Weight loss injection Wegovy to be sold by UK high street chemists including Boots

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The controversial weight loss jab Wegovy to be sold by High Street chemists in the UK.

Weight loss jab Wegovy is set to be sold by high street chemists around the UK. The controversial drug, also known as semaglutide, is a prescription drug which blunts appetite in order to help weight loss.

Popularised by celebrities like Elon Musk, the injection uses the same active ingredient as Ozempic, a diabetic medicine that has been called Hollywood’s favourite slimming drug. But experts warn the jab is not a quick fix for losing weight or a meal replacement and should only be offered and administered under medical supervision.

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According to the BBC, Boots will offer prescriptions and dispensing of the drug, and Lloyds and Superdrug have online pages where people can register their interest. But in order to receive the drug, you need to have a BMI over 30 (obese) or over 27 (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbidity, and it must be prescribed by a doctor.

A Boots spokesperson said: "It can be an effective medicine to achieve sustained weight loss when used alongside a reduced calorie diet, increased physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices. It will be available from Boots Online Doctor, with an anticipated launch of spring 2023. The Boots Online Doctor Weight Loss Treatment service is for customers who are worried that their weight is impacting their health.

“Customers will have access to treatment following their completion of an online consultation form, which will be assessed by a clinician. Those who are offered treatment will receive follow-up touchpoints and support from the Boots Online Doctor service throughout their weight loss journey, and can access advice and support from our pharmacy teams in stores."

How does Wegovy weight loss injection work?

Wegovy is issued once a week via a pre-filled pen, and mimics the hormone GLP-1, which makes people feel less hungry, keeping them from eating. Trials have found that obese patients who received the drug, in combination with exercise and a healthy diet lost about one 10th of their body weight - but research also showed that users might regain the weight when they come off the drug.

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What are the risks of Wegovy?

High Street chemists like Boots are set to start presecribing the weight loss jab Wegovy.High Street chemists like Boots are set to start presecribing the weight loss jab Wegovy.
High Street chemists like Boots are set to start presecribing the weight loss jab Wegovy. | Getty Images

Tom Quinn from the eating disorder charity Beat told the BBC: "Wegovy or other weight-loss medications should only be sold under the strictest possible conditions, with stringent physical and mental health checks to ensure patients are well enough.

“These medications can be very attractive to people with eating disorders as they seemingly offer a ‘quick fix’ solution, however there is a very high risk of making those affected even more unwell and can further entrench eating disorder thoughts and behaviours. It is vital that people are aware of the dangers of abusing medication in order to lose weight and there should be more education on their effects."

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