• Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Weight loss drugs shortage hits Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: In a country with 25 percent obese population, most of the modern weight-loss medicines are not available in Pakistan, compelling patients to rely on anecdotal treatment and remedies.

Healthcare experts say although lifestyle modification including a low-calorie diet and regular exercise is the best combination to reduce weight but in cases with body mass index (BMI) is above 27.5, medicines are needed for the weight loss. Unfortunately, most of the modern drugs especially GLP-1 analogs for the weight-loss are not available in the country, compelling people to rely on different remedies.

“In Pakistan where 8 out of 10 of the over-weight people have their body mass index (BMI) above 27.5, weight-loss medicines are a necessity but most of the modern weight loss drugs are not available in the country,” Dr Nadeem Naeem, a leading endocrinologist told The News.

He said such drugs were originally developed as a treatment for Type-2 diabetes but after their efficacy for weight loss they were widely used by over-weight people causing their world-wide shortage.

As soon as their weight loss properties were known to people in the US and developed world, their demand and price increased and supplies were diverted there,” said Dr Nadeem.

Recommending balanced diet and daily exercise, renowned diabetologist Prof Zaman Shaikh said in the absence of modern weight-loss medicines, people should take low-calorie diet, avoid eating junk food, consume fresh fruits & vegetables and resort to daily exercise for losing weight, controlling diabetes, and blood pressure and prevention of heart attack.

“It is a known fact that if a person loses 15 to 20 percent body weight, his diabetes is reversed. At a time when modern weight loss medicines are not available, diet control and exercise are the best option,” Prof Shaikh added.

On the other hand, some diabetologists believe that some lesser known but FDA-approved drugs were available in the market which could effectively be used with lifestyle modification to control weight and prevention of many non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

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