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New diabetes medicine approved for obesity in the UK

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The new ‘King Kong’ drug is effective in weight management and related health problems in adults over 18 years

A diabetes medicine, Mounjaro, has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to treat overweight patients.

The weight loss medication originally developed for Type 2 diabetes is now accessible to individuals aged 18 and over who are dealing with obesity and weight-related health issues.

The active ingredient, tirzepatide, works by making the patient feel fuller and reducing food cravings.

The injection helps individuals lose 20 per cent of their body weight, and are advised to follow a reduced-calorie diet and increase physical activity simultaneously.

Although it is not authorised to use on the NHS as yet but future approvals can be predicted.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay said: “Although further approvals are needed to use this in the NHS, Mounjaro has the potential to help thousands of people living with obesity and support those suffering from weight-related illnesses – if used alongside diet and physical activity.

“Tackling obesity could help cut waiting lists and save the NHS billions of pounds.”

Currently, Mounjaro is been reviewed by the UK’s healthcare watchdog, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the reports are due in March next year.

Helen Knight, the director of medicines evaluation at NICE said that the recommendation offers “fresh hope” for many and provides “value for money” for the taxpayer.

The MHRA’s authorisation is based on two clinical trials that showed patients treated with tirzepatide had a “significant weight loss over time compared to patients who took a placebo.”

Julian Beach, the interim executive director of MHRA, gave a statement: “We have prioritised rapid assessment of this new indication for Mounjaro, given the public health importance of access to new medicines to help tackle obesity.

“We have drawn on advice from the independent Commission on Human Medicines in coming to our decision, and as with all products, will keep the safety of Mounjaro under close review.”

Mounjaro may impact contraceptive pill effectiveness, so women taking it should use additional protection like condoms or switch to a non-oral method for four weeks after starting or increasing the dose.

The medicine has a few common side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and constipation.

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