The NHS weight loss injection, what is it all about?

The NHS weight loss injection, what is it all about?

Saxenda® was approved as a potential option to aid weight loss at the end of last year. This is only for people living with obesity (Body Mass Index over 35kg/m²) and non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, also known as pre-diabetes. The daily injection can only be prescribed by specialist weight loss services and for those who meet defined criteria. If individuals do not lose at least 5% of their body weight in 12 months, then the injection may be stopped.

What are GLP1 receptor agonists?

This class of medication has been around for a while for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They help to slow down the gut and reduce appetite. They also increase the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas when blood sugar levels are high. Saxenda® contains Liraglutide, the ingredient also found in Victoza®. Victoza® has been used to treat type 2 diabetes since 2010. Saxenda® and Victoza® may contain the same ingredient but they are used differently in different doses.

This injection can help people to lose weight alongside diet and lifestyle change. It can be very effective when used appropriately. They will not cause much weight loss however unless there is a reduction to overall calorie intake e.g. by eating smaller portions.

From my experience, some people notice a more profound reduction to appetite than others, therefore the amount of weight loss can be variable. If you are an emotional eater or someone that tends to snack little and often, then you can easily override the effects of the medication. Eating high calorie foods or drinking high calorie drinks can also hinder progress.

Top 5 tips for losing weight while taking the injection

My top 5 tips for those prescribed Saxenda® or a GLP1 receptor-agonist

  1. Ensure to eat regular meals, with smaller portions of protein and carbohydrate foods
  2. Add more vegetables to your plate
  3. Eat slowly to minimise any bloating or unpleasant symptoms
  4. Avoid too many oily or fatty foods
  5. Consume plenty of sugar-free drinks

More information available at NHS