Funding your weight loss treatment
Whether you’ve decided upon your weight loss treatment or you’re still browsing the market, the question you might be asking is how you’ll pay for your treatment – is it funded by the NHS? Do you have to pay privately? What about if you have insurance?
In this guide we’ll list all of the weight loss treatments available, explain the differences between Wegovy and Saxenda, and discuss all of the potential payment options available to you.
Choosing your weight loss treatment isn’t something to be taken lightly. That's why it’s important to learn about funding your weight loss treatment to ensure it’s not only right for you and your lifestyle, but that the cost is, too!
Types of weight loss treatments
You may have tried fat binders or over-the-counter medicines like orlistat, otherwise known by its brand names Alli and Orlos. If these haven’t worked for you, prescription-only medicines can help with your weight loss, including prescription-strength orlistat (Xenical) and Mysimba.
Additionally, one of the most effective types of prescription-only medicines for weight loss include a type of drug called GLP-1 receptor agonists. In simpler terms, the two active ingredients are liraglutide (Saxenda) and semaglutide (Wegovy).
They work by affecting your blood glucose levels, making you feel fuller for longer and suppressing your appetite. In turn, this can make a big difference to your relationship with food, ultimately enabling you to lose weight.
How much will Wegovy cost in the UK?
Wegovy is the newest weight loss treatment on the block – you know what it is and how it works, but how much does it cost? If you think Wegovy is the right weight loss treatment for you, read on to discover the potential payment options.
Getting Wegovy on the NHS
NICE approved Wegovy as a suitable treatment for weight loss in February 2022. So, once Wegovy is released, the NHS will begin to allow patients to access it through weight management services, such as the tier 3 obesity service.
Just like Saxenda, patients will only qualify if they fall under a certain criteria. If you’re interested in using Wegovy to lose weight, you should speak to your GP for advice.
Buying Wegovy privately
Like Saxenda, some patients are able to buy Wegovy privately by heading to our clinic.
By completing a consultation about your health and your family’s medical history, one of our prescribing pharmacists can see if Wegovy is the right weight loss treatment for you.
Don’t want to miss out? You can sign up to receive email notifications as soon as Wegovy is available to purchase through our clinic.
If you're interested in trying semaglutide for weight loss right now, you can head to our friends at myBMI to complete a consultation for Ozempic. Whilst, as we've learned, Ozempic is licensed for use in diabetes, it contains the same drug as Wegovy so it can be prescribed for weight loss, too.
This is a common process called off-label prescribing, which is when medications are prescribed to treat conditions that they aren’t currently licensed for.
As weekly injections have been researched and licensed in the US for weight management, independent prescribers in the UK can provide them off-label to suitable patients who have a BMI of 30 or above and have struggled to lose weight in other ways.
If you have private health insurance, you may be wondering if you’re able to access weight loss treatments, such as Wegovy, through your insurer. You may have to meet a certain criteria or they may not offer Wegovy as an option for weight loss. As every insurer is different, we’d recommend you speak to your insurer for advice.
How much does Saxenda cost in the UK?
Thinking of choosing Saxenda to help with your weight loss journey? If you think Saxenda is right for your lifestyle and your body, you should acquaint yourself with the potential payment options. Keep reading to find out more.
Getting Saxenda on the NHS
Saxenda is available on the NHS for free in some circumstances. It’s offered to patients through NHS weight management services, such as the tier 3 obesity service. There are, however, certain conditions you have to meet to get Saxenda on prescription:
- You have to have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, or 32.5 for some ethnic groups
- You’re at risk of type 2 diabetes, otherwise known as prediabetes
- You’re at a high risk of developing a stroke or a heart attack due to high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure
If you think you’re eligible to be prescribed Saxenda on the NHS, you should speak to your GP for advice.
Buying Saxenda privately
Saxenda is available on prescription, and it’s only suitable for certain people. Don’t worry, you can buy Saxenda privately by heading to our clinic. By completing a consultation about your health and your family’s medical history, one of our prescribing pharmacists can see if Saxenda is the right weight loss treatment for you.
