Demand for diabetes medications leads to shortages

Ozempic, a prescription drug for the therapy of sort 2 diabetes, is getting plenty of consideration for one among its unwanted effects: weight reduction.

It grew to become a social media sensation, with the “Ozempic” theme garnering over 300 million views on TikTok. Many non-diabetics use it off-label — the observe of utilizing an permitted drug for an unapproved use — and credit score it for weight reduction success.

Since Ozempic went viral, some docs have been flooded with questions.

“In Los Angeles, in Beverly Hills, it is turn into a extremely popular and heavy factor,” stated Dr. Nancy Rahnama, an weight problems specialist in Beverly Hills, CA.

This makes it troublesome for individuals with diabetes to get the prescriptions they want.

Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic, stated elevated demand for the drug and provide chain issues had affected provides. The US Food and Drug Administration lists the medicine as “at the moment in brief provide” on its web site.

Ozempic is the model identify of semaglutide, a drug for adults with sort 2 diabetes that sufferers inject themselves underneath the pores and skin. It belongs to a category of medication referred to as GLP-1 receptor agonists and works by mimicking the pure hormone that’s launched by the physique when an individual eats.

“It regulates blood sugar, nevertheless it additionally targets the realm of ​​the mind that sends indicators about whether or not you are full or not, so it is undoubtedly useful for weight reduction,” NBC News medical assistant Dr. Natalie Azar.

Ozempik’s sister drug, Vegovy, which one there’s Approved by the FDA for weight reduction in overweight individuals, it additionally comprises semaglutide, however the injection pens are barely completely different and are available in numerous doses. It can be listed as “at the moment poor” by the FDA.

Novo Nordisk, which makes Wegovy, has requested docs not to begin new sufferers on the drug after “unprecedented demand for the product and short-term manufacturing points,” it stated on its web site. The firm expects to have all doses of Wegovy obtainable within the US by the top of the 12 months.

While the typical weight reduction with Ozempic is 14 kilos, it is greater with Wegovy — about 15% of the affected person’s physique weight, Azar says. “It’s an amazing software within the toolbox for individuals who want medically managed weight reduction. But the shortages are actually — partly provide, however how a lot of that’s enjoying into it?” he.

Although Wegovy and Ozempic comprise the identical lively components, Novo Nordisk says they aren’t interchangeable. “We don’t suggest, suggest, or encourage the off-label use of our medications,” the corporate stated in an announcement.

However, the FDA advised NBC News that healthcare professionals can prescribe off-label medicine when “medically acceptable.”

Is it protected?

YouTube person Ana McKenna, who documented her journey to lose 45 kilos with Ozempic, advised TODAY it was her “best weight reduction try and my most profitable.” But he additionally famous unwanted effects like complications and fatigue, and agreed that it isn’t a magic tablet.

Other unwanted effects of Ozempic embrace nausea, vomiting, pancreatitis and kidney failure, Azar warned. “It can damage you,” he stated.

Ozempic prices about $900 a month, in accordance to the drug producer’s web site. For off-label use, that is often not coated by insurance coverage.

The drug wants to be taken indefinitely — individuals have to use it for it to work, in any other case they might regain the load they misplaced or much more, Azar famous. Drugs should not one thing that may restore an individual for life, he added.

The massive query: How do individuals with out diabetes or weight problems get this drug? Of course, some individuals get prescriptions incorrect, Azar famous.

“(Physicians) prescribe medicine off-label, however have to make a shared resolution and the affected person has to perceive that there are potential dangers. It’s up to the supplier,” he stated.

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