Health: Controversy over Ozempic

The Story:

Semaglutide, a diabetes medicine best known under the brand name Ozempic, has become a common drug for an off-label use: weight loss. It works by mimicking a natural hormone, GLP-1, which regulates the metabolization of food. Semaglutide, like GLP-1, both help manage the blood-sugar level and each works as a signal from the body to the brain, “I’m full!” 

Significance:

People who have normal or close to normal weight, who want to lower their weight for cosmetic reasons, likely should not be taking Ozempic. It has side effects that are not worth risking in that cause. It can cause dizziness, vomiting, bowel obstruction, and even increase the risk of thyroid cancer. Further, anyone who uses this drug for cosmetic reasons helps compound the supply shortage from the point of view of the diabetics and obese who have a pressing need for it.  

In Pill Form:

In November 2022, the Food and Drug Administration listed both Ozempic and Wegovy (also a branded form of semaglutide) as among drugs in short supply. A spokesperson for the pharma giant Novo Nordisk said there were “intermittent supply disruptions on various doses of Ozempic due to the combination of incredible demand coupled with overall global supply constraints.”

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