Weight Loss Medications

As advised by the North East London Integrated Care Board: NICE TA875,has approved Semaglutide (Wegovy®) for managing overweight and obese patients published on 8th March 2023 which has been widely publicised.

However, the current agreement by NICE is that it can only be pre-scribed by a specialist weight management (tier 3) service (i.e. hospital only). It is, therefore, not available to be prescribed by the GP.

There is no commissioned Tier 3 Weight Management Service for BHR (Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge) patients at the moment, however there is a working group looking into this, and we hope this service will be in place in the next 3-6 months. (The commis-sioning of pathways is not something Medicines Management Team at the ICB can undertake).

A similar medication is licensed for the treatment of adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus as an adjunct to diet and exercise.

Update 29/7/23: Clinics told to stop prescribing antidiabetes drugs for weight loss, after shortage

The government has urged healthcare providers to stop prescribing appetite suppressant drugs for weight loss because shortages were creating “serious clinical implications” for patients with type 2 diabetes.

In a national patient safety alert the Department of Health and Social Care for England and the MHRA said there were “very limited, intermittent supplies” of all glucagon-in peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists because of the rise in demand to aid weight loss,

NICE has also recommended the use of semaglutide (Wegovy) in the NHS for treating obesity, but the drug is yet to officially launch in the UK, amid uncertainty over supplies and is largely being accessed off label from private clinics.

The alert tells providers that supplies of GLP-1 receptor agonists “are not expected stabilise to meet full market demand until at least mid-2024.”

BMI 2023;382:1693

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