A Southampton aesthetics clinic was found to be prescribing a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes to patients looking to lose weight.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found staff at Rejuvenate Aesthetics Clinic were not always prescribing and administering medicines in line with national guidance.

In some cases, medicines were prescribed to be used in a way that differs from what's stated in their licence - a practice known as off-label use - without "a clear rationale" explaining the decision.

The CQC rated the clinic on Market Buildings 'requires improvement' following the inspection on August 18 - its first since the service was registered in May 2022.

The manager at the clinic said steps have been taken to address the CQC findings. 

'Off-label use'

Inspectors found injections of Semaglutide (under the brand name of Ozempic) were prescribed to promote weight loss, even though the drug is not licensed for use as a weight loss treatment in the UK.

The report said: “Current national guidance states that where Semaglutide is prescribed as a treatment for managing weight this should only be prescribed to patients with a body mass index (BMI) over 30, or over 27 if there is a weight-related disease such as high blood pressure.

“We reviewed four individual care records for patients prescribed this injection and found two patients had a BMI below 27 when their first prescription was issued.

“There was no clear rationale documented in the individual care records to support this decision.”

The clinic was also found to be prescribing Kenalog injections to treat hay fever.

This drug is no longer used by the NHS for this purpose due to the risk of serious side effects.

The report said: “Our review of clinical records found there was a lack of documented treatment rationale to support the off-label use of Kenalog for the treatment of hay fever.

“Records did not always clearly document what other treatments had been previously tried nor the extent of patients’ hay fever symptoms to support the treatment plan and clinical decision making.”

'Very positive feedback'

Despite these issues being highlighted by inspectors, the service was found to have processes in place that ensured patients were treated with compassion, dignity and respect.

Feedback from patients was found to be very positive.

When contacted by the Echo, Jasmine Smith, manager at the clinic, said: “Patient safety and satisfaction are our primary considerations, so we welcome any feedback which means we can achieve the very highest standards in our industry.

“We were pleased that the CQC report recognised our services as caring, and responsive to our patients’ needs while appreciating that the report also identified that some of our processes could be improved.

“We have taken action to address these and are confident that we have responded fully to the report’s recommendations.”

Only services such as injections for hay fever, treatment for excessive sweating, vitamin B12 injections and prescription weight loss were inspected by the CQC.

Non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as fillers, dermaplaning, microneedling and skin booster injections are not regulated by the watchdog and were not part of the inspection.