How TikTok trends might affect the lack of type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic

  • The Food and Drug Administration has reported a shortage of the type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic.
  • This news comes after the drug went viral resulting in weight loss.
  • Experts say some people take the drug off-label to lose weight.

The prescription drug Ozempic, which is used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes, has gone viral on the social media platform TikTok due to its weight loss side effect. As dramatic as the results are, there has been a rise in patients without type 2 diabetes seeking off-label medication to take for its weight-loss effect, which has led to drug shortages for people with type 2 diabetes. 2 diabetics who need it for other reasons.

A shortage of medications is starting to become a serious problem for patients who need them to help manage their type 2 diabetes, leading them to turn to other methods that may be less effective.

Ozempic is an injectable medication taken weekly to treat type 2 diabetes. It is used to manage blood sugar levels in adults, along with lifestyle improvements in diet and exercise.

“Ozempic belongs to the GLP-1 RA family of drugs, which helps patients in three ways,” said Martha Garcia-Stout, MD, PhD, senior lecturer in the College of Health Professions and Sciences at the University of Central Florida. It helps by slowing stomach emptying, which delays nutrient absorption, and prevents glucose spikes after meals; increasing the level of insulin circulation by stimulating the production of more insulin; and reduce the release of extra sugar from the liver into the bloodstream.”

As part of the treatment for type 2 diabetes, Ozempic helps regulate digestion and appetite, making a person feel full so that they eat fewer calories.

Ozempic can increase the amount of insulin in your body so your blood sugar level doesn’t get too high, it can slow the movement of food through your stomach and it can lower the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.

One of the results of using Ozempic is weight loss. It has gone viral on TikTok with the hashtags #Ozempic and #OzempicWeightLoss, both reveal videos that have drawn millions of viewers to witness the dramatic shifts in weight loss among those on the drug, many of whom do not have type 2 diabetes.

“Ozempic is a very effective glucose-lowering drug and is one of the most effective glucose-lowering medications we have. It also has some really important benefits for weight loss, which is important,” said Dr. Kathleen Dungan, M.D., an endocrinologist, diabetes mellitus, and metabolism at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Usually for people with type 2 diabetes.

As a result, Ozempic is being prescribed off-label, which indicates taking an FDA-approved drug for non-FDA approved use.

“People without diabetes who are looking to lose weight are asking their doctors for prescriptions of Ozimbic to achieve the same significant weight-loss and appetite-suppressing effects,” Garcia-Stout said.

It certainly creates a problem for diabetics who need to get the medication they need. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration lists it on its website as “Currently in Shortage.”

“It becomes a huge problem because patients have to be their own advocates,” Dungan said. “They should notify their provider if they can’t get the prescription. There is no automatic replacement. The provider will have to write to a substation, but there may not always be one depending on the dose the patient is using.”

In addition, the substation may not be covered by the patient’s insurance plan and there may be restrictions preventing them from switching.

“If a patient is not a real advocate for themselves and does not move on to something else, they can run the risk of their blood sugar getting out of control, which can lead to events such as hospitalization,” Dungan added.

Ozempic has a sister drug, Wegovy, which is already approved for weight loss in people who are obese. The drug contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic – semaglutide. Wegovy, like Ozempic, also has a shortage.

“Wegovy uses the same molecule, but it’s taken at different doses and has different regulation and guidance from the FDA,” Dungan said.

While Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active ingredient, one is FDA-approved for weight loss, and the other is not. Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of both drugs, says the two are not interchangeable.

According to the Novo Nordisk website, “Although Wegovy and Ozempic both contain semaglutide, they are two different products with different indications, doses, titration schedules, etc. The products are not interchangeable. Other FDA approved weight control medications are available chronic.”

Additionally, Ozempic has side effects that can be uncomfortable, including:

  • holding
  • Diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Serious side effects can include:

  • nausea
  • pancreatitis
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • lack of blood sugar
  • Gallbladder diseases
  • allergic reaction

“Patients can talk to their doctor about switching to a GLP-1 RA replacement product,” Garcia-Stout said. This may include the use of other semaglutide products. Patients can also look for other members of the GLP-1 RA drug family, such as injectable alternatives to dulaglutide (Trulicity), exenatide (Bydureon), or liraglutide (Victoza), as well as oral alternatives to lixisenatide. (Adlyxin) and oral exenatide (Byetta).