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Scots increase slimming pill uptake

There were 25 times more prescriptions written for obesity drugs in Scotland last year compared to a decade ago, figures have shown.

Doctors handed out 110,324 prescriptions for drugs aimed at tackling obesity in 2007-08, according to official NHS statistics.

The figure is 6% higher than the previous year and compares to just 4,358 prescriptions for these drugs in 1998-99.

Data published by the health service outlining the prescription of drugs shows three treatments were used to treat obesity - two appetite suppressants and one which works by inhibiting the absorption of dietary fat.

The estimated numbers of Scots prescribed medication to help them lose weight stands at around 10,260.

However, a fall in the price of obesity drugs meant the cost of these went from £4.89m in 2006-07 to £4.54m in 2007-08.

At the same time, there was a corresponding 23% rise in the number of items prescribed in a bid to help smokers quit last year, from 244,283 in 2007 to 300,774 in 2008.

But rises in ingredient costs meant the amount of cash spent on the drugs rose from £7.2m in 2007 to £9.4m in 2008.

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