If you’re one of the millions of Americans living with diabetes or obesity, you know how important it is to have access to reliable, quality medication.
Unfortunately, a recent shortage of Ozempic—a popular injectable medication used to control blood sugar levels—has left many patients without access to this essential drug.
As a person with diabetes, I used to use Ozempic for blood sugar management, but also realized it had significant effects on weight management.
One of my goals was to lose weight to help manage my blood sugars and insulin resistance, but that was always difficult for me with a combination of PCOS and Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA).
I could cut my carbs down to 20g per day, and exercise for 2 hours a day and still not see any significant changes in m weight. It was incredibly frustrating to work so hard, for so little reward or change.
For me, Ozempic came at a perfect time.
Reasons for the Shortage
The recent shortage of Ozempic is largely due to an unexpected increase in demand for the drug among patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity.
In addition, production issues at Novo Nordisk—the company that manufactures Ozempic—have also contributed to the current shortage. Novo Nordisk has attributed its production issues to “raw material supply constraints” and its inability to produce enough product in a timely manner.
Additionally, there have been reports of people using Ozempic for vanity weight loss, rather than weight loss for health.
I have a lot of thoughts on the Ozempic shortage.
First, and immediately, it’s really frustrating to watch this happen for so many people who actually need the drug.
Being overweight or obese isn’t the cause of all bad health outcomes, but research does show specifically for diabetes that losing 10-15% of your body weight can improve insulin resistance, which helps your body work more efficiently.
Ozempic, in my experience, has also worked exceptionally well for blood sugar management.
You also have to remember that Semaglutide, the formulation of the medication is FDA approved in the united states for weight loss, but there’s a specific medication, Wegovy, that is the proper concentration for that use.
Many haven’t been able to get WeGovy approved, so Ozempic becomes the next best option, so the demand increases.
Managing During the Shortage
If you’re currently taking Ozempic or were planning on starting treatment, it can be difficult and frustrating not having access to your medication. Here are some tips on how you can manage during this time:
Talk with your doctor about alternative medications that may be more readily available. Your doctor may also be able to provide additional advice on how best to manage your condition without Ozempic.
Look into other forms of treatment such as diet and exercise that may help keep your blood sugar levels under control.
There are many resources available online that can help guide you through these lifestyle changes if needed.
Consider joining a support group where you can connect with other people dealing with similar issues and get advice from one another about managing during this difficult time.
There are many groups available both online and in-person that may be beneficial for those affected by this shortage.
Make sure you’re keeping up with regular check-ins with your care team so they’re aware of any changes in your condition and any potential side effects or symptoms related to not taking Ozempic.
The Bottom Line
While it can be difficult and frustrating to deal with this situation, there are ways that you can manage while still taking care of your health and well-being during this time until supplies become more readily available again.
By talking openly with your doctor about alternatives, exploring other forms of treatment such as diet and exercise, joining support groups, and staying connected with your doctor, you can continue managing your health without interruption until supplies become more readily available again soon.