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Obesity drug which can lower body weight by 3-4 stone approved for patient use

Most effective obesity treatment yet approved

A breakthrough obesity drug – which has been found to reduce body weight by 3-4 stone – has been approved for patient use in Ireland.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has in recent days announced that the new drug – called Wegovy. It has been approved for patient use in all EU countries.

The drug is for adults with obesity who have at least one weight-related complication – and is delivered by weekly injection. It is the most effective obesity treatment to ever be approved by the EMA.

In its clinical trial Wegovy was found to affect weight loss of 17% (3-4 stone), in patients who took the drug every week for a year. The weight loss is however only sustained if the drug is continued in the long term.

Obesity Specialist at St Vincent’s University Hospital Professor Carel le Roux said that the approval of Wegovy provides great promise for people with obesity.

“The unprecedented level of weight loss this medication achieves marks a new era in the treatment of this disease. Wegovy may be a foundation drug that can revolutionise the management of obesity. The drug was found to be safe and well-tolerated during trials. The most common side effects including mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset.”

Obesity specialist at the My Best Weight Clinic and GP Dr Mick Crotty said: “We know that living with excess weight is not due to a lack of willpower. It is a real and complex medical issue caused by our genetics, brain, hormones and environment.

“Our biology resists weight loss and favours weight regain. Wegovy works by treating the subconscious parts of our brain that regulate hunger and fullness. People taking this medication notice a reduction in appetite and feel more satisfied.”

Physiotherapist John Murphy added that Wegovy was found to increase quality of life of patients with improvements in function and the ability to engage in activities they enjoy.

EMA approval was based on a clinical development programme including 4,500 adults internationally with obesity. All trials showed double digit weight loss with the majority losing an average of three stone. Participants were also noted to have an improvement in blood pressure. This is in addition to lower risk of heart attack as well as an 80% reduction in the development of diabetes.

About obesity

Obesity affects more than a million people in Ireland and is the major contributing factor to type 2 diabetes which affects 200,000 people. Treatment for type 2 diabetes alone accounts for more than 10% of the overall healthcare budget.

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