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Ensuring patient safety | Inappropriate prescribing of liraglutide (Sexanda) for weight loss.

Concerns have emerged about the inappropriate prescribing of liraglutide (Saxenda). It is important for doctors to take all necessary measures to safeguard patients.

Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist approved by the FDA for weight management in specific patient populations. Its indicated use includes adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with weight-related comorbidities. It is not intended for cosmetic weight loss or for individuals who fall outside these criteria.

Inappropriate prescribing of any medication, including Liraglutide, poses significant risks to patient health. 

Liraglutide may cause serious adverse effects, ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and vomiting to potentially life-threatening complications such as hypoglycemia. It is a doctor’s duty to ensure that liraglutide is prescribed judiciously, adhering to the approved guidelines and considering individual patient characteristics.

Before issuing any prescription, first, be satisfied that it is appropriate for the patient to have that medicine. Council’s statement on good prescribing practice outlines clinical and ethical considerations, what good prescribing involves, and the legal requirements that doctors must comply with.  

Council recommends doctors stay updated with the latest prescribing guidelines for liraglutide and that they familiarise themselves with the medication's indications, contraindications, and potential side effects.

This applies to new prescriptions and ongoing medications on a repeat prescription. Council expects doctors to regularly review prescriptions to ensure they are still appropriate for the patient.