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Semaglutide weight loss medication "very dangerous" for those with eating disorders

Wednesday 8th March 2023

The weight loss medication, Semaglutide, has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in NHS weight management services. Patients who are eligible will be able to access a prescription to Semaglutide for a maximum of two years. Semaglutide is also known as Wegovy and Ozempic.

Tom Quinn, Beat’s Director of External Affairs said:

'Weight-loss medications like Semaglutide can be extremely attractive to people with eating disorders as they appear to provide quick results. However, these medications can be very dangerous as they can worsen harmful thoughts and behaviours for those unwell, or contribute to an eating disorder developing for someone who is already vulnerable.

‘Eating disorders affect people of all weights, BMIs, ages, genders and backgrounds, and you can never tell if someone is unwell just by measuring their weight. It’s crucial that an eating disorder screening is carried out for every individual and that people with eating disorders are not able to access a prescription.

‘There must also be more education about the dangers of using medication to lose weight. It’s very alarming that patients in the clinical trial of Semaglutide experienced side effects such as nausea and vomiting, which could potentially trigger an eating disorder or worsen symptoms for someone who is already unwell. Doctors must also look out for signs of an eating disorder and refer people to quality support as quickly as possible.’

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