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Facts about the 'skinny jab' | Healthier Weight

The facts about the 'skinny jab'

Facts and FAQs
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The so called 'skinny jab' is a drug that is injected daily.

It’s an unfortunate name as it sets the expectation that people who use it will suddenly become ‘skinny’. That is not the case. Like any drug it has side effects and exclusion criteria (contraindications) that need to be fully understood and taken into account. The drug is safe and effective but it needs to be prescribed  by a doctor, and only after you have had a blood test to check your liver and kidney function. At Healthier Weight we recommend all patients who are looking lose weight, but don’t want surgery to non-surgical weight loss specialists, Slim Without Surgery. Their plan is the best of its type and delivers good weight loss results. You also have peace of mind from knowing it is medically supervised throughout. Read more about their programme here. Read more about their programme hereIf you are looking to lose between 1 and 3 stone it's perfect. You can call their team of experts on 0800 531 6703. They’ll be pleased to help you. 

On this page we give you the facts about the  so-called 'skinny jab' drug (sometimes referred to as Slender Pen and Slim Jab too) and help you decide whether it is a reasonable option for you. If you are someone who is obese (BMI over 30 – check your BMI here) it is likely that one of the established weight loss surgery procedures, gastric band, gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, will be better for you. Even a non surgical procedure like the gastric balloon could be be better, both in terms of cost and effectiveness. That is not to say that a "skinny jab" drug doesn’t have merit. There will be people who are seeking a non surgical treatment for obesity who it may help. 

If you are considering a weight loss programme that includes any type of medication, our advice is to go with a programme that includes the following:

  1. Medication is prescribed and managed by doctors
  2. Prescribed in line with the manufacturer's guidance (remarkably, some providers don't do this)
  3. Includes a comprehensive diet, eating, exercise and behavioural change programme 

The information you need to build your understanding of these programmes and whether they could be a sensible option for you, can be found on this page by using the links below. We’ve tried to cover everything. 

 

If you are satisfied that a medically supervised weight loss programme is a good option for you, it's essential that you find a reputable provider that operates to high standards. We’ve developed a patient checklist to help you assess your provider.

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Am I eligible?
Skinny Jab FAQs

How does it work?

This drug works by suppressing a patient’s appetite. It started out as a drug that was developed to treat diabetes. It was prescribed at a low dosage for this purpose. It was later found that when the dosage was increased, to 3.0mg per day, the drug offered a weight loss benefit. Since that time trials have been completed and the weight loss results that can be expected are shown in the ‘what weigh loss can you expect’ section’ below. 

At Healthier Weight we believe that patients with a BMI above 30 will be better served by a surgical procedure or by the non surgical gastric balloon or ESG. Our team is trained on all of these procedures and weight loss programmes. If you have any questions about your options, please call us on 0800 313 4618 or make an online enquiry. Our team is trained to help you find your way through the options available and will be pleased to help.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the 'skinny jab' drug you need to have a body mass index above 30. You are also eligible with a BMI above 27 as long as you have a weight related co-morbidity (illness/disease), such as type 2 diabetes of high blood pressure.

Patients are screened for a number of ‘contraindications’ based on their general state of health. For example, patients with a  history of kidney disease would not be prescribed the drug. There are several other contraindications and these would be explained at your face to face consultation.

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How much weight might I lose?

The latest data show that in a randomised trial 92% of patients using this latest drug for a year were able to lose weight. It is important to note that for everyone in this trial the drug was supplemented by a diet and exercise programme. The weight loss results would have been lower without this. 66% of patients achieved at least 5% weight loss, 34% achieved at least 10% and 14% managed to lose at least 15% of their starting weight. 

The percentage of patients who lost 5% of their body weight through the exercise and diet programme alone (those who were given a placebo instead of the drug) was 27%.

The trial results also show that you will know quickly if the drug is going to work for you. If you haven’t lost weight within 3 months then you won’t at all and can stop taking it.

In the context of the weight that most obese patients need to lose these results are quite modest and a small part of what would be achieved with a gastric band, sleeve or bypass. If you need to lose more than 4 stone to reach a healthy weight (a BMI in the region of 25), you are advised to consider weight loss surgery instead. You may still decide to go with a medically-supervised weight loss programme but you should include surgery in your decision process.

How do I start?

If you’ve decided that a medically supervised weight loss programme could be the solution you are looking for to help manage your weight, the next step is to see if you are eligible. You can use our form here to find out.


To discuss your options or book a free consultation, make an online enquiry or call 0800 313 4618 

Other FAQs

How much does it cost?

The price is in the region of £400 per month from responsible providers. If you find anyone offering a drug-inclusive programme below £350 per month you should be extra vigilant about their practices. Check that a doctor is prescribing, that it's being prescribed at the correct dosage, that it is the drug you're expecting and that there is a diet and exercise programme behind it. It’s a lifelong commitment as you’ll lose the benefit when you stop taking it and the weight you have lost would normally be regained. The positive news is that you will know within 3 months if you are going to be successful. If you haven’t lost any weight by that time, the trials show that you never will. It means you could stop paying after 3 months if the results weren’t as you hoped. 

We recommend a 10 week starter programme at a cost of £1,000. In just 10 weeks you’ll know if the programme will work for you. You can expect to lose 5% of your starting weight in that time and possibly 10%. It’s rare to lose more in the first 10 weeks, but it's possible. Only 1 in 12 patients won’t lose weight. For a 12 month programme you are likely to be paying in the region of £5,000. That is comparable to the price of a gastric balloon or gastric band procedure. You should consider these and other weight loss options. Even if you are not interested in surgery, you will be better informed to discuss your options before deciding to proceed. Our team is ready to answer any questions you have about the surgical and non-surgical options.

Please use these links for price information on the gastric band and gastric balloon.


Which patients would be best suited to it?

It’s understandable that people with a BMI above 30 would prefer a non surgical solution to help them manage their weight. A 'skinny jab' drug is unlikely to be that solution however as the weight loss is modest. All eligible patients could expect to do a lot better with a gastric band and many would do better with a gastric balloon. It’s likely that risks associated with the band or balloon are lower than most patients imagine. It means that if you are considering the 'skinny jab' you should think carefully about these options too. They are proven over a long period of time to be both safe and effective. Certainly those with BMIs above 40 would achieve far better results with a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass than they would with the skinny jab drug.


What happens if I stop taking it?

You are likely to regain any weight you have lost unless you have been able to make a permanent change to your diet and eating habits. It's for this reason that you should check the diet, exercise and behavioural support programme offered by your provider. This will be key to your long term success.


What are the risks and side effects?

The main side effect of the skinny jab drug is that patients experience a period of nausea. This usually settles after a few weeks. There are other side effects and these should be explained at a consultation. Although the incidence rates are very low, the trial data show that patients are at an increased risk of gall bladder disease and pancreatitis.

If you have visited this page, and read this far, it means you are serious about finding a sustainable solution for managing your weight. We help hundreds of people every week who are weighing up their options just as you are. The best course of action will vary from patient to patient based on their own personal circumstances. Please call us on 0800 3134618 or complete our enquiry to explore all of the options available to you. .


To discuss your options or book a free consultation, make an online enquiry or call 0800 313 4618

 

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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.