Published on 12 September 2023

People more at risk of developing additional health complications from being overweight to receive weight loss support.

Semaglutide (Wegovy) became available on 4th September and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for managing overweight and obesity in some patients on the NHS.

A new treatment was launched in the UK this week as option for weight management in line with NICE guidance, alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

The treatment could help people with pre-diabetes and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Patients are eligible for treatment within a specialist weight management service if they have at least one weight-related health complication, such as hypertension or cardiovascular disease, and either a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, or of 30 to 34.9, provided they meet the criteria for referral to specialist weight management services, including that conventional treatment has been unsuccessful.

Studies found that when used alongside diet, physical activity, and behavioural support, semaglutide (Wegovy) users could achieve up to a 15% reduction in body weight after one year.

Ozempic is another brand name for semaglutide, which can be used for treating type 2 diabetes. Current guidance is clear that Ozempic should only be prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes to protect supply for diabetes patients. It should not be prescribed solely for weight loss.

There are currently supply issues with semaglutide (Ozempic) for type 2 diabetes in the UK. This has partly been caused by off-label prescribing and the use of Ozempic for weight loss. This has created shortages for type 2 diabetes patients. To ensure enough supply of Ozempic for type 2 diabetes treatment, it should only be prescribed and used for its licensed indication.

The government continues to monitor the supply situation for Ozempic and has provided comprehensive advice to the NHS on how to manage supply issues with this medicine.

NICE has been assessing technologies that allow patients to receive treatment with weight loss medicines and accompanying diet, physical activity, and behavioural support digitally and recently consulted on draft guidance.

NICE’s final guidance will support the NHS in identifying the most effective digital technologies where digital weight management services are considered appropriate for meeting local need.

Read the NICE guidance on semaglutide for managing overweight and obesity here
Read the Department of Health and Social Care Media Centre information on Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Accessing Wegovy for weight loss: Everything you need to know here
Read more about type 2 diabetes

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