Novo Nordisk’s obesity management treatment Saxenda (liraglutide) has been recommended for use by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Saxenda will be offered to adults with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia who have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35kg per m2 and have a high risk of cardiovascular disease due to risk factors including high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.

According to NICE, the pre-filled injection pens will be prescribed in secondary care by a specialist multidisciplinary tier 3 weight management service.

Individuals who have been referred to a tier 3 service have usually been offered weight management interventions in a local, intensive lifestyle change programme first.

Previously, NICE had not been able to recommend the treatment because the cost-effectiveness estimate was ‘highly uncertain’ and potentially much higher than what the agency considers a cost-effective use of NHS resources, NICE said in a statement.

The draft guidance details that treatment with Saxenda should be discontinued if at least 5% body weight has not been lost after 12 weeks on the full dose. In addition, it recommends that treatment for all patients will stop after two years.

“Our independent committee was presented with clinical evidence which showed that people lose more weight with liraglutide plus lifestyle measures than with lifestyle measures alone,” said Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE.

“Liraglutide may also delay the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and this is the main benefit of treatment.

“After NICE was previously unable to recommend liraglutide, we are pleased the company was able to agree a confidential discount which allowed the committee to recommend it,” he added.