NHS adds Semaglutide to Its Weight Loss Treatment Options for Qualifying Patients

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has announced the addition of semaglutide to its weight loss treatment options for qualifying patients. Semaglutide is an injectable medication that is currently used to treat type 2 diabetes. Its efficacy in promoting weight loss has been demonstrated in clinical trials, and it has been approved by regulatory authorities in several countries for use as a weight loss medication. This move by the NHS is expected to offer hope to many patients struggling with obesity and related health issues.

Understanding Semaglutide and Its Mechanism of Action

Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It works by mimicking the action of a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1. GLP-1 is produced by the intestine in response to food intake and has several effects on the body, including stimulating the release of insulin, reducing appetite, and slowing down the rate at which food empties from the stomach. By activating GLP-1 receptors in the body, semaglutide can help reduce appetite and promote feelings of fullness, leading to a reduction in food intake and subsequent weight loss.

Clinical Trials and Efficacy of Semaglutide

The efficacy of semaglutide in promoting weight loss has been demonstrated in several clinical trials. In a 68-week study involving over 1,900 patients, semaglutide was shown to lead to an average weight loss of 15.3 kg, compared to 2.6 kg in the placebo group. In another study involving over 2,000 patients, semaglutide was shown to lead to an average weight loss of 17.4 kg, compared to 4.4 kg in the placebo group. The weight loss achieved with semaglutide was sustained over a period of 68 weeks and was accompanied by improvements in several metabolic parameters, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and glycemic control.

Who Qualifies for Semaglutide Treatment?

The NHS has stated that semaglutide will be offered as a treatment option for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m2 or higher, who have tried and failed to achieve weight loss through other means, such as diet and exercise. It will also be offered to patients with a BMI of 32.5 kg/m2 or higher, who have at least one obesity-related comorbidity, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or obstructive sleep apnea.

What Are the Side Effects of Semaglutide?

As with any medication, semaglutide can cause side effects. The most common side effects reported in clinical trials include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. These side effects are usually mild to moderate in severity and tend to improve over time. In rare cases, semaglutide can cause more serious side effects, such as pancreatitis, thyroid tumors, or kidney problems. Patients taking semaglutide should be closely monitored for these side effects and should report any unusual symptoms to their healthcare provider.

How Is Semaglutide Administered?

Semaglutide is administered by injection once a week. The injection can be self-administered by the patient or given by a healthcare professional. The recommended starting dose is 0.25 mg once a week, which is increased gradually over a period of four weeks to a maintenance dose of 2.4 mg once a week. The injection should be given in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm and should be rotated to a different site each week to avoid injection site reactions.

Please write conclusion and references


The addition of semaglutide to the weight loss treatment options offered by the NHS is a significant development in the field of obesity management. Semaglutide has been shown to be an effective medication for promoting weight loss and improving metabolic parameters in patients with obesity and related comorbidities. By offering semaglutide as a treatment option, the NHS is providing hope to patients who have struggled to achieve weight loss through other means. However, it is important to note that semaglutide is not a magic pill and should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise to achieve the best results.



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  2. Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, et al. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2021;384(11):989-1002.
  3. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Semaglutide for managing overweight and obesity in adults. Technology appraisal guidance [TA664]. Published 16 December 2020.
  4. Astrup A, Rossner S, Van Gaal L, et al. Effects of Liraglutide in the Treatment of Obesity: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Lancet. 2009;374(9701):1606-1616.

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