Demand for diabetes medications leads to shortages

Ozempic, a prescription drug for the remedy of sort 2 diabetes, is getting plenty of consideration for one in all its unintended effects: weight reduction.

It turned 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 authorized drug for an unapproved use — and credit score it for weight reduction success.

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

“In Los Angeles, in Beverly Hills, it is turn out to be a very popular and heavy factor,” mentioned 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, mentioned elevated demand for the drug and provide chain issues had affected provides. The US Food and Drug Administration lists the medicine as “at present briefly provide” on its web site.

Ozempic is the model identify of semaglutide, a drug for adults with sort 2 diabetes that sufferers inject themselves beneath the pores and skin. It belongs to a category of medication known as GLP-1 receptor agonists and works by mimicking the pure hormone the physique releases 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 helpful for weight reduction,” NBC News medical assistant Dr. Natalie Azar.

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

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

While the typical weight reduction with Ozempic is 14 kilos, it is increased with Wegovy — about 15% of the affected person’s physique weight, Azar says. “It’s an excellent instrument 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 taking part in into it?” he.

Although Wegovy and Ozempic include the identical lively components, Novo Nordisk says they don’t seem to be interchangeable. “We don’t advocate, advocate, or encourage the off-label use of our medications,” the corporate mentioned in an announcement.

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

Is it secure?

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

Other unintended effects of Ozempic embody nausea, vomiting, pancreatitis and kidney failure, Azar warned. “It can harm you,” he mentioned.

Ozempic prices about $900 a month, in accordance to the drug producer’s web site. For off-label use, that is normally 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 are usually 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 improper, 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 mentioned.

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