Ozempic, a prescription drug to deal with sort 2 diabetes, is getting quite a lot of consideration for one in all its unwanted effects: weightloss.
It is change into a social media sensation, with the subject “Ozempic” garnering over 300 million views on TikTok. Many individuals with out diabetes use it with out label — the follow of taking an accredited drug for an unapproved use — and attributing your weight reduction success to it.
Since Ozempic went viral, some medical doctors have been inundated with inquiries.
“It is change into one thing extremely popular and heavy in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills,” stated Dr. Nancy Rahnama, an internist and weight problems drugs specialist in Beverly Hills, Calif.
This creates issues for diabetics who’ve issue getting the prescriptions they want.
Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic, says elevated drug demand and provide chain points have impacted provides. The US Meals and Drug Administration lists the drug as “presently in brief provide” on its web site.
Ozempic is the model title for semaglutide, a drug for adults with sort 2 diabetes that sufferers self-inject beneath the pores and skin. It’s a part of a category of medicine known as GLP-1 receptor agonists and works by mimicking a pure hormone that the physique releases when an individual eats meals.
“It regulates your blood sugar, however it additionally targets the world of the mind that sends the sign to really feel full or not, so it is positively useful for weight reduction,” stated NBC Information medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar.
Ozempic’s sister drug, Wegovywho has has been accredited for weight reduction in overweight folks by the FDA, additionally accommodates semaglutide, though the pens are barely completely different and are available in several doses. Additionally it is listed as “presently in brief provide” by the FDA.
Novo Nordisk, which additionally makes Wegovy, requested medical doctors to not begin new sufferers with the drug following “unprecedented product demand and short-term manufacturing points”. listed on their web site. The corporate plans to make all doses of Wegovy obtainable in the US by the top of the yr.
Whereas the common weight reduction with Ozempic is 14 kilos, it is larger with Wegovy — about 15 p.c of a affected person’s physique weight, Azar stated. “For individuals who want this medically managed weight reduction, it is an incredible device within the toolbox. However the shortages are actual – partly provide, however how a lot does that play? she questioned.
Though Wegovy and Ozempic include the identical lively ingredient, Novo Nordisk claims that they don’t seem to be interchangeable. “We don’t promote, recommend or encourage the off-label use of our medicines,” the corporate stated in a press release.
Nevertheless, the FDA advised NBC Information that healthcare professionals can select to prescribe off-label medicine when they’re “medically applicable.”
Is it secure?
YouTube consumer Ana McKenna, who documented her 45-pound weight reduction journey with Ozempic, advised TODAY it was her “best and most profitable weight reduction try”. However she additionally agreed it was not a magic capsule, noting unwanted effects resembling complications and fatigue.
Different unwanted effects from Ozempic embody nausea, vomiting, pancreatitis and kidney failure, Azar warned. “It will probably doubtlessly hurt you,” she stated.
Ozempic can value round $900 per 30 days, based on the drugmaker’s web site. For off-label use, this might usually not be coated by insurance coverage.
The drug must be taken indefinitely — folks want to remain on it for it to maintain working, in any other case they’ll doubtlessly regain the burden they misplaced or much more, Azar famous. Medication are usually not essentially one thing that may reset an individual for all times, she added.
The large drawback is, how do individuals who haven’t got diabetes or weight problems get this drug? Clearly, some folks get prescriptions inappropriately, Azar identified.
“(Medical doctors) prescribe off-label medicine, however there have to be shared decision-making and the affected person should perceive that potential dangers could come up. It’s on the discretion of the supplier,” she stated.