Viral weight loss claim leads to shortage of diabetes medications; know what it is

An important type 2 diabetes medication is short in Australia due to a viral weight loss claim. As per a content shared by an influencer on social media platform, TikTok, a type 2 diabetes medicine called Ozempic (semaglutide) can help in weight loss.

Guess what? Believing in this trend, people have almost emptied counters in pharmacy stories in Australia!

In view of this heavy demand, the Australian government’s Department of Health had issued a statement on May 17, saying, “Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, the sponsor of semaglutide (Ozempic) solution for injection pre-filled pen, notified the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of a shortage of both strengths of semaglutide (Ozempic) products due to an unexpected increase in consumer demand.The increased demand is due to extensive prescribing for obesity management, for which Ozempic is not indicated.The shortage is significantly affecting people using Ozempic for its approved use for type 2 diabetes.”

Read: Increasing intake of THESE foods could help women avoid weight gain

The Australian government has stopped the selling of Ozempic to people who have been prescribed it for conditions other than diabetes.

What is this claim all about?

This medication, which is at the center of a TikTok claim, is usually prescribed to those who have type 2 diabetes. This is an injectable prescription medicine which is used to improve blood sugar.

The claims over Ozempic’s role in weight management and its growing popularity comes around the same time when the US Food and Drug Administration approved Wegovy, a semaglutide injection for for chronic weight management in adults with obesity and conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

“The drug is indicated for chronic weight management in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or greater who have at least one weight-related ailment or in patients with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater,” the US FDA had said on Wegovy in June 2021.

However, Ozempic is not approved in Australia for weight loss. Health experts have expressed their concerns about the growing demands and disruption in supply to the ones who are actually in need of it.

Read: 5 habits that help celebrities keep the weight off and stay camera-ready forever

What might be the complications?

There are several other factors to weigh in when deciding a weight loss medication, experts have said. They have also warned of severe side effects to using Ozempic for weight loss. Nausea and vomiting can be seen in those trying this medication without consulting a physician. This medication is not suitable for those who are pregnant and are breastfeeding.

Every individual’s weight management program should be distinct

Following a TikTok claim or any other claim on social media, is dangerous as these are mostly done with the purpose of getting views and are completely out of the purview of medical science.

Experts warn of the consequences of following such trends, blindly.

Every individual’s body composition, body type, dietary habit, growth rate, metabolism factor, geographical location and climatic conditions in which they live varies. Hence, no two individuals can reap the same benefit from the same weight management plan.

Every individual needs a tailored weight management program.


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