Home-based weight loss treatments during COVID-19

Written by: Mr Ahmed R. Ahmed
Published: | Updated: 19/05/2020
Edited by: Cameron Gibson-Watt

You may be worried about the possible complications of being overweight and catching COVID-19 or you may have put on weight during confinement and now don't know where to go to get help. While elective weight loss surgery is definitely off the cards for a while, there are some alternatives.


Mr Ahmed R. Ahmed, one of London's leading weight loss surgeons, explains the effective home-based alternatives he can offer you so that you can start your journey to losing weight right from home without putting yourself at risk of COVID-19.



What extra precautions are in place at your clinic?

As a weight loss expert, I can see that the above concerns are resting heavily on a lot of people’s minds. Therefore, my job is to make any patient encounter or intervention as safe and helpful as possible. Our clinic wants to ensure you about the measures we have undertaken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


First and foremost, to reduce face-to-face interaction, my team and I offer remote online consultations for almost all the health conditions that we treat.



Secondly, the Bupa Cromwell Hospital is a COVID-19-free hospital as we strictly test all patients by taking swabs before their admission and no visitors are allowed onto the patient floors. Anyone, including all healthcare staff, has to undergo rigorous assessment for clinical symptoms and fever measurement before they are allowed into the building. This high level of protection ensures an extremely safe environment where you can be confident that all precautions are in place to minimise your risk of contracting COVID-19.


Furthermore, to offer more reassurance, we can arrange a chauffeur-driven pick-up service* to bring you to our hospital so you don’t have to use public transport. Our driver will wear PPE and also provide you with the same protective clothing to wear from your home to our clinic.


Does excess weight increase the risk of COVID-19 complications?

Three recent studies have found a worrying link between excess weight and COVID-19. The conclusions of these studies found that obesity and excess weight nearly doubles the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes.


Reducing your BMI, however, by just an average of 5 points (for an average woman and man that’s approx. 12-16 Kgs) could cut the requirement of ICU-level care by half.


What are the best home-based weight loss treatments?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, my clinic is encouraging patients to consider two low-risk techniques that do not require admission to the hospital:


  • Drug-based weight loss
  • The Elipse balloon pill


How does drug-based weight loss work?

From online consultations with our specialist bariatric dieticians, psychologists and personal fitness trainers to using state of the art medication, our clinic covers all aspects of medical weight loss. We offer all assessments via remote online consultations and can also post prescriptions to your home or even have the medication delivered to your door.


For some of my patients, I am offering a simple injection once a week to help them lose weight. This injection consists of a pharmaceutical drug initially used to treat people with type 2 diabetes but it can also help obese people without diabetes to lose weight. It is Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide compound and goes under the brand name Ozempic.



This drug is designed to act in the body similarly to the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Traditionally taken once a week via injection, this GLP-1 hormone receptor agonist works by regulating insulin secretion and suppressing appetite. It is also similar to other drugs, such as Victoza or Saxenda, but has a particular benefit in which the self-administered injection only needs to be taken once weekly rather than once a day (off label use). Current studies are demonstrating an average of 8-10 Kgs of weight loss with this treatment.


For other patients who do not wish to use injectables, the drug Mysimba (made by Orexigen) is also available via prescription. Mysimba is a prescription-only weight-loss medication containing naltrexone and bupropion. You take 1-2 tablets once or twice a day up to a maximum of four tablets per day. Bupropion helps to reduce your appetite so that you do not feel as hungry and are satisfied with less food.


For more information on new medications for weight loss, please contact me.


What does the Elipse balloon pill consist of?

Unlike traditional balloons that need to be inserted and removed using an endoscopic procedure and anaesthesia, the Elipse balloon pill is simply swallowed in our office or X-ray suite. We perform an X-ray to confirm that the pill has transformed into a balloon after swallowing it.



The balloon then stays inside your stomach, promoting fullness and satiety and after four months, spontaneously dissolves and is excreted during a bowel movement. Recent studies have demonstrated an average of 8-12 Kgs weight loss with the Elipse balloon pill.


What are the advantages of these home-based weight loss interventions?

We believe that offering the above interventions (as opposed to more invasive procedures) has the following advantages for you during the COVID-19 pandemic:


  • Easier environment to control and monitor
  • They are home-based which means there is less risk of exposure to infection
  • No health risks from having endoscopy or undergoing anaesthesia


If you are interested in these home-based weight loss treatments, go to Mr Ahmed R. Ahmed’s Top Doctors profile and book an e-Consultation with him.


*pick-up subject to an extra cost.

By Mr Ahmed R. Ahmed

Mr Ahmed R. Ahmed is one of London's leading surgeons. Practising on Harley Street and other reputable clinics, he specialises in laparoscopic (keyhole) gastrointestinal and hernia surgery as well as having a specialist interest in weight loss. He has been committed to education and training, winning numerous prizes and awards throughout his career and now he serves as a senior lecturer at Imperial College London. He runs his own research team investigating mechanisms of weight loss surgery as well as researching newer technologies for helping people lose weight. He forms an integral part of numerous professional bodies including the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society and has been widely published in numerous field-related, peer-reviewed journals. Mr Ahmed was elected to council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and also sits on council of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society.

Mr Ahmed will provide you with a friendly and honest opinion regarding your suitability for surgery, putting your safety and well-being as the first priority. He pays particular attention to pre and postoperative care in order to optimise the outcome of your operation and provide you with a smooth recovery after surgery. Mr Ahmed has >99% success in achieving a complete laparoscopic result without converting to open surgery.

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