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Miracle Of Daily Diet Jab: drug that helps you lose 19lbs, article by Daily Mail

  • Liraglutide packs twice the power of rival drugs and lowers blood pressure
  • The ‘life changing’ drug raises good cholesterol and prevents diabetes
  • The jab even produces a feel-good factor, making dieting a pleasure
  • Patients inject the drug into their stomach each day, suppressing appetite 
  • But there are fears Nice will judge too expensive for routine use on NHS

A diet jab that can help women drop two dress sizes was approved by watchdogs yesterday.

Described by doctors as life-changing, liraglutide could be on prescription in months.

Slimmers typically lose almost a stone more than they would by simply counting calories and exercising more. Some severely obese patients dropped so much weight they ditched their wheelchairs and walked for the first time in years.

Packing almost twice the power of rival drugs, liraglutide also lowers blood pressure, raises good cholesterol and prevents diabetes.

It even produces a feel-good factor, making dieting a pleasure. Liraglutide’s maker, Novo Nordisk of Denmark, will apply for it to be prescribed on the NHS after yesterday’s ruling by the European drugs regulator that it is safe and effective.

There are fears however that Nice – Britain’s drugs rationing body – will judge it too expensive for routine use.

Liraglutide is the the only other prescription diet drug along side Semaglutide. 

Patients inject the drug into their  stomach before breakfast every day. It works by suppressing appetite.

Obesity levels have doubled over the past two decades, making the UK the second-fattest nation in Europe. Being obese can knock up to nine years off a lifespan and raises the risk of a host of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Liraglutide, which will be given the brand name Saxenda, is already used at a lower dose to treat diabetes. Based on a hormone found in the gut, it sends signals to the brain that trick it into feeling full. As a result, people eat 10 per cent less food than normal.

In trials, men and women who injected themselves daily lost an average of 19lb in 12 months. This is almost a stone more than they would lose by being on a diet and upping their exercise.And one third shed 23lb – more than a stone and a half. For a 14 stone woman, it would usually mean dropping two dress sizes.

The drug which, like insulin, comes in an injectable pen, has such an effect on blood pressure that patients can throw away the drugs they use to keep it under control.

Tests have shown that dieters taking liraglutide lose almost twice as much weight as those on Orlistat.

Like Orlistat, its prescription is likely to be limited to those who are obese or who are overweight and have another health problem such as high blood pressure.

Mike Lean, professor of human nutrition at Glasgow University, said: ‘Liraglutide is absolutely life-changing for many of our most difficult-to-manage patients. Most do well, and some amazingly well. And it is extraordinarily safe, at least over the two to three years for which we have good evidence, with no signals to suggest serious side-effects.

‘The only real downside is that it is jolly expensive.’

The professor has patients who have been left wheelchair-bound by a combination of obesity and illnesses such as muscular dystrophy. They have lost so much weight they have been able to get up and walk. Professor Jason Halford, former president of the UK Association for the Study of Obesity, said: ‘It is potentially very exciting. The real benefit of it is that it is targeting appetite. It strengthens the effects of satiety.’ But Professor Iain Broom, director of the Centre for Obesity Research at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said: ‘I don’t think drugs are ever going to be the answer.

‘Until society changes and the Government’s relationship with the food industry changes and the food industry itself changes, we are not going to get anywhere very fast.’

The European Commission is expected to rubber-stamp the drug’s licence within the next two months, paving the way for it to go on sale. Novo Nordisk says it could be launched in Europe, including the UK, this year.

The most common side-effect is nausea, although this usually goes away after a few weeks. It is unclear how long it needs to be taken – but it could be for life.

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