Six-month Ozempic shortage mostly over after weight-loss craze drained supply | World News

Novo Nordisk A/S replenished supplies of diabetes treatment Ozempic after social media enthusiasm for the drug for weight loss led to a six-month shortage.

Novo confirmed in a statement that two commonly used doses of Ozempic are now available again, based on an update published by the FDA's drug shortage database. A third, higher-dose drug may be in limited supply in late March, the FDA and Novo said.

Researchers who developed Ozempic to control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, which afflicts some 35 million Americans, also found that the drug helped patients lose an average of 8 to 14 pounds. Reports of drug addicts on TikTok and other social media platforms led to Ozempic being snapped up, which costs about $900 a month. Similar diabetes treatments like Eli Lilly & Co.'s Mounjaro are also selling well, leaving patients scrambling to get their prescriptions filled.

Doctors often prescribe medications such as metformin, an inexpensive drug that has been around for years, to diabetics. But newer treatments like Ozempic are increasingly being recommended because, in addition to their effects on blood sugar and obesity, they can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events like stroke. However, a recent study found that only about 4 percent of eligible adults are taking them, likely because of their high cost.

During the shortage, patients struggled to find alternatives to Ozempic and sometimes did not get the treatment. Long-term, uncontrolled blood sugar increases the risk of complications, including heart attack, infection, kidney and eye disease, and death; even short-term high blood sugar can cause complications.

Ozempic is one of a group of drugs that mimic glucagon-like peptide 1, a hormone that helps suppress appetite and control blood sugar. Patients typically start with lower doses and then more potent doses to moderate the drug's gastrointestinal side effects.

The starting dose of Ozempic, the weekly injection of 0.25 mg and the usual maintenance dose of 0.5 mg can all be repeated. The highest dose of Ozempic (2 mg) was previously listed as available, but may now be in limited supply until the end of the month, according to the FDA.

Shortages of other diabetes drugs also appear to have been resolved. According to the FDA, Eli Lilly's Mounjaro and Trulicity are both available, though they are still listed on the agency's drug shortage website. Earlier this year, Novo addressed a shortage of obesity treatment Wegovy, which contains the same ingredient as Ozempic but in higher doses.

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