Ozempic: Understanding Weight Loss Injections and Their Availability

Discussion around appetite-suppressing drugs is on the rise, with doctors suggesting broader clinical benefits beyond weight loss alone.

A recent five-year study unveiled the potential of drugs like Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus to not only aid weight loss but also reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure in obese individuals, regardless of the amount of weight shed.

In the UK, NHS doctors can prescribe two weight loss injections: liraglutide (Saxenda) and semaglutide (Wegovy). These medications are recommended alongside a reduced-calorie diet, increased physical activity, and behavioral support, with potential weight loss exceeding 10% of body weight after a year, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

Prescriptions for these drugs are typically reserved for individuals with a BMI of 35 or higher, or a BMI of 32.5 or higher among certain ethnic backgrounds. Semaglutide is specifically prescribed for those with health complications due to obesity, while liraglutide is for individuals with non-diabetic hyperglycemia and a high risk of heart issues.

Ozempic, on the other hand, is primarily prescribed for type 2 diabetes, though it’s sometimes used off-label for weight loss. While effective in curbing appetite, medical experts caution against casual use due to potential side effects, particularly gastrointestinal discomfort.

These weight loss injections, known as GLP-1 analogues, mimic the hormone GLP-1, which regulates blood sugar levels and induces feelings of fullness after meals. They’re recommended for individuals with at least one weight-related condition and a BMI of at least 35, or in some cases, a BMI of 30.

The duration of treatment varies, with semaglutide typically recommended for a maximum of two years. Side effects can include nausea, heartburn, and constipation, though they often improve over time. Additionally, brain-related symptoms like headaches and fatigue may occur but can be managed with regular, smaller meals.

While the availability of semaglutide through NHS prescription marks a significant milestone, it’s crucial to remember that these medications aren’t a substitute for a healthy lifestyle encompassing physical activity and balanced nutrition.

Exit mobile version