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What is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a diabetes drug that mimics glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and convinces the body that you are full. Therefore, you eat less. Biochemically, it increases insulin secretion, suppresses glucagon secretion, and slows gastric emptying.

Are there any side-effects?

Unlike previous anti-obesity drugs that can have nasty side effects, the main down side to this is that it is an injection taken every week. A tablet form is available, but not as effective. So anyone wishing to use the drug will need to come to terms with self-administering weekly injections.

Who is most likely to be prescribed this drug?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued draft guidance recommending that Wegovy is for adults with at least one weight-related condition, such as heart disease or obstructive sleep apnoea, and a BMI of 35 or above. In some cases, adults with a BMI of 30 or above will be eligible for the drug, for example individuals with a lower BMI but still qualify as obese.

It is important to remember that even though up to a quarter of all UK adults have a BMI greater than 30, not all of them will need this drug.

What other strategies are there to reduce obesity?

Maintaining an active lifestyle and a balanced diet will go a long way to improving your overall health and especially your cardiac health. Our consultants have put together some advice for you to follow.

However, for a more hard-hitting approach to weight-loss, you can try the following strategies:

  • The 5:2 diet – for 2 days each week, calorie intake is reduced (1000 kcal for men, 600 kcal for women), and a normal diet followed for the remaining 5 days of the week.
  • 16-hour fasting – all your food consumption happens in one 8-hour window each day, for example 12pm to 8pm, and then no calories for the remaining 16 hours.
  • Reduce ‘white’ carbohydrates – minimise your intake of starchy carbs such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes etc.
  • Burn it – aim to hit at least 10,000 steps per day (roughly 60 minutes of walking), and increase 2-3 times each week to maximise your calorie output.

Mitigating your risk of obesity is vitally important as obesity leads to increased blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, sleep apnoea, stroke, and can increase the risk of some cancers. However, obesity is reversible, so it’s never too late to take action.

Get in touch

Please note that at OneWelbeck Hearth Health we do not currently offer Semaglutide to our patients, however our consultants can help you assess your overall health and advise on weight loss. You can get in touch by filling out the form below, or calling 020 3653 2005.


Written by Dr Iqbal Malik, Medical Director and Consultant Cardiologist at OneWelbeck Heart Health, specialising in coronary artery disease and structural heart disease including PFO, ASD and the TAVI procedure.