Popularity of diabetes medication for weight loss leaves diabetic patients without prescriptions

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 6:41 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Patients and pharmacies in Jackson say they are having trouble filling prescriptions for drugs that treat Type 2 diabetes.

”Over the last several months, because of the gain in popularity, we have experienced quite a bit of shortage of Ozempic,” Dr. Andrew Clark, owner and pharmacist at Northtown Pharmacy, said.

Ozempic, a once-weekly drug intended to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes has been flying off the shelves. But why?

“Because of the social media, I guess, frenzy around it, I am going to weight loss, supplies are limited,” Dr. Clark said.

That social media popularity - #ozempic has more than 540 million views on TikTok alone. Thousands claiming they have lost a few pounds from being on the diabetic medication.

‘I’ve seen patients come in over the last several months that have dropped weight significantly, and also their agency has improved significantly, so I can understand the demand that’s behind the medication,” Dr. Clark said.

“But is it but it’s very, very important that we have those medications stocked for our diabetic patients,” he continued. “It makes you still feel full for a longer period of time, and so that you may not feel as hungry. And so that’s why we’re seeing some of the weight loss.”

With one in seven Mississippians living with diabetes, Dr. Clark said all his patients are asking when it will be in stock.

“In one day time, you may get 10 to 20 patients asking questions about medications such as Ozempic, or even Manjaro. So, we are fielding those calls every day, from the time that we open to the time they were close.”

Dr. Clark said because of the high demand, he’s had to be proactive to make sure he can fill prescription and help patients find other solutions in the mean time.

“Pharmacists are communicating with each other, calling around seeing the other pharmacists have those medications in stock. We also are communicating back and forth with the doctors to make sure that we may be able to adjust the dose of that medication up or down in order to get those patients those medications,” he explained.

When might diabetic patients be able to have their prescriptions filled with ease? Dr. Clark said it could be soon.

“We are seeing more product in the beginning of the year right now than we’ve seen that we saw last year.”

He added those prescribed Ozempic and other medication similar who are using the drug for weight loss could experience side effects including damage to the pancreas, gut problems, and more.

“If you do not have type two diabetes, your pancreas is already doing a great job releasing insulin. So, we don’t want to disturb that... You don’t want it to produce more insulin when you do not have that problem,” Dr. Clark said.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.