A weight loss jab is being made available in the UK as part of a “controlled and limited launch”.

Eligible patients will soon be able to access the Wegovy drug, known as semaglutide, which will be prescribed via specialist NHS weight management services.

The jab, which is to be used alongside a reduced calorie diet and exercise, will be available from today.

Those eligible should have a body mass index (BMI) over 30 or a BMI of more than 27 and at least one weight-related co-morbidity.

The National Institute for Care and Excellence (Nice) gave Wegovy the green light for NHS use earlier this year.

Exmouth Journal: Not everyone will be eligible for the weight loss drug, which is in short supply Not everyone will be eligible for the weight loss drug, which is in short supply (Image: Alamy/PA)

Its guidance said it should be used for a “maximum” of two years.

Wegovy manufacturer Novo Nordisk said it believes the launch of the drug in the UK “will help provide an additional option to support people living with obesity”.

In June, the Government announced a £40 million pilot to expand access to weight-loss jabs is to tackle obesity.

Speaking at the time, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the drug could be a “game-changer”.

“Obesity puts huge pressure on the NHS,” he said.

“Using the latest drugs to support people to lose weight will be a game-changer by helping to tackle dangerous obesity-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer – reducing pressure on hospitals, supporting people to live healthier and longer lives, and helping to deliver on my priority to cut NHS waiting lists.”

However, Novo Nordisk has since confirmed semaglutide is in short supply and said it expects it “to be constrained for the foreseeable future”.

A “proportion of available supply” has been allocated to NHS services.

An NHS spokesperson said: “Despite global supply constraints, NHS England is taking action to begin implementing Nice guidance for weight management, while at the same time working to restore supplies of this class of drug for people with type 2 diabetes.

“Around 50,000 eligible patients in England could be prescribed Wegovy through NHS specialist weight management services, that are able to provide appropriate multidisciplinary care.”