What’s the difference between Wegovy and Saxenda?
Although Wegovy and Saxenda share many similarities–such as how they work within the body to encourage weight loss–there are some key differences. The two contain different active ingredients, liraglutide for Saxenda and semaglutide for Wegovy.
Compared to Saxenda, Wegovy is longer lasting, meaning you’ll only have to inject once per week instead of daily. This is because semaglutide stays in the body for seven days, whereas liraglutide stays in the body for only twenty-four hours.
Both semaglutide and liraglutide are used to treat type 2 diabetes in addition to weight loss. For the treatment of diabetes, semaglutide is known by the brand name Ozempic and liraglutide is known by Victoza. The dosage for weight loss and diabetes differ, which we’ll explain below.
Dosage for weight loss vs diabetes
The Wegovy injection for weight loss consist of pre-filled pens delivering doses of 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1.7mg or 2.4mg. These doses are slowly increased until you’ve reached a dose of 2.4mg weekly.
While the Ozempic injection for type 2 diabetes can range from a 2mg single-patient-use pen delivering a dose of 0.25mg or 0.5mg, or 1mg per injection. The other is a 4mg single-patient-use pen delivering 1mg per injection. The dose is slowly increased to a maximum of 1mg weekly.
The doses of Victoza can range from 0.6mg, 1.2mg or 1.8mg in a single-patient-use injection. Saxenda is prescribed at a higher dosage that will gradually be increased over the course of your treatment. The recommended dosage for Saxenda is 3mg per day.
Orlistat and Xenical
What’s the cost difference between prescription and over-the-counter orlistat?
The weight loss brands Alli and Orlos contain the active ingredient orlistat, which you’re able to get over-the-counter. This will be at a lower dosage (60mg) than Xenical, the branded version of prescription-only orlistat, which is at a higher dosage (120mg).
You’re able to get over-the-counter orlistat (Alli and Orlos) from us today, starting from £22.29. If we compare this to prescription-only orlistat (Xenical), prices start from £34.99, but not everyone will be eligible to take the higher dose.
Top tip: look for the generic version of prescription-strength orlistat, as it doesn’t come with the premium brand cost. Here, prices start from £32.99.
Getting orlistat on the NHS
No, orlistat is not available on the NHS. To get orlistat, you need a prescription from your GP or a private prescription. Alternatively, you can get lower-strength orlistat over-the-counter from most pharmacies - including us!
Buying orlistat privately
One of the best ways to get orlistat is by going private. By having a weight loss consultation with us, if you’re eligible, you’re able to buy low or high dose orlistat. This saves time as you won’t need to make an appointment with your GP or wait around for a prescription – it’s quick, easy, and you’ll know if you qualify for orlistat in just a few minutes.
How much does Mysimba cost?
The cost of Mysimba starts from £104.99 for 112 tablets, increasing to £209.99 for 224 tablets. With Mysimba, you’ll start by taking one tablet each day. After each week, you’ll take one more tablet, until you’re taking four tablets per day from week four onwards. This is something you should bear in mind, as you may need to purchase more.
Getting Mysimba on the NHS
No, Mysimba is not available on the NHS. If you’re interested in taking Mysimba for weight loss, you would need to get a private prescription. The bad news is that it comes at a cost, as we mentioned above. But the good news is that if you meet the correct criteria, a weight loss consultation with us only takes a few minutes.
Buying Mysimba privately
Buying Mysimba privately is the only option, unfortunately! A while back, there was an appeal to push for NHS funding for Mysimba as a way to encourage weight loss in overweight adults, but it was unsuccessful.
We know that cost can be a big factor when choosing your weight loss treatment, but we hope this guide has helped you understand the different routes you can consider.
If you feel that a weight loss treatment is the right option for you, the next step will be a consultation with one of our prescribing pharmacists to see if you’re suitable to start treatment, or of course, you can speak to your GP to see if you fit the criteria to be referred to a weight management service.