Subscriptions FAQs (4)
There are currently two weight loss injections that are MHRA-approved for use in adults with obesity or overweight and at least one weight-related comorbidity:
Wegovy (semaglutide): Wegovy is a weekly injection that works by reducing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness, leading to a reduction in calorie intake and subsequent weight loss. It is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher with at least one weight-related comorbidity (such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure). The most common side effects of Wegovy include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, and headache.
Saxenda (liraglutide): Saxenda is a daily injection that works by reducing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness, leading to a reduction in calorie intake and subsequent weight loss. It is approved for use in adults with a BMI of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher with at least one weight-related comorbidity (such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure). The most common side effects of Saxenda include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headache, and injection site reactions.
There are several non-injectable weight loss medications that are approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) for use in the UK. These medications are only available with a prescription and should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional as part of a comprehensive weight management program that includes lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and exercise. Here are some examples of non-injectable weight loss medications that are approved by the MHRA:
Orlistat: Orlistat is a medication that works by blocking the absorption of some of the fat in the food you eat. It is available as a capsule and should be taken with meals. Orlistat can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as oily stools, flatulence, and abdominal pain.
Mysimba: Mysimba is a medication that contains two active ingredients (bupropion and naltrexone) that work together to reduce appetite and cravings. It is available as a tablet and should be taken twice a day. Mysimba can cause side effects such as nausea, headache, and dry mouth.
It is important to note that these medications are not suitable for everyone, and potential side effects and contraindications should be discussed with a healthcare professional before starting treatment. In addition, these medications are not a magic bullet for weight loss and should be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and exercise.
The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) is the regulatory body responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices are safe and effective for use in the UK. It is an executive agency of the UK government's Department of Health and Social Care.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is the regulatory body responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices are safe and effective for use in the United States. It is a federal agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Both the MHRA and FDA play important roles in ensuring that medications and medical devices are safe and effective for use by patients. However, there are some differences between the two agencies. For example:
Jurisdiction: The MHRA regulates medicines and medical devices in the UK, while the FDA regulates medicines and medical devices in the United States.
Approval process: The MHRA and FDA have similar processes for approving new medicines and medical devices, but there may be differences in the specific requirements and timelines for approval.
Post-marketing surveillance: Both the MHRA and FDA monitor the safety of medicines and medical devices after they are approved, but there may be differences in the specific methods used for monitoring and the frequency of safety reviews.
Labeling and packaging: The MHRA and FDA have different requirements for labeling and packaging of medicines and medical devices, which can lead to differences in the information provided to patients and healthcare professionals.
Despite these differences, both the MHRA and FDA have the same overall goal of protecting public health and ensuring that patients have access to safe and effective medicines and medical devices.
There are several weight loss treatments available in the UK, and the most effective treatment will depend on individual factors such as a person's starting weight, medical history, and lifestyle. However, studies have shown that a combination of lifestyle changes (such as a healthy diet and exercise) and medication or weight loss surgery can be effective for significant and sustained weight loss.
One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2017 compared several weight loss treatments in the UK, including:
A low-calorie diet: Participants in this group followed a low-calorie diet of 800 calories per day for 12 weeks.
A low-calorie diet plus weight loss medication: Participants in this group followed the same low-calorie diet as Group 1, but also received the weight loss medication liraglutide (Saxenda).
A low-calorie diet plus weight loss surgery: Participants in this group followed the same low-calorie diet as Group 1, but also underwent weight loss surgery (either gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy).
The study found that all three treatments were effective for weight loss, but the group that received weight loss surgery had the greatest weight loss and improvement in metabolic health. However, weight loss surgery is typically reserved for people with a BMI over 40 or a BMI over 35 with weight-related health problems, and it carries risks and potential complications.
Therefore, a combination of a healthy diet, exercise, and medication such as liraglutide (Saxenda) may be an effective weight loss treatment option for many people in the UK. However, it is important to discuss any weight loss treatment with a healthcare professional before starting, as individual factors such as medical history and potential side effects must be taken into consideration.