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Impact of the Ozempic Shortage

Posted on February 23, 2023

At Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology, we treat people who have Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. Our entire team is up to date with the latest treatment options available including nutrition, lifestyle, and other alternatives in addition to conventional treatments.

There is growing concern in the health care community about the continued misuse of the diabetes drug Ozempic and resulting shortage.

The drug Semaglutide (brand name Ozempic) was introduced in the market in 2017. It is one of the first line medications to treat patients with Type 2 diabetes. Ozempic slows down the absorption of food, causes the body to produce insulin and suppresses appetite. As a result, weight loss is common when taking the drug. However, the FDA has not approved it for this use. Furthermore, when patients get off the medication, weight is often regained because there has been no change in lifestyle habits such as diet or exercise and reversal of above stated mechanisms occur.

Over the last year, Ozempic has gained a lot of popularity because of its effect on weight loss, which has led to it’s misuse for short term gains. 

Obesity is a chronic disease and hence a medication used to treat it should always be considered for the long term and as an adjunct to lifestyle interventions of modified diet and exercise. Semaglutide was approved under the brand name of Wegovy for patients with clinical obesity, however, the dose strength and titrations are different from Ozempic and most importantly, patients regain weight when they stop the medication. 

There are also several negative side effects of these medications which need to be considered which include: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (especially if mixed with alcohol or if someone has high triglyceride levels)
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Some association with thyroid cancer in animal studies

We have continued our efforts in working with our patients to get them their Ozempic prescriptions, but many a times patients have had to reduce their dose or even go without if they can’t find it.  Ozempic also comes in different doses and should be taken only with the guidance of a medical care provider.

Watch Dr. Kajal Shah discuss the Ozempic shortage on KVUE News Austin.

Personalized Diabetes Treatment

Our team of board certified endocrinologists and certified diabetes care and education specialists are dedicated to making diabetes easier to manage on a day to day basis. We offer a full range of diabetes services including:

  • NextStepMD weight management program
  • Insulin pumps
  • Continuous glucose monitoring
  • Participation in clinical research trials for diabetes treatment

If you’d like to learn more about our full range of diabetes services, please call Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online

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