Local physicians share how Ozempic’s popularity is affecting the diabetic community

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The medication Ozempic has become a household name for those struggling to lose weight. Ozempic was initially made to treat type two diabetes. It regulates the GLP one hormone in the body, slowing down the time it takes for the stomach to empty once you ingest food, so you stay full longer. As a result, you eat less, causing you to lose weight.

According to Dr. Daryl Ellis, a physician at Piedmont River Chase, manufacturers of these medications have been unable to keep up with the demand because of the recent popularity of the drug.

“As a result, there’s almost a constant shortage at local pharmacies to be able to get the prescriptions filled, and diabetic patients are required for their glucose control are often going months and months and months at a time waiting to get their prescription filled and as a result, making the management of their diabetes much more difficult,” said Dr. Ellis.

This shortage has caused insurance companies to create prior authorizations to approve medication payments. Individuals must demonstrate that they have tried other forms of diabetic management unsuccessfully and have documented proof that they have diabetes.

Lini Alppat, a dietician at St. Francis, says that the results are not permanent for those who use Ozempic for weight loss without making the necessary lifestyle changes.

“So once you stop these medications, the effects that you had by the weight loss come back because along with the medications, you did not practice the lifestyle interventions like you did not control how much calories you were taking, and you did not become more physically active,” shared Alppat.

Additional adverse side effects include nausea, vomiting, low blood sugar, loose bowels, and constipation. The FDA also reported individuals experiencing hair loss, thoughts of suicide, and airway obstruction. Physicians suggest following a healthy diet and exercise for at least six months to a year before asking your doctor for the second line of therapy injections.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WRBL.