The continued poor access to weight loss medication is a huge source of frustration for me and many patients who were just starting to feel the benefits.
The daily injection, Saxenda, was helping so many women who were struggling with their weight in the menopause and perimenopause, when weight loss seems to get so much harder.
It was the first weight loss drug I had ever prescribed in years of running weight management services because it actually works in a way that seems compatible with the healthy weight control habits I encourage…and the changes that seem to happen to our bodies as we get older.
The delay in launching Wegovy in the UK is similarly frustrating as it is a once-weekly injection with even better results than Saxenda…and it’s approved for weight loss. Ozempic (same drug, different dose) is NOT licensed for weight loss alone and the often inappropriate and unregulated, unlicensed prescribing that has resulted from the crazy publicity has led to a shortage for the diabetics for whom it is actually licensed. So much so, that public health bodies have issued instructions to doctors to avoid unlicensed prescribing. Sadly, some are still ignoring it.
But the lack of medication is demoralising for patients who had started to feel that they were making progress in shifting their weight and getting healthier too.
But there is a tiny glimmer of hope appearing on the horizon. Not only will supplies finally catch up with demand, but newer, similar drugs are showing really good results in recent studies. Of course, that is not to say that these drugs are the answer to long-term weight loss. Over-reliance on medication without making the necessary healthier lifestyle changes alongside is a sure way to end up with weight regain, as well as being significantly out-of-pocket.
Used properly and appropriately, though, they can give a valuable boost whilst we tweak those bad habits that we have picked up over the years. Those habits aren’t always difficult to change, once you know how they are impacting your weight loss efforts. Add in a few extra tools and tips that you may not even realise are related to weight control and, before you know it, weight loss can get so much easier….even without the help of medication.
I cover many of these in my updated 16-week expert coaching programme, starting on 7th September. So, if you are feeling a bit anxious at the loss of medication support, or aren’t interested in medication anyway, you may want to join me as we work through these science-based tips and tricks, week by week, until weight loss starts to become more subconscious again. And when medication supplies are available, I can prescribe those too, where appropriate.