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UK Approves Mounjaro, A New Weight Loss Prescription

A diabetes medication known as "Mounjaro" or tirzepatide has received approval in the UK for the treatment of obesity,  says BBC. 

This medication induces a sensation of fullness, leading to reduced food intake.

BBC reports that in clinical trials, people taking the medication have lost, on average, a fifth of their body weight, and the UK's regulatory body has deemed it safe and effective enough to be prescribed. 

However, it is not yet recommended by the National Health Service (NHS).

Although, the NHS uses this medication for diabetes treatment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which is responsible for the healthcare spending evaluation, is currently assessing its usage for obesity and will provide its findings in March 2024. 

Wegovy, a medication for obesity, is similar to Mounjaro and both are available as pre-filled injection pens for patients to administer themselves by injecting the dose under the skin of their stomach or thigh.

These medications can assist people in losing a substantial amount of weight. However, in research, many users tend to regain weight after discontinuing the treatment. 

Weight loss drugs can carry certain risks, and there's an investigation into their potential association with the risk of suicide. It is also important to note that these medicines may have side effects, with the most common being nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.

Experts caution that Mounjaro may affect how well the contraceptive pill works. Women who are on it should consider using additional extra contraception, such as condoms or switching to a non-oral contraceptive method for four weeks after starting Mounjaro and for four weeks after each increase in dose.

Wegovy shots, which contain a drug called semaglutide, are being offered by some specialist NHS weight-loss management services, as well as some private clinics. There is a plan for general practitioners (GPs) to offer it too.

Some stores on High Street are prescribing and selling it too, although stocks are limited.

As more doses become available, it could help tens of thousands of patients in England, the NHS says.

In the future, Mounjaro might be added to the list of possible NHS treatments too.

The UK's drugs regulator, the MHRA, says it can be used by adults who are obese or those who are overweight and have weight-related health problems such as high blood pressure.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: "Although further approvals are needed to use this in the NHS, Mounjaro has the potential to help thousands of people living with obesity and support those suffering from weight-related illnesses - if used alongside diet and physical activity. Tackling obesity could help cut waiting lists and save the NHS billions of pounds."


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