Ozempic faces significant restrictions in Australia due to global shortage
A popular weight loss drug for people with diabetes is suffering major supply shortages, with doctors now urged not to prescribe the drug to new patients.
Off-label use has been blamed on the global shortage of Ozempic, which is only approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
The drug’s maker, Novo Nordisk, has now warned that supply will be significantly limited for the rest of the year and most of 2024.
Off-label use has been blamed on the global shortage of Ozempic, which is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) only for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
The country’s medical regulator has now advised doctors not to start new patients on Ozempic “unless there is no suitable alternative”.
“For patients who have already been prescribed Ozempic, consider whether to replace it with an alternative (consulting the appropriate prescribing guidelines) as continued supply cannot be guaranteed,” the TGA said.
“Supplies should be saved for patients who are stabilized on Ozempic and who have no other treatment options.
“It is unclear when the drug will be available in sufficient quantities to meet the current high demand.”
Novo Nordisk warned that demand had accelerated in recent months, particularly for the low-dose 0.25/0.5 mg version.
The high demand is attributed to prescriptions of the drug dispensed for unapproved health conditions.
The shortage has been noted all over the world.
The country’s medical regulator has now advised doctors not to put new patients on Ozempic “unless there are no suitable alternatives” (stock image)
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Ozempic, clinically known as semaglutide, reduces a person’s appetite by slowing digestion.
However, it causes several side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
The TGA only authorizes the drug for use by adult patients in Australia with type 2 diabetes to manage low blood sugar as well as changes to diet and exercise.
It is sold in doses of 0.25, 0.5 and 1 milligram.