that management of overweight and obesity is one of the biggest challenges our health service is facing.

“It is a lifelong condition that needs medical intervention, has psychological and physical effects, and can affect quality of life.”

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