The number of views of the keyword “Ozempic” #Ozempic on the TikTok network has reached more than 500 million, and this insane demand due to the fact that this drug for diabetes leads to slimming, is causing it to be lost from the market and alarming doctors.
An American TikTok user recounted in a video clip that was viewed nearly a hundred thousand times, “I started taking ‘Uzbek+’ six weeks ago.” I just injected myself with this product!”
Is “Uzbek” a miracle cure? In fact, this injectable product is intended to “treat insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes” in adults, according to the Danish company Novo Nordisk, which has been marketing it in France since 2019.
The active ingredient of this drug, semaglutide, works by attaching itself to receptors for a hormone that plays a role in controlling blood sugar levels and stimulates insulin secretion when blood glucose is high.
It also slows gastric emptying and thus reduces appetite, leading to significant weight loss of about 10 percent in one year. This enabled the manufacturer to obtain a license to market semaglutide in several countries, including the United States, in a stronger dose and under another name, Wegovy, intended for the treatment of obesity.
In France, the High Authority for Health at the end of December expressed a positive opinion on the use of “Wegovi” for the treatment of obesity. Currently, this is limited to those who suffer from obesity and a related disease.
And pending a decision by the authorities regarding the price of “Wegovi” and the method of collecting its price from social security, it is still given limited, unlike “Uzbek” which is available “with a regular medical prescription”, as noted by Professor Jean-Luc Faye of the University of Montpellier.
He pointed out that “pharmacists received prescriptions” for “Ozimbeks” for people without diabetes, as well as “false prescriptions used by more than one person.”
And the National Medicines Authority alerted doctors to the necessity of fully respecting the necessity of fulfilling the condition of diabetes in the patient in order to prescribe this drug to him. Although the authority did not notice any “sudden increase in consumption in recent months”, a decrease in the quantities available from “Uzbek” was recorded due to the increase in global demand.
Novo Nordisk acknowledged that its current production capacity does not always allow it to meet this increased demand, citing intermittent supply of required quantities and periodic stock outs.
Jean-François Thibault of the Diabetes Patients Union expressed his concern about the possible “crash” of the French on “Wegovi” when it is put on the French market, especially that semaglutide is “highly effective” against diabetes.
Obesity specialist at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research Karen Kleiman stressed the need to regulate the “Wegovi” prescription “well” when it becomes available, noting that “it is not a medicine + magic +, as is always the case with regard to obesity, it must be accompanied by care.” Inclusive”.
Doctors were also concerned about side effects of semaglutide that were under-reported by patients, according to Professor Faye, who noted that “neither patients nor prescribers have an incentive to report it”.
In addition to nausea, “there are also rare but more serious risks, such as acute pancreatitis that can occur even in low doses, biliary disturbances, and rare cases of severe constipation that can lead to bowel obstruction,” Faye said. He also reported that “there is a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer” after several years of treatment.
In response to a question about the possibility of a new health scandal similar to that related to the anti-diabetes drug “Mediator” (between 1976 and 2009), Professor Faye reassured that “there is a greater experience with this drug category” that allows for a better evaluation of it. Although the risks of semaglutide are “well-established” with respect to its benefits for diabetes control, “doubts remain, particularly for long-term overweight patients”.
He said, “The therapeutic benefit of using it to reduce some kilograms is non-existent. The goal in this case is limited to aesthetics, while the risks exist.”