In 1987 a programme for GPs to treat their obese patients was developed, as a result of the successful loss of substantial weight by obese study subjects. The protocols used in this research, and subsequent Lipotrim programme, produced very high compliance and weight losses generally at theoretically maximal levels. The extensive research programme carried out by Lipotrim was publicly commended and validated by the scientists who authored the scientific report in support of the SCOOP (Scientific Cooperation) committee’s deliberations for European directives on Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCDs) in obesity.
With the growing burden on general practice resources, and the increasing recognition of the consequences of the obesity epidemic, several groups of GPs were consulted in “think tank” sessions to develop ideas to widen the availability of the Lipotrim programme. The universal conclusion was an expansion into pharmacy. As highly educated healthcare professionals, pharmacists are well placed to treat uncomplicated weight problems in the seriously overweight. With much greater availability on the high street, pharmacists are also better placed to deal with obesity prevention and long term weight maintenance.
To date, audited results from the Lipotrim Pharmacy Programme have demonstrated phenomenal weight losses resulting in clinically significant outcomes, especially for hypertensive and type 2 diabetics. Lipotrim incurs no cost to the health service and this highly important work, carried out in pharmacies across the UK and Ireland every day, is helping tackle the current concern about the financial state of the NHS and pharmacies.
Lipotrim is not available to the general public over the counter. The healthcare professional, pharmacist or GP, retains complete control over the patient’s use of the programme. Over the years, Lipotrim’s value in Type 2 diabetes control, blood pressure reduction and a host of other clinical benefits has sustained its medical use.
In 2001 the Lipotrim programmes were extended to include training for pharmacists, earning a “Highly Commended” in the 2002 SMART awards sponsored by Numark and Pharmacy Magazine. Over 20 Royal Pharmaceutical Society branch educational sessions on obesity management were conducted by Howard Foundation Research’s scientists, Dr Stephen Kreitzman and Valerie Beeson. All training given by HFR is completely free of charge.
Dr Stephen Kreitzman Ph.D, R.Nutr.
Dr Stephen Kreitzman Ph.D, R.Nutr. is a nutritional biochemist. After training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, he taught nutrition to US medical students, researched obesity, body composition and metabolism in both the US and UK. He has been senior research associate at Cambridge University in the UK and is a UK registered nutritionist. His work has been published in, amongst others, the Lancet, the International Journal of Obesity, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the European Journal of Applied Physiology and the Royal College of General Practitioners Members’ Reference Book.
Valerie Beeson is a research scientist, widely published in the field of obesity and metabolism. She is an experienced medical educator and trainer, participating in numerous PGEA programmes on obesity management. As clinical programme director for Lipotrim, she is the primary liaison for practice staff and pharmacists, involved in the organization of new programmes and ongoing support of all existing programmes.