Don’t take miracle fat jabs unless you are actually fat, doctors urge amid celeb-driven craze for Ozempic – as they warn injections will need to be taken for LIFE
- People have been using the anti-obesity jabs as an aesthetic weight-loss method
- READ MORE: Ozempic side effects left women vomiting years after stopping
Slim Brits were today urged not to jump onto a celeb-inspired craze to use weight loss jabs in order to stay svelte.
Experts warned unnecessary demand threatens to interrupt semaglutide supply for type 2 diabetics, who genuinely need the drugs.
Such fears have already seen doctors and pharmacists told to stop giving Ozempic — the only brand of semaglutide available in the UK currently, approved for treating diabetes — to people of a healthy weight.
Tougher prescription guidelines are needed to tackle ‘inappropriate’ usage, obesity scientists declared in a media briefing.
Semaglutide uses a synthetic hormone to trick the brain into feeling full and helping people slim. Doctors branded it a massive breakthrough in the war on obesity, which costs the NHS billions every year.
Another brand of semaglutide, Wegovy, is approved strictly for weight loss but is yet to launch in the UK due to supply issues, piling extra demand on Ozempic supplies.
Ozempic is available on the NHS as a treatment for managing blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. In May, it was also approved for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy but is yet to launch in the UK due to supply issues
Ozempic and Wegovy were nicknamed Hollywood’s worst kept secret when they burst onto the scene, with stars such as Elon Musk and Jeremy Clarkson using the drugs to slim.
Semaglutide was originally developed to help diabetics control their weight.
But studies have since shown they can also help people lose up to 25 per cent of their body weight.
Demand for semaglutide, known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, is estimated to be 10-times the current supply.
Compounding the problem is people who aren’t medically obese taking Ozempic off-label for aesthetic reasons, and slim down like their favourite celebs.
READ MORE: Ozempic side effects left women vomiting years after stopping weight loss drug: ‘I wish I never touched it’
Emily Wright, 38, a teacher in Toronto, had to quit her job after gastroparesis left her vomiting several times a day
Professor Naveed Sattar, an expert in metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, said some diabetic patients in the UK were already facing supply issues as a result.
‘They vastly underestimated the demand for these drugs,’ he said.
Professor Barbara McGowan, an expert in endocrinology and diabetes at King’s College London and consultant Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital, condemned the ‘inappropriate use of these drugs.’
She said it was simple for people to get them online, even without meeting the BMI guidelines for their use.
‘It should definitely not be for cosmetic reasons, there’s no doubt about that, it should be for health reasons,’ she said.
‘There needs to be better control in terms of the prescribing of these medications to be prioritised for the people that need it most.’
She added that not only does such behaviour keep the drugs out of the hands of patients, it was also risky.
Professor McGowan explained the drugs can lead to dramatic weight-loss that needs to be medically managed to ensure it doesn’t do the person any harm.
Currently Ozempic is available on the NHS as a treatment for managing blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
But in May a formulation of the drug designed specifically for weight loss, Wegovy, was approved.
At the same media briefing, experts warned fat people who want to take the new generation of weight-loss jabs should be prepared to stay on them for life.
Although effective, studies show that people who stop the jabs can regain much of the weight they lose.
Earlier this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommended Wegovy for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35 and one weight-related health condition – such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Nice said the jabs should not be taken for more than two years.
Wegovy and Ozempic work by triggering the body to produce a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 that is released naturally from the intestines after meals
A UK study found that people who used Wegovy experienced rapid weight loss, dropping 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 dropping the weekly injections. Experts says the drug needs to be used over a lifetime to keep off the pounds
However, obesity experts argue this guidance is largely based on the cost of the drugs and that users should be prepared to take them longer-term.
Professor Carel Le Roux, an expert in metabolic medicine at Ulster University, said: ‘These are treatments for the disease of obesity.
‘And what happens is, when you treat people effectively, the disease comes under control, and the minute you stop the drug, the disease relapses.’
He suggested the medical profession was comfortable prescribing for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or high blood pressure, and the same should be the case of managing obesity.
He said: ‘The minute we stop the drug, the disease (obesity) relapses, so one of the most important questions we ask our patients now is, “are you prepared to take this treatment for the rest of your life?”.
‘Because if you’re not able to do that, you should stop because then we are probably at risk of doing more harm than we are doing good.
‘So, it’s important to reframe this as a disease that we are treating and that these are disease-modifying drugs, not weight loss drugs.’
Despite being hailed as one of the most powerful pharmaceutical tools to date, experts have warned it is not a ‘magic pill’ or miracle fix all. Trials have shown that users can rapidly pile pounds back on once they stop taking the fat-fighting drug and it can trigger a variety of nasty side effects. Users commonly complain of nausea, constipation and diarrhoea after taking the medication
Professor John Wilding, an expert who leads clinical research into obesity, diabetes and endocrinology at the University of Liverpool, said: ‘We do have to think about these medicines as long-term medications despite the fact that, for Nice at the moment, it’s only two years of treatment.
‘We do know that obesity is a chronic disease, and we would never think of just giving somebody a diabetes drug or blood pressure drug for two years and then stopping it because, of course, at that point the disease will recur.
‘We know that happens with obesity. So, I do think we have to think about this as long-term treatment and that’s something that is yet to be addressed from a policy perspective.’
Research results published last year in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism on people who stopped semaglutide showed they regained two-thirds of their lost weight over the course of the next year.
There have also been reports of people suffering significant side effects from the drug, sometimes for years after they stopped taking it.
NHS figures show that 64 per cent of British adults are overweight, with more predicted to grow fatter in the future.
In a bid to tackle obesity and cut waiting lists, the NHS is launching a two-year pilot scheme to explore ways to make obesity medication available outside hospital.
It will see semaglutide injections given to tens of thousands.
Ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week revealed he took the ‘wonder drug’.
Writing in his first column for the Daily Mail, Johnson told how he hoped it would stop his late-night ‘fridge raids for cheddar and chorizo’.
However, he admitted it ‘didn’t work for me’.
How the weight loss medications compare
Average weight lost: 15.6kg over 72 weeks
Price: It is estimated it could cost around £900 in the UK (or about $1,000 in the US) per month
Manufacturer: Eli Lilly and Co
How it is taken: Jab
Side effects: Nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting
Average weight lost: 14.1kg over 10 months
Price: £9.65 per NHS prescription. In the US has a list price of $1,349.02. However, most people don’t pay list price if they have health insurance.
Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
How it is taken: Jab
Side effects: Nausea, constipation, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, dizziness
Average weight lost: 10.3kg over 52 weeks
Price: £9.65 per NHS prescription. In the US it can cost around $700 for 90 capsules – a month’s supply
How is it taken: Tablet
Side effects: Fatty or oily stools, stomach pain, frequent bowel movements, headaches, flu-like symptoms, bloating, fatigue
Average weight lost: 15.3kg over 68 weeks
Price: Private clinics in the UK can give clients Ozempic off-label for just under £200 per month currently. But it is also estimated it could cost up to around £1,000 per month (about $1,500 in the US)
Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
How is it taken: Jab
Side effects: Stomach pain, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue, acid reflux
Source: Read Full Article