NHS to improve access to weight loss drugs through online services

online weight-loss services

New guidance has urged the NHS to adopt online platforms for the treatment of overweight patients struggling to access in-person weight loss services.

The four online services – Liva, Oviva, Roczen and Second Nature – are available as mobile apps or via a computer. They will be available to those with a BMI of at least 35.0 and one or more weight-related comorbidity.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said: ‘These four platforms could provide an option to accessing weight management support to those people who live in an area with no specialist weight management services.’

NICE also calculated that up to 48,000 people would be able to access the virtual services. If all eligible patients unenrolled, up to 145,000 hours of clinician time could be saved.

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Weight-loss drugs

The platforms will provide psychological support, and lifestyle assistance such as diet and exercise advice. Some will also have the capacity to prescribe weight-loss injections such as semaglutide (Wegovy) and liraglutide (Saxenda). These drugs aid weight loss through appetite reduction.

The NHS will pilot Wegovy over the next two years to address the growing obesity crisis in the UK. Its manufacturer, Novo Nordic, found that Wegovy could reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by 20% in obese patients with cardiovascular disease.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘This next generation of obesity drugs have the potential to help people lose significant amounts of weight, when prescribed with exercise, diet and behavioural support.’

Wegovy is set to launch in the UK in March.

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