This content material initially appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.
By Christine Fallabel
The world’s hottest new miracle drug for kind 2 diabetes, Ozempic (semaglutide), has surged in recognition amongst individuals with and with out diabetes trying to drop extra pounds, together with celebrities and influencers, inflicting a worldwide scarcity. So, what are individuals with diabetes imagined to do?
The world’s hottest new miracle drug, Ozempic (semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist), has surged in recognition amongst individuals with kind 2 diabetes, in addition to with individuals with and with out diabetes, together with celebrities and influencers, trying to drop extra pounds.
Nonetheless, this diabetes treatment, an injectable drug developed by Novo Nordisk that was accredited to be used by the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017, is now more and more difficult to search out for individuals with diabetes, who want it to assist handle their blood sugar.
So, what are individuals with diabetes imagined to do? We talked with sufferers and suppliers to see how they’re coping with the scarcity.
What can individuals with diabetes do through the scarcity?
Individuals with diabetes have reported rationing their Ozempic doses to cope with the worldwide scarcity. As an example, in the event that they often take 2 mg per week, they’ve diminished their dose to notched that all the way down to 1 mg per week, and in the event that they had been taking 1 mg per week, they’ve rationed their dose all the way down to 0.5 mg. Whereas this isn’t splendid, it could actually nonetheless ship some advantages of the treatment and make it last more till their prescription will be refilled.
“The scarcity of Ozempic has been irritating for our sufferers and for us well being care suppliers,” stated Nicole Schneider, a diabetes nurse practitioner in Madison, Wisconsin. “Some sufferers have been on Ozempic for a few years, and it’s confirmed to work extraordinarily nicely for them. It’s upsetting that many sufferers who don’t even have diabetes are getting Ozempic prescriptions for weight reduction.”
In response to the scarcity, suppliers have been prescribing different GLP-1 agonists to their sufferers, similar to the next:
- Dulaglutide (Trulicity), injected weekly
- Tirzepatide (Mounjaro), injected as soon as weekly
- Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda), injected day by day
- Exenatide (Byetta), injected twice day by day
- Semaglutide (Rybelsus), taken orally as soon as day by day
- Lixisenatide (Adlyxin), injected day by day
All the time test your medical health insurance to see if options could be coated, as protection can rely upon the model and the way your medical health insurance firm covers completely different merchandise. When you do swap to a unique treatment, remember that some are taken weekly, day by day, and a few twice day by day.
To assist with blood sugar administration, Schneider stated many sufferers with kind 2 diabetes have opted to start out insulin remedy, which, she stated, “could contribute to weight acquire and poor glycemic management, which may result in microvascular and macrovascular problems.”
Kirsten Nowak, of Cleveland, Ohio, has had kind 2 diabetes for 10 years and makes use of a mixture of Ozempic, food plan, and train to handle her blood insulin resistance. She says that she’s elevated her day by day quantity of train and has tried to chop carbohydrates as a result of she has not been in a position to fill her prescription just lately.
“Though I’m exercising extra and consuming very low carb, my blood sugars are spiking, and I’m anxious to fill my Ozempic,” she stated. “Nobody is aware of when this scarcity will finish. I’ve began taking basal insulin once more, and that appears to be serving to somewhat bit with my excessive blood sugars.”
Rising your quantity of bodily exercise and altering your food plan could assist enhance insulin sensitivity and glucose ranges for these unable to fill their Ozempic prescription. All the time discuss together with your physician, and in the event you’re not sure of the place to start, ask to see a registered dietitian for meal planning concepts.
How does Ozempic work?
Ozempic will increase insulin sensitivity whereas inhibiting the liver from releasing glucagon to assist decrease blood sugar ranges. It additionally suppresses urge for food and slows digestion, inflicting many individuals to drop extra pounds.
Resulting from its lengthy length of motion, it is just taken as soon as per week, which makes it handy.
Though not accredited for kind 1 diabetes, docs could prescribe Ozempic and different GLP-1 agonists “off-label” for kind 1 diabetes. This will assist them higher handle blood sugar ranges and assist to cut back insulin resistance.
Does Ozempic actually trigger weight reduction?
