People with type 2 diabetes are still going without their needed medication because of a TikTok trend promoting its off-label use as the miraculous weight loss solution continues to grow.
Australia has faced a nationwide shortage of Ozempic (semaglutide), a once-a-week injectable drug approved only for people with type 2 diabetes in conjunction with diet and exercise.
But GPs and health professionals have been prescribing the drug to thousands of people who are losing weight across the country.
These people have been documenting their success on TikTok with hashtags like #ozempicjourney.
“In three weeks I went down a full dress size without trying the diet,” said one.
“I lost 25 kg in 4 months. And now there is a national shortage,” said another.
When someone asked how Ozempic was being prescribed for weight loss when it was only approved for type 2 diabetes, one commenter said, “The primary use is for subsidies for diabetics, but Is used off label for weight loss. The doctor may prescribe it. I had no problems receiving it and I am not diabetic.
Two weeks ago the Therapeutic Goods Administration issued a firm joint statement on Ozempic’s shortage, asking healthcare professionals to prescribe and distribute it only for its approved use.
The statement, which was made in conjunction with nine other health bodies, including the Australian Medical Association, said there is a need to prioritize the essential and ongoing care of people with type 2 diabetes.
It warned people who did not have type 2 diabetes that Ozempic prescriptions might not be filled.
The manufacturer, the Dutch pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, has indicated that there is sufficient supply for approved use of Ozempic, but “significant recent prescriptions” for “obesity management” have created a shortage.
People with type 2 diabetes have been advised to stick to their usual pharmacy and fill out their script “as soon as possible.”
Ashley Rae, who has type 2 diabetes, told NCA Newswire earlier this month that not being able to use Ozempic was “told” on her body because she was going to the pharmacist because she no longer has was not a child.
“Since Ozempic changes the way you digest food, when you suddenly switch back from it your body has to return to what it was before,” she said.
“Without it your blood sugar goes a little crazy, which means the rest of your diabetes can be really difficult to manage.
“I went from taking my pharmacist order to Ozempic because it was so new and no one was on it. Suddenly there is no stock anywhere in Australia in place of a script.”
While she made it clear that it was her frustration with GPs for taking her off the label, Ms Rae said: “It’s really disappointing when we hear stories about people who use it to lose just a few kilos.” are for”.
“Taking it because you want to lose a few kilos such as a few kilos versus people who really need it for really serious weight issues and diabetes is very different.”