Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Anti-obesity drug use in Tayside soars

20 February 2010

The number of prescribed items of anti-obesity drugs has risen considerably in the past decade, according to official figures released by Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP.

Commenting on the figures Ms. Glen said, “Obesity is a major public health concern.

“The escalating rate of obesity could wipe out the improvements in health gained from many years’ work to reduce heart disease and smoking.

” The statistics are worrying because of the significantly increased risk that obesity carries for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and certain cancers.

“Factors such as physical inactivity, and dietary preferences for high calorie, high carbohydrate consumption strongly influence the development of obesity.

“There are no quick or simple solutions to obesity, but there are many worthwhile initiatives seeking to influence people to change to a healthier lifestyle and eating habits that must continue.”

The number of items of anti-obesity drugs ( Orlistat, Sibutramine, Rimonabant) prescribed in NHS Tayside over the past decade was 296 in 1998-99 which rose to 5,470 in 2007-08

The cost of these drugs in NHS Tayside was £11,754 in 1998-99. By 2007-08 it had risen to £222,592.

Orlistat is a drug that helps obese people to lose weight. Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant. Rimonabant is an anorectic drug with the role of keeping off weight once it has been lost.

Obesity is also a major factor in type 2 diabetes, and in angina, myocardial infarctions ( heart attacks) and strokes.

Scottish Government research estimates that 15 per cent of cases of angina may be attributable to obesity, 18 per cent of heart attacks and 6 per cent of strokes.

Using these assumptions, in 2009 in NHS Tayside, then : 190 out of 1,268 cases of angina may be attributable to obesity.

284 out of 1,580 cases of myocardial infarction may be attributable to obesity.

85 out of 1,424 cases of stroke may be attributable to obesity.

Obesity also sharply increases the risk of :

*type 2 diabetes ( 12.7 increase in relative risk for women, 5.2 for men )

 *high blood pressure ( 4.2 increase in relative risk for women, 2.6 for men )

 *heart attack ( myiocardial infarction) ( 3.2 increase in relative risk for women, 1.5 for men )

*colon cancer ( 2.7 increase in relative risk for women, 3.0 for men )

*angina ( 1.8 increase in relative risk for women, 1.8 for men )

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