An estimated 10,263 overweight people in Scotland are on prescribed medication to help them to lose weight, statistics have revealed.
Official figures from the NHS show the number of prescriptions written for obesity drugs is more than 25 times higher than it was nearly a decade ago. In 2007–2008, there were 110,324 prescriptions in the country for combating obesity, compared to just 4,358 in 1998–1999.
There are three drugs prescribed to help the treatment of obesity – two to suppress appetite and one which reduces the absorption of dietary fat. The cost of the drugs dropped from £4.89m in 2006-07 to £4.54m in 2007-08.
The health service figures also showed there was an increase of 23% in the number of items prescribed to help smokers quit last year. There were some 300,774 prescriptions for the habit in 2008 – up from 244,283 in 2007.
As a result, the gross ingredient costs for these drugs and products soared from £7.2m in 2007 to £9.4m in 2008.