Using weight loss drugs to get 'beach body ready' risks 'dangerous consequences'

1 month ago 28

People are risking "dangerous consequences" by using "powerful" weight loss drugs to get "beach body ready", a senior NHS doctor has warned.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's national medical director, said he was concerned about medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy being used by people who are "otherwise healthy" and "just want to lose a few pounds".

Buying such drugs online can lead to "side effects", he said.

"I'm worried about reports that people are misusing them - they are not intended as a quick fix for people trying to get 'beach body ready'."

Doctors are seeing "increasing numbers" of patients with "complications" from such drugs they have bought online, said Dr Vicky Price, president-elect of the Society for Acute Medicine.

She added: "We are seeing serious, life-threatening complications, including inflammation of the pancreas gland and alterations in blood salt levels in these patients who were not aware of the risk they were taking."

Concerns have been raised with authorities and there is a "need for urgent regulation and control of access for weight-loss drugs online", Dr Price went on.

An A&E doctor said a "young girl" arrived in their department with life-threatening symptoms after taking Wegovy bought online.

The medic, speaking anonymously to the Chemist and Druggist news website, said the girl arrived in A&E "feeling unwell, like she was going to pass out and couldn't stand up… she was really struggling to eat".

Ozempic for Birchley lead

The girl was "not at all" overweight, the doctor added, but had obtained about a month's worth of the medication.

She presented with "starvation ketoacidosis" and needed "urgent treatment" and "really strong counselling on the potential side effects that include death", the doctor said.

Read more:
Ozempic to Wegovy - what are the weight loss injections?
Obesity drug cuts risk of heart attack or stroke 'regardless of weight lost'

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Starvation ketoacidosis is when ketones build up in the blood due to a lack of food. Ketones are a type of chemical that your liver produces when it breaks down fats.

Weight loss drugs can be useful, Professor Powis said. "We know these new drugs will be a powerful part of our arsenal dealing with obesity - but they should not be abused," he commented.

"Buying medication online without a doctor's supervision can lead to complications and dangerous consequences"

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