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What exactly is the skinny jab?

The so called skinny jab isn’t really as it sounds. Here are the facts about it.  

The 'skinny jab' drug started its life as a diabetes drug. It was later found that when the dosage was increased it reduced appetite and helped patients lose weight. As a result, trials have been conducted to measure the drug's efficacy and safety as a weight loss drug.

Check your eligibility here 


If you want to lose between 1 and 3 stone, the Slim Without Surgery programme we recommend is ideal. Like other good programmes, it includes doctor supervisions, a blood test before you start and regular contact. They’ll include a medical helpline for patient safety and they’ll be realistic about what can be achieved. 

10% weight loss in 3 months is a realistic goal for patients on a high-quality programme. You could do better but 10% is realistic. At Healthier Weight we recommend the Slim Without Surgery programme to people who want more than a diet but are not ready for surgery. Their programme is tried and tested to deliver excellent weight loss results and you can view details here. They have also priced it competitively with plans from £85 per pen, including a full support package. An added benefit of their programme is that their team is also expert in non-surgical gastric balloons, so they can advise you on whether a weight loss programme (includes weight loss injections) or a gastric balloon might be better for you. You can call them on 0800 531 6703.

The care I have received has been second to none, I would have no hesitation in recommending Slim without Surgery and have already referred a number of friends’ - Jane, from Birmingham. Read more about Jane’s story. 

Here is a short video about Slim Without Surgery. It takes less than a minute.

The medication at the heart of the SWS programme has become known by a number of ‘unofficial’ names including Skinny Jab, Slender Pen and Slim Jab. I’m sure there are others too. We really need to get out of the habit of using these names as they trivialise it and they don’t deliver what they seem to promise. It is very unlikely that this drug will make you skinny, in fact you shouldn’t use it at all unless your BMI is over 30 (or 27 if you have a weight related health issue). If you have a starting BMI over 30 you might expect to lose between 2 and 4 stone* depending on your starting weight. This would be a realistic expectation based on the data.. This would be a realistic expectation. You can read more about the results you can expect from the drug here.

The clinical trials show that 66% of patients using the drug can expect to lose 5% or more of their body weight. This percentage reduces to 34% for people who lose 10% of their body weight. These results were achieved when the drug was backed up by a diet and lifestyle programme too. Only 8% of patients failed to lose any weight.

The key to a good medical weight loss programme is to find one that is offered by a reputable provider (CQC registered) and that includes diet, exercise and behavioural support, and includes frequent contact. We’ve created a checklist people can use to check how good their provider is. You can view our 8 step checklist here

The results are pretty modest and a fraction of those that are achieved with weight loss surgery.

Other important things to consider are that you will only derive a benefit from the weight loss drugs while you continue to take them. As soon as you stop, your appetite will return and you could expect to regain the weight. The key is to make permanent changes to your diet and exercise habits. The results show that if you haven’t lost weight after 3 months then you won’t at all and you can stop taking it. 

Like any drug there are also side effects to consider. A proportion of patients will experience some nausea and there are tight guidelines on who can and cannot take it. A reputable provider will explain these to you before you begin to use the drug. IMPORTANT: You should not use this drug unless you have had blood tests for liver and kidney function also. You may have an undiagnosed liver or kidney condition and this needs to be ruled out before you use it. You put yourself to increased risk if you use the drug with having these tests first.

It’s essential that you find a responsible provider. The drug has only been tested when used as part of a comprehensive program that combines the drug with a diet and exercise program. There are good programs out there and they’ll usually be offered by proper healthcare companies. They’ll be Care Quality Commission registered and insured. This is important.

View our reputable provider checklist here

There is also the question of price. Good programmes cost about £400 per month including medication. This is the cost of a responsible, comprehensive program. Be very cautious of any provider charging less than this. Medication alone can come to about £200 per month before all of the support, blood test and consultations are factored in.

I don’t like the way some of the new weight loss programmes that have sprung up are being marketed as offering a ‘skinny jab’. It seems to trivialise it and make it sound cosmetic. Medically supervised weight loss programmes exist to treat a condition. It has side effects and it needs to be treated with respect.

These programmes appeal to a group of people who don't want surgery, are happy to lose about 2 stone (on average) and who can afford £400 per month. Even for this group, the gastric balloon might be a better option. If you do decide to try a drug-based programme make sure you find a responsible provider. You'll know immediately from the way they speak and deal with you.

If you want to lose more weight and/or you can’t afford this, a gastric band or another form of weight loss surgery is a more effective option both in terms of weight loss and financially.

To discuss your options call our team on 0800 138 9696 or use the enquiry form below. 

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*Weight loss surgery results and benefits vary and are different for each individual. As such, Healthier Weight cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals.