New obesity pill twice as effective as existing medication
Written By: Abbie Smith
Two drugs, Phentermine and topiramate, otherwise known as Topamax, were combined together to make a new anti-obesity drug.
Six ways to beat hay fever this summer
Super foods: The truth
Alcohol and its calories: Lager, Ale and Cider among the most calorific beverages
To read the latest edition of Exec Digital click here
Phentermine is the most widely-prescribed drug in the US for short-term weight loss, while Topamax is an anti-convulsion medication, used to treat seizure disorders and migraines. Topamaxn has already shown to contribute to weight loss in obese patients suffering from type-2 diabetes.
Recent clinical trials have found that the new drug was twice as effective as orlistat, which is also known as Xencial or Alli in some countries.
The combination of drugs was also found to have extra health benefits other than weight loss, most notably improved indications of blood pressure and sugar levels.
The study involved three groups of patients and each were given different doses of the drug. One group received a high dose, one group received a low dose while the final group was given a placebo drug.
After 56 weeks of the study, the group taking the lowest dose of the drug had lost on average 8.1kg, while the weight-loss of the group on the high dose was on average 10.2kg. The patients that were taking the placebo drug lost only 1.4kg on average.
In terms of physical side effects, patients on the lowest dose of the tablet didn’t experience any major adverse side effects other than the occasional dry mouth or bout of constipation.
The side effects among the high-dose patients were a bit more severe and this group experienced a higher drop-out rate, due to adverse cognitive and psychiatric reactions.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”