Ozempic shortage: weight loss drug controversy

CLEVELAND (WJW) — This was part of Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue Sunday night at the 95th Academy Awards.

“As I look around the room, I can't help but wonder if Ozempic is right for me,” he says.

Hollywood and pop culture continue to focus on the diabetes drug Ozempic, which is also used for weight loss.

“If you just want to look good by the pool or on vacation at the beach, this isn't the drug you want to start taking. These are the drugs that are really affecting your health,” says University Hospital endocrinologist Brian Burtch, MD.

Burtch says Ozempic and its diet drug Wegovy work by interfering with insulin production and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

These drugs also reduce appetite.

But semaglutide injection, the ingredient used in both drugs, is currently on the FDA's shortage list; meaning that many people with type 2 diabetes who really need it aren't getting it.

Dr. Burtch added, “There isn't a single day when at least a few of my patients call and say they can't get their Ozempic, they can't get their Monjaro. So we're really scrambling to get the right patient the drug that they desperately need.” .”

While the most common side effects are gastrointestinal reactions, nausea, vomiting, and constipation in nature, doctors say Ozempic can also cause more serious side effects.

“The incidence of pancreatitis may increase, and although the risk is low, it is still a serious problem because, in some cases, pancreatitis can be fatal,” he said.

At the end of the day, doctors say there are really no shortcuts to losing weight, even if Hollywood makes it look easy.

“It's not a short-term thing,” the doctor said. “It's a long-term drug decision, and if you want to lose weight, you have to take it long-term.”

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