Saxenda prescriptions on the NHS
Saxenda has now been approved for use within the NHS in the UK.
However, your GP or family doctor is unlikely to be able to prescribe it to you.
Saxenda has been available for several years in the UK.
However, it wasn’t until 2020 that it was approved for use within the NHS. Previously, those needing Saxenda for weight management had to pay privately.
The news of Saxenda on the NHS is welcome to many people with obesity.
However, NICE guidelines currently only allow it to be prescribed in tier 3 weight management services, and these aren’t usually carried out by your own GP.
When you first start to access weight management services, you will need to go through various stages.
For example, your GP may want to refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist.
Some doctors will then start to use medicines such as Orlistat if dietary changes aren’t successful.
Depending on your area, you may also be offered a subsidised gym membership for a few weeks.
Essentially, there are various things your GP may want to try before even considering Saxenda as an option.
This is where the tier system comes into play.
Tier 2 weight management services are often based within the local community.
These are often time-restricted, with most blocks lasting for 12 weeks.
Tier 2 services are generally focused on lifestyle changes rather than medical intervention.
This is helpful for people that need more support with diet and exercise, but many people still need additional support.
Some tier 3 weight management services are able to prescribe Saxenda to suitable patients.
This is due to the fact that they can offer a more specialist service.
Consultants are often involved at this stage who have extensive knowledge of obesity.
They often take a multi-disciplinary approach to weight management to improve your chances of maintaining any weight loss in the long term.
This can often involve taking medication to boost weight loss, and this now includes Saxenda.
However, the ease of access can vary wildly depending on your CCG.
Your own doctor won’t be able to prescribe Saxenda after an appointment.
However, it’s a good idea to utilise the weight management services that may be available to you.
This should give you as much support as possible to help you achieve a healthy weight.
How to get prescribed Saxenda
Currently, to be prescribed Saxenda on the NHS, you need to be participating in a tier 3 weight management program.
There are ways that you can get Saxenda without going through the NHS.
However, you will still need to meet the criteria for a prescription.
These are currently:
- A BMI of 30+
- A BMI of 27+ with a weight-related health condition
- Must have tried lifestyle changes to lose weight previously
If you are wanting to access Saxenda on the NHS, you must also:
- Have a BMI over 35
- Have a high risk of cardiovascular disease
- Have prediabetes
- Be participating in a Tier 3 weight management program
Saxenda has been available from private prescribers for several years.
Whilst this does mean that you’d have to pay for your prescription, it’s often faster than waiting for a tier 3 referral.
It’s also important to know that even within tier 3 services, Saxenda isn’t a guarantee.
With private prescribers, as long as the medicine is safe and suitable for you, you can access a prescription for as long as you’re willing to pay for it.
Many people also don’t realise that Saxenda can be prescribed to suitable patients online via services like myBMI.
These services will ask you to complete an online consultation form with all of the relevant information.
Consultations will be reviewed by a prescriber who will decide whether or not Saxenda is suitable for you.
At myBMI, the prescribers who review all consultations specialise in weight management.
We are a specialist-led service that draws upon the knowledge and expertise of our prescribing pharmacists and healthcare team.
Who can prescribe Saxenda?
Saxenda must be prescribed by a registered prescriber.
This could be a doctor, pharmacist, nurse prescriber, or independent prescriber.
However, as we’ve already seen, there are more restrictions within the NHS when it comes to who can prescribe Saxenda.
If you’re sourcing your medication privately, a registered prescriber will make a decision on your medication.
This may not be a doctor but could be any of the types of prescribers listed above.
All medical professionals who are able to prescribe must follow guidelines and eligibility criteria.
If you’re accessing Saxenda through the NHS, it will likely be prescribed to you by a specialist physician.
You will still need to have a consultation in order to get a prescription.
You shouldn’t ever buy Saxenda from someone who has stopped using it, even if you are already taking it.
You should only ever take medicine that’s been prescribed especially for you by a healthcare professional.
How can I get Saxenda?
Depending on the route that you want to take, you could get Saxenda as soon as tomorrow.
However, this is only available for those taking the private route.
If you’re going through NHS services this can be a much more drawn-out process, as they will need to assess whether you meet their criteria for Saxenda prescriptions.
You can complete an online consultation form at myBMI right away.
We will ask you questions about your weight, lifestyle, and general health and we’ll ask which weight loss treatment you would prefer.
This allows our prescribers to make informed decisions on your care and whether they would be happy to prescribe weight loss treatments for you.
You may be given various different treatment options including Saxenda and similar GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Once you’ve completed your consultation, a member of our healthcare team will review it and make a decision regarding your treatment.
Alternatively, you could try to get Saxenda on the NHS by asking your GP about weight management services.
However, you may have to prepare for a wait of several months or more before you can access Saxenda.