Ozempic is a Game Changer for Many with Diabetes. So Why Has It Become Hard to Get?
For people living with Type 1 and Type 1 diabetes, maintaining proper blood sugar control, and successfully managing the disease is quite simply a matter of life and death.
Managing diabetes is no easy task. It requires a combination of careful dietary choices that limit carbohydrates and sugars. It demands a commitment to lifestyle choices, such as getting enough exercise and sleep. People living with diabetes also have to test their blood sugar multiple times each day, whether with a glucose meter and test strips or a prescribed continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, like the Dexcom G6 or FreeStyle Libre.
For most people living with diabetes, prescription medications are also necessary to control blood sugar levels. Many are able to manage the disease with insulin treatments administered by syringe or an insulin pen. However, new medications are making it easier for some others to successfully manage their blood sugar. One of these is Ozempic, a groundbreaking FDA-approved medication to treat diabetes.
You’ve probably heard the jingle in TV commercials for the drug, “Oh, Oh, Oh Ozempic,” sung to the tune of the 70’s pop hit “Magic” by the band Pilot. It’s pretty darn catchy.
But Ozempic, and similar drugs like Mounjaro, are making headlines these days as more than new breakthroughs in diabetes treatment thanks to one of their side effects - weight loss.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is an injectable medication that comes in a pre-filled injector pen. When used alongside diet and exercise, it has been proven and FDA-approved to help control blood sugar in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic belongs to a classification of medications called “glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, which mimic the hormone GLP-1 in the body to lower blood sugar after eating a meal. Patients only have to inject Ozempic once a week to get results, making it a true game-changer for so many with Type 2 diabetes.
Add Weight Loss to The Equation
One of the major side effects of taking Ozempic is rather dramatic weight loss. The drug slows down how fast the body empties food, while also causing the pancreas to release insulin. It also blocks a hormone that causes the liver to release sugar. Together, these impacts can help a person feel less hungry, causing them to eat less food and lose more weight.
This is a big bonus for so many with Type 2 diabetes who are also struggling with obesity, which certainly makes it harder to manage diabetes and increases the risk of related complications, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, stroke, and nerve damage.
Look, as far as side effects go, weight loss is a great one!
Here’s the big wrinkle. Because weight loss is such an attractive proposition to so many people, suddenly Ozempic is being used by those without diabetes to lose weight. So much so, that there has been a serious run on the medication, and this has led to growing concerns among the diabetes community because getting the medication they need is now becoming a challenge.
The Ozempic Shortage
If you check right now, you’ll likely find a number of posts on TikTok and other social media channels by individuals who are taking Ozempic to lose weight and touting the results. While not currently FDA-approved for weight loss, people are finding ways to get it off-label and there is no arguing that people are experiencing life-changing weight loss by taking the medication. In fact, it’s very likely that Ozempic and similar semaglutide medications will be FDA approved for weight loss by the end of 2023.
Regardless, the impact of the drug’s new popularity has created a demand that now exceeds supply. In fact, the manufacturer of Ozempic recently issued a statement that reads, “We are currently experiencing intermittent supply disruptions on the Ozempic® pen … which is anticipated through mid-March (2023) … due to the combination of incredible demand coupled with overall global supply constraints."
For those who need Ozempic to manage blood sugar, this is a serious concern as prescriptions are unable to be filled. The answer? As of now, there really isn’t one other than to hope for a rapid supply adjustment to satisfy the market.
Obesity is a National Crisis, too.
While drugs like Ozempic were developed to help those with Type 2 diabetes better manage their disease, and most experts would argue that this should remain their priority, it’s worth pointing out that obesity (along with diabetes) is among the leading causes of death in the United States. So, an approved drug to safely help those who struggle with extreme weight issues lose those unhealthy pounds is hard to argue against.
That being said, there are plenty of individuals currently taking Ozempic, including celebrities and business leaders, who are not struggling with obesity but simply wish to shed a few pounds. This is not what Ozempic was designed for, and even if approved by the FDA for weight loss, the drug will most surely be reserved for those with serious weight issues and a dangerously high Body Mass Index (BMI).
For now, the challenge seems to be turning the corner from viewing Ozempic as the latest weight-loss craze to seeing it for what it truly is and who it was intended for – a life-saving medication that so many living with Type 2 diabetes need to manage blood sugar and stay healthy.
There’s every reason to believe that the shortage of Ozempic and similar medications will be remedied sooner than later. There’s also every reason to believe that these drugs will one day help both those with Type 2 diabetes, many of whom are also living with obesity, as well as individuals struggling with serious weight problems all live healthier lives.
We hope you found this post informative and insightful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to keeping the diabetes community informed with the latest news and updates, as well as helping those with diabetes effectively control blood sugar with a complete selection of testing and treatment supplies at prices up to 65% less than those found at most pharmacies and suppliers.
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Who gave the authority to physicians to prescribe Ozempic for weight loss? In my opinion these physicians should lose their licenses!!!!