It’s essential to notice that Ozempic (semaglutide) is particularly accredited by the FDA for diabetes and never weight reduction. The identical treatment below a unique identify, Wegovy (semaglutide), is accredited for weight reduction and upkeep; nonetheless, it’s troublesome to get Wegovy coated by insurance coverage. Taking Ozempic in larger doses has the identical weight reduction results as Wegovy, and infrequently comes with much-needed insurance coverage protection.
Research show Ozempic causes weight reduction. One such examine confirmed that members in a trial misplaced between 10-15% of their physique weight over somewhat greater than a 12 months with weekly Ozempic injections when utilized in mixture with wholesome consuming and train. Within the placebo group, solely 2% of individuals misplaced weight, however within the Ozempic group, about 75% of individuals misplaced 5% or extra of their physique weight.
One other examine confirmed related outcomes, with members on semaglutide dropping a median of 16.7% of their complete physique weight versus 0.6% with a placebo. The semaglutide group had been additionally more likely to lose at the least 5% of their physique weight, with 84% of semaglutide examine members dropping at the least that a lot weight.
Lastly, a examine known as SURE Denmark/Sweden confirmed important weight reduction amongst sufferers utilizing semaglutide, with improved blood sugar and A1C ranges as nicely.
All of this weight reduction has caught the general public’s consideration in a nation that’s struggling greater than ever with the weight problems epidemic. In line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, greater than a 3rd of Individuals have weight problems, and one other third are obese.
When individuals are strapped for time, taking a once-a-week injectable diabetes drug, even when one doesn’t have diabetes, can appear to be a fast repair for weight reduction.
Nonetheless, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, and TikTok influencers are touting its weight reduction advantages, inflicting a scarcity of the drug in america, and many individuals with diabetes haven’t been in a position to fill their prescriptions for months. Docs are equally accountable, who are sometimes giving out Ozempic prescriptions to assist individuals with out diabetes drop extra pounds.
Dave Carlson, of Seattle, Washington, lives with kind 1 diabetes and hasn’t been in a position to fill his Ozempic prescription in any respect this 12 months. “I’m having a very arduous time getting it,” he stated.
Shannon Moreau, from Stratford, Connecticut, has kind 1 diabetes, and he or she was prescribed Ozempic “off-label” to assist handle insulin resistance. “I acquired my prescription in November and was solely in a position to fill it as soon as,” she stated. “I haven’t been in a position to get my Ozempic since then.”
When individuals with diabetes who’re prescribed Ozempic as a medical necessity are unable to get it, insulin resistance can skyrocket, and insulin wants and blood sugars can fluctuate.
“I’ve stopped taking it fully,” stated Kathryn Kirk, who has kind 2 diabetes and lives in upstate New York. “It’s actually irritating as a result of my blood sugars had improved immensely over the previous 12 months whereas taking Ozempic, however now my blood sugars are worse, and I’ve gained weight.”
When will the scarcity finish?
Novo Nordisk is planning to ramp up the event of the drug. Novo Nordisk informed diaTribe that its 0.25 and 0.5 pens had been having probably the most provide disruptions, “as a result of mixture of unimaginable demand coupled with general world provide constraints.” The corporate stated in a press release that anybody involved about their continuity of remedy and care ought to contact their docs for recommendation.
“Whereas we acknowledge that some healthcare suppliers could also be prescribing Ozempic for sufferers whose purpose is to drop extra pounds, Novo Nordisk doesn’t promote, recommend, or encourage off-label use of our medicines and is dedicated to completely complying with all relevant US legal guidelines and laws,” Novo Nordisk stated in a press release to diaTribe. “We belief that healthcare suppliers are evaluating a affected person’s particular person wants and figuring out which medication is correct for that specific affected person.”
For Schneider, the nurse in Madison, Wisconsin, and lots of different suppliers we spoke to who see individuals with diabetes struggling each day to fill their prescriptions, the scarcity can’t finish quickly sufficient. “I simply need what’s greatest for my sufferers,” Schneider stated, “and the flexibility to fill their prescriptions is a part of that.”
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Learn extra about A1c, train, GLP-1, insulin, Intensive administration, low-carb food plan, Novo Nordisk, Ozempic (semaglutide), U.S. Meals & Drug Administration (FDA), weight reduction.
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