Popularity of diabetes medication for weight loss leaves diabetic patients without prescriptions

Jackson, Mississippi (WLBT) – Patients and pharmacies in Jackson say they are having trouble filling their prescriptions for type 2 diabetes.

“We've experienced quite a few shortages of Ozempic over the past few months due to increased popularity,” said Dr Andrew Clark, owner and pharmacist at Northtown Pharmacy.

Ozempic, a once-weekly drug designed to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes, has been withdrawn. but why?

“I guess because of social media, the frenzy around it, I'm going to lose weight, the supply is limited,” Dr. Clark said.

Social Media Popularity – #ozempic has over 540 million views on TikTok alone. Thousands of people claim they've lost a few pounds while taking diabetes medication.

“I've seen patients lose significant weight over the past few months and their mobility has improved significantly, so I can understand the need behind the drug,” Dr. Clark said.

“But it's very, very important that we stockpile these drugs for people with diabetes,” he continued. “It keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time so you don't feel hungry. That's why we're seeing some weight loss.”

Dr. Clark said one in seven Mississippians has diabetes, and all of his patients are asking when it will be available.

“In a given day, you might have 10 to 20 patients asking questions about a drug like Ozempic or even Manjaro. So we’re taking those calls every day from the time we open the doors until we close the doors.”

Because of the high demand, Dr. Clark said he has had to be proactive in making sure he can fill his prescriptions while helping patients find other solutions.

“Pharmacists are talking to each other, calling around to see if other pharmacists have these drugs in stock. We're also going back and forth with physicians to make sure we can dose the drugs up and down so that these patients get them,” he explained road.

When will diabetics be able to easily dispense their medication? Dr Clarke said it could be soon.

“We're seeing more product at the beginning of the year than we saw last year.”

Those who use Ozempic and other similar drugs to lose weight may experience side effects including damage to the pancreas, intestinal problems and more, he added.

“If you don't have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is already releasing insulin pretty well. So, we don't want to bother with it…you don't want it to make more insulin when you don't have that problem ,' said Dr Clarke.

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