Shortage of diabetes medicine due to weight loss claim?

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Shortage of diabetes medicine due to weight loss claim?

A lot has been written on social media lately about losing weight with diabetes drug Ozempic, including by Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk. The Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB) warns that Ozempic has not been approved for this purpose and that it is unwise to use this medicine without medical supervision. In addition, the MEB warns of a persistent and worldwide shortage of this diabetes medicine due to a rapidly increasing demand.

Off-label use

Using a drug for which it is not actually approved is called off-label use. Ozempic is only approved for use in type 2 diabetes. The package leaflet therefore does not state how the medicine should be used for the desired weight reduction and what the dosage should be. It is not clear whether the off-label use causes the Ozempic deficiency. A working group of the European Medicines Agency has mapped out the availability of Ozempic at the end of 2022. This showed that in some countries in Europe a lot of Ozempic is sold without reimbursement by the health insurer. According to the MEB, this may indicate off-label use. In the Netherlands, the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) closed a number of web shops in December 2022 that illegally sold the drug.

Ozempic

Ozempic contains semaglutide and is administered by injection in a pre-filled pen. People with type 2 diabetes receive this drug on prescription from a doctor and combine treatment with diet and exercise. Like any medication, Ozempic can cause side effects. Therefore, it is important for a doctor to monitor blood glucose levels and possible side effects.

Anti-obesity medication

Another diabetes drug has now been approved as an anti-obesity medication. It concerns liraglutide (Saxenda), which is marketed for people with type 2 diabetes as diabetes medicine Victoza. Saxenda is reimbursed under certain conditions from the basic health insurance package, just like the combination drug naltrexone/bupropion (Mysimba). Reimbursement only applies to people with a BMI of 35 or higher, who already participate in the Combined Lifestyle Intervention (GLI). In addition, people with a BMI between 35 and 40 must have cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea or osteoarthritis as comorbidities.

Source: CBG

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