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Obesity drug prescriptions soar in Scotland

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The number of prescriptions written for drugs to combat obesity in Scotland is more 25 times higher than it was a decade ago, it has been revealed

There were 110,324 prescriptions in 2007-08 for drugs aimed at tackling obesity compared to just 4,358 in 1998-99, official NHS statistics showed.

It is estimated 10,263 overweight Scots are being prescribed medication to help them lose weight.

Three drugs are used for the treatment of obesity, including two appetite suppressants and one which works by inhibiting the absorption of dietary fat.

Surprisingly, the cost of the drugs decreased from £4.89 million in 2006-07 to £4.54 million in 2007-08, despite the increase in the number of prescriptions issued. This reduction is due to a fall in the price of the drugs used.

A 23% increase in the number of items prescribed to help smokers quit last year was also shown in the health service figures. There were 300,774 such prescriptions in 2008 - up from 244,283 the previous year.

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