HOUSTON – The drug Semaglutide was originally marketed as Ozempic to manage type 2 diabetes. Last year, semaglutide was approved by the FDA for use in weight loss under the name Wegovy.
Social media dubbed them “skinny pens” because they help people lose weight fast, which led to the popularity and shortage of Ozempic and Wegovy.
Drugmaker Novo Nordisk confirms it’s struggling to keep up with demand, and Houston patients like Lauren Luman say it doesn’t know what it’s going to do.
“I contacted my doctor again to let him know that I was still suffering from this shortage, at which point they were able to give me more samples, but they said, ‘We don’t know how long. we will continue to have the samples available,” Luman said.
Ozempic helped Luman lose weight and control his blood sugar. Now she says she gets the same response from every pharmacy she visits.
“It’s been weeks or months since they’ve had a supply,” Luman said.
Endocrinologists said they were frustrated that patients couldn’t find their medications. However, endocrinologist Dr. Disha Narang suggests that there is a need for effective weight loss drugs on the market.
“Our nation is, you know, there’s also an obesity epidemic and we need to treat obesity to prevent diabetes in the first place,” Dr. Narang said.
Doctors are doing nothing wrong by prescribing Ozempic for obesity. According to the FDA, healthcare professionals can choose to prescribe off-label drugs when medically appropriate.
“Its intended use is as a prescription for diabetes,” Luman said. “So if people are taking it just to lose weight, I think maybe they should take a step back and allow people with type 2 diabetes who really need it to lower their A1C the possibility of obtain this prescription.”
According to a study, weight loss may return once the patient stops using it.
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