Weight loss drug hailed as ‘game changer’ in battling obesity to be widely available in Ireland early next year


A WEIGHT loss drug that has been described as a “game changer” in battling obesity is set to be available in Ireland.

The drug takes control of appetite in the brain and gut and convinces the body that it is satisfied.

The drug named 'Semaglutide' has been described as a 'game changer' in battling obesity

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The drug named ‘Semaglutide’ has been described as a ‘game changer’ in battling obesityCredit: Alamy
HSE clinical lead for obesity said the drug is expected to be available in Ireland next year

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HSE clinical lead for obesity said the drug is expected to be available in Ireland next year

The news of, Semaglutide which has been described as a ‘game changer’ by researchers, comes as the HSE looks to increase the number of weight loss surgeries to battle obesity in Ireland.

In a study of Semaglutide the average weight loss seen was almost 2.5 stone.

The study of some 2,000 patients, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the mean change in body weight was -14.9 per cent in the Semaglutide group, compared to -2.4 per cent in a placebo group.

WEIGHT LOSS DRUGS

HSE clinical lead for obesity, Dr Donal O’Shea said the drug is expected to be widely available in Ireland next year.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast he said: “This drug, which is probably going to be licenced in Europe by the end of the year and available in Ireland by early next year, is the first step-change in drug management of obesity.

“There are other drugs in the pipeline that are kind of based on this drug, but with additional functions, that are delivering 25 per cent to 30 per cent weight loss in clinical trials – that’s equivalent to surgery.

“We have drugs to treat heart disease and we have operations to treat heart disease: we’re now reaching the point where we have drugs to treat obesity, and the HSE is committing to operations to treat obesity.”

PANDEMIC WEIGHT GAIN

Dr O’Shea said tackling obesity is a “key priority” of the HSE in the coming years. Especially given the impact he says the pandemic had on the issue.

He said: “I think a lot of people who put on their few pounds or kilos over Christmas have had more difficulty than normal losing them.

“And certainly with our patient group, the pandemic environment has helped about 50 per cent develop kind of healthier routines.

“The other 50 per cent have found it more challenging just in terms of routine and making the healthier option and the healthier choice.”

He added: “My fear was that the pandemic was going to push obesity down the list of priorities for the HSE, but in fact it’s done the opposite.”





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