Demand for diabetes medication skyrocketing

Ozempic also improves heart function and weight loss.
Ozempic also improves heart function and weight loss.(MGN Online)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 9:37 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes, according to the CDC, and the majority has type 2.

“(It) is basically a chronic metabolic condition, where the person has kind of elevated blood-glucose levels. So, in their blood they just have extra sugar,” said Dr. Maria Fernandez, a family physician at Community Health Alliance.

She says there are several treatments and medications for diabetes, and one of the most common is Ozempic.

“Ozempic is considered a glp1, a glucagon-like peptide-1,” said Fernandez. This type of medication mimics the action of a hormone and help lower blood sugar levels.

But that’s not the only benefit. It also improves heart function and weight loss.

The drug is being shared all across social media, increasing its popularity. “I have patients who have difficulty getting the medication and I’ve known through our pharmacies that we have ebbs in flow of when we have the medication and when we don’t have the medication, and I think that has been the case across pharmacies,” said Fernandez.

More than the irresponsible use, experts say the current shortage is due to the injection’s multiple benefits, combined with demand and problems in supply chains caused by COVID.

Ozempic is unlike insulin, where a lack of access could be dangerous or even deadly. But for many the drug is helpful, and if forced to switch, the dosing frequency can be a challenge.

“Ozempic is a once weekly injection and so, we could switch to another one that’s also once weekly like Trulicity, but usually, sometimes we have to switch to the more available Victoza, which is a daily injection. So yeah, it is challenging if we make that switch,” said Fernandez.

If you’re having trouble finding this medication, Dr. Fernandez recommends talking to your healthcare provider to see what options are available. Know that Community Health Alliance is accepting patients at all of its locations.