If you’re one of the millions of type 2 diabetes patients prescribed the diabetes medication Ozempic for its approved use of blood sugar management - or just someone who has heard of Ozempic in online weight loss blogs, TikTok/social media posts or forums, you may be noticing some difficulty in obtaining this medication right now due to a drug shortage. We’ve got the answers to your most pressing questions about why there is such an increased demand.
- What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a prescription medication that can improve blood glucose and control type 2 diabetes in adults when it is combined with proper diet and exercise.
- Why is there an Ozempic shortage?
In short, it is due to consumer demand. There is a shortage of Ozempic and other semaglutide products (like WeGovy) due to an extensive prescribing of it for obesity management and as a weight loss drug (not approved indications). The shortage is significantly affecting people using it for its FDA-approved* use as a diabetes drug (specifically for type 2 diabetes). Novo Nordisk, the primary supplier had not anticipated the increased demand.
Although monitoring bodies like the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) in Australia have been working with Novo Nordisk on a solution, most recently a joint statement has been put out identifying that the Ozempic drug shortage would remain an issue until at least
- How does Ozempic work for type 2 diabetes?
Ozempic is administered as a subcutaneous injection. The release of a weekly semaglutide injection helps control your blood glucose levels by imitating the effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) naturally produced in our bodies. If you have type 2 diabetes and are overweight, a short needle is used to inject the medication into the tissue layer between your skin and muscle.
Semaglutide is the active ingredient of Ozempic. It is a GLP-1 agonist that helps manage
blood sugar in 3 key ways:
· By releasing insulin from the pancreas when blood sugar levels get too high.
· Slowing the movement of food through the stomach.
· Moving sugar out of the blood to other body tissues where it can be used for energy.
- Is Ozempic being used as a weight loss drug?
In cases where it is deemed safe by a healthcare professional, Ozempic has recently been increasingly prescribed as a weight loss medication to help with weight management and obesity. As a drug, it can slow the movement of food through the stomach (called gastric emptying), therefore reducing appetite and promoting the loss of body weight.
During clinical trials, adults lost an average of 9-12 lbs in just over a year while taking Ozempic. However, healthcare professionals agree that Ozempic is not a long-term solution and once off the prescription drug, individuals will need to make lifestyle changes to maintain results.
Clinical trials also show that people who stopped taking it regained the majority of their prior weight loss within a year. They also saw increases in blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, suggesting that the continued use of this medication is needed to maintain weight loss and reduce the risk factors for heart disease.
- What are the side effects of Ozempic?
The most common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, pain, and vomiting (among other gastrointestinal issues). While Ozempic helps manage your blood sugar, it rarely causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) unless it is taken along with a sulfonylurea or insulin. Other side effects such as high blood pressure, pancreatitis, constipation, and cardiovascular/heart disease can also be a result depending on your body mass index (BMI), food intake, and family medical history.
It is extremely important to consult a certified medical professional (family doctor, endocrinologist, and/or pharmacist) before taking Ozempic or comparative alternatives. In reviewing your medical history and conditions, they will be able to advise you of any concerns or potential drug interactions and if you are eligible to use it for weight loss. Ozempic has a boxed warning which is the strongest warning required by the FDA. For a full list of side effects, please click here.
- What is the cost of Ozempic?
The cost can vary based on the supply of Ozempic available. It can be expensive if your insurance provider does not cover it or you have a significant copay. You can also search UniversalDrugstore.com to save up to 80% on medications such as Ozempic. Off-label options can also be more cost-effective when compared to brand names so be sure to consult with your health professional of choice.
- Is Saxenda the same thing as Ozempic?
The active ingredients of Saxenda (liraglutide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) belong to the same class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists. While their mechanism of action is the same, the frequency with which the drug must be administered is different. Saxenda must be administered daily, whereas Ozempic is a weekly injection making it far more convenient in managing type 2 diabetes.
- How can I find Ozempic near me?
Reach out to your preferred healthcare provider who can provide guidance – or search Universaldrugstore.com to have your prescription and over-the-counter medication delivered right to your door.
*FDA refers to the US Food and Drug Administration.