Wednesday 2nd January 2019 saw the UK launch of Ozempic (semaglutide), an important new drug for Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Dr Ralph Abraham, clinical director at London Medical and consultant in diabetes, lipid disorders and endocrinology issued the first Ozempic prescription that morning, and the drug is now available from the London Medical pharmacy.

Ozempic is a new GLP1 agonist, a class of drugs that work by stimulating insulin (the hormone that lowers blood glucose) and suppressing glucagon (the hormone that raises blood glucose) in a glucose dependent manner so avoiding hypoglycaemia. These drugs are now recommended as the first injectable to be used in diabetes before insulin. They also reduce appetite and food intake, and so are generally associated with weight loss.

As with Victoza (liraglutide), Ozempic is cardio protective and delays kidney disease progression, but the drug’s most remarkable benefit is its ability to reduce weight by amounts not achieved by any other safe medication.

“It is believed that Ozempic, with its competitive pricing, will offer substantial benefits over existing therapies,” Dr Abraham says. “HbA1c reductions of 1.8 percent are seen with a once-weekly dose of 1mg semaglutide, and with a 6.5kg weight loss, Ozempic appears to outperform Trulicity (dulaglutide), another once-weekly agent, for both weight loss and diabetes efficacy.”

Dr Abraham says semaglutide may follow the same journey as liraglutide, which in a high dose of 3mg as Saxenda is licensed for obesity. Higher doses of semaglutide taken daily result in weight loss of up to 17.8kg or 13.8 percent weight loss over a year – and further clinical trials hope to establish both continued efficacy and safety.

Ozempic, which will be available as an oral tablet in time, is already on offer in the US, and like all GLP1 agonists, counts nausea as a side-effect. Other once weekly options include Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Bydureon (exenatide).

For more information about Ozempic and to find out if it’s right for you, book a consultation at London Medical by calling +44 (0)800 0483 330 or email info@londonmedical.co.uk.