I read at the weekend about some new drug trials that are taking place at Imperial College and that show potential to ‘cure’ the obesity epidemic.
It’s good that these trials are getting publicity as they do offer the potential for new treatment options but it will be a long time before they offer a public health cure. The Imperial study, which is led by Professor Steve Bloom, is interesting as it combines the use of a number of drugs, 3 as I understand it, to replicate the effects of weight loss surgery.
The idea is to create the same hormonal effect as we see with gastric bypass surgery. The downside is that these treatments are in their infancy so it would be many years before trials are completed that show the treatment is effective and safe for use in humans. There are reasons to be optimistic though as there are already some effective drugs available on the market. These are weight loss injections that have a similar effect to the hormone GLP-1, which is closely associated with appetite. These drugs are currently injected and you may have seen some of them marketed as ‘jabs’.
They have an effect on the brain to make you feel fuller on a small portion. Trials show that all but 8% of patients achieve weight loss with them. These weight loss injections are safe and give good weight loss results when they are backed up by a thorough diet and exercise programme.
We would expect patients to lose 10% of their starting weight over a 12 month period. Like any drug though, it’s important to see a doctor when you have these weight loss injections prescribed. There are patients who should take the drug and there are side effects you need to be aware of and look out for.
As I said, these drugs are safe but only when they are properly prescribed.
They run a doctor led programme that puts patient safety and long-term weight loss at its core.