Nice is currently evaluating a separate weight-loss drug from the same drug class, Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide, which could rival Wegovy after promising data from preliminary trials.
Anyone referred to use the app will be clinically evaluated and supported through a treatment program that will last from six to 24 months. This includes mental health support for any related issues, such as an eating disorder or self-harm.
People prescribed a jab will also need to follow a low-calorie diet and physical activity regimen.
One of the apps, Liva, claims that users lose 3.8 kilograms (8 pounds) on average after three months.
Mark Chapman, acting director of medical technology and digital assessment in Nice, said: “Traditional face-to-face services treating people living with obesity cannot keep up with demand. Waiting lists are long, some areas have no service and patients need a solution.
“These four platforms could provide an option to access weight management support for those who live in an area without specialized weight management services or for those who are on a waiting list and are happy to be treated safely. outside of a hospital setting.
‘Advice on critical points’
Professor Jason Halford, president of the European Association for the Study of Obesity, said the apps could provide “hot spot advice” and “track progress and difficulties in real time, alerting the management team to specific issues.” .
“Patients often feel more secure and less judged, and unless services are co-located, they are subject to a large amount of travel to and from various appointments,” Professor Halford said.
However, he cautioned that online platforms “should not be a cheap deal.”
Preliminary evidence suggests that the apps are as effective over two years of treatment as face-to-face services and could save 145,000 hours of clinical time, the equivalent of 6,000 days.
Nice will continue to collect evidence over the next four years to determine the cost-benefit of the apps.