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The new weight loss wonder drug

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on March 11, 2016

Weight loss ‘wonder drug’ Saxenda has recently been approved in Australia and the US. How does it work, and will it come to the UK?

The active ingredient is liraglutide, which operates in the same way as a hormone naturally found in the gut. Liraglutide suppresses appetite by sending signals to the brain that it’s full. Users therefore eat less and lose weight more easily – in some cases, people have lost up to eight per cent of body fat.

Saxenda has been previously used to manage diabetes, but users found they also lost weight while using the drug. It’s designed to be used as part of a regular diet and healthy eating routine, and is taken as a daily injection.

In the US and Australia, it’s a prescription-only drug. To qualify for Saxenda, patients must be clinically obese. That’s a BMI of 30, or 27 with weight-related health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. It has already been approved as safe by Europe’s drug regulators, and its makers have applied for Saxenda to be available on the NHS.

While it might seem a miracle treatment, there are concerns over potentially serious side effects. It’s also a pricey option, which could deter many patients from trying the drug. However, with two-thirds of Britain’s adults overweight or obese, a miracle treatment might be just what the doctor ordered.

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