Tucson, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — There has been a shortage of a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes for months because non-diabetics use the drug to take advantage of its side effects to lose weight.
The drug, which is sold under the name Ozempic, is trending on social media after several celebrities admitted they use it for weight loss.
While noting that it is not a weight loss drug, Ozempic’s website highlights the weight loss side effects, saying, “Adults can lose an average of up to 14 pounds from the drug.”
The rush to be part of this trend has left those being treated for type 2 diabetes empty-handed because pharmacies can’t keep up with demand.
“I’m in my second month now of not having any Ozembos, and I’ve been calling everywhere trying to find anyone, anyone,” said Cindy Harper Ayala, who has type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetics across the country are scrambling to get Ozempic. They’re seeing it in Tucson, said Ossie Wilson, director of pharmacy for El Rio Community Health.
“It was definitely hard. At El Rio Health, we definitely have a large population with diabetes and it was very difficult to get them,” Wilson said.
Supply and demand wreak havoc on pharmacies that are just waiting for the next batch of medicines to hit their doors.
“I called Canada to find out, you know, and at this point I’m now thinking about going back to Mexico,” said Harper-Ayala.
Medication is not a necessity for every diabetic patient. There are alternative medicines such as Victoza or Trulicity. The problem is that more people take the drug to lose weight than need it to survive.
“Whether it’s for weight loss or for other off-label uses, at some point some of these situations happen where they go from being off-label to being reviewed by the FDA and then added to the label and then become part of the use and then production changes based on that,” he says. Marvasti said.
Harper Ayala said she struggles to keep up on a daily basis because of this lack.
“There are times when I’m afraid to look at my blood sugar when I’m checking my blood because there are times when it’s in the 200s or more. That scares me because I know what diabetes does to your system,” said Harper-Ayala.
Health professionals suggest talking to your providers about switching medications.
“I think staying in touch with your provider is more important than just stopping the medication,” Wilson said.
Since this deficiency does not seem to go away overnight, those who take medication for weight loss may also want to consider alternatives.
“I would say that making dietary changes whether you have diabetes or trying to lose weight, including exercise, but dietary changes that include adding fiber or taking a fiber supplement with food can have the same kind of clinical results as medications without side effects.” effects,” Marvasti said.
You need a prescription for the drug, and without insurance, you’re looking at paying close to $1,000 for it.
Monthly checkups and blood tests are recommended to make sure your body is reacting properly.
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