Some ‘can’t get it to live;’ weight-loss trend blamed for nationwide storage of diabetic medication – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

DAYTON — A drug responsible for lowering blood sugar levels is currently in short supply as some people use it for off-label weight loss.

Ozempic, a once-weekly injectable drug that helps people with type 2 diabetes improve blood sugar and A1C levels, is currently on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) short supply list of the drug.

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The drug shortage has caused those using the drug to miss doses because it is not readily available at local pharmacies.

“They're not taking it, or trying to get their doctor to prescribe them some other long-acting insulin for their sugar problems,” said Abel Ngoh, a pharmacist at Ziks Family Pharmacy.

A prescription is required to get this drug from a pharmacy; however, some doctors have prescribed this drug to patients for off-label use.

Off-label use is when a doctor prescribes an FDA-approved drug to treat a specific medical condition that is different from the one they are treating. In this case, doctors prescribe Ozempic to help with weight loss, not to lower the patient's blood sugar.

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“It also helps relieve hunger and keeps people feeling fuller,” says Joel Aylor, pharmacy manager at Kettering Health Main Campus Outpatient Pharmacy.

Despite the diet pills, Ozempic is still being prescribed.

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“There are other diet pills or other types of weight loss products, but none of them are as good,” Eyler said.

That has made it difficult for someone in the Miami Valley like Becca Deshaw to get her medication.

“I understand the difficulty when someone is trying to lose weight. I understand the craving. But if you're taking it to lose weight and other people can't make it live, that's not a good thing,” Deshaw said.

According to the FDA, the lower dose of 0.25 mg/0.5 mg has limited availability due to increased demand. The drug's maker, Novo Nordisk, expects the drug to be generally available to patients by mid-March.

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