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Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Photo: Suliane Favennec/AFP via Getty Images.
A diabetes medication popularized by celebrities and TikTok stars for its rapid weight loss effects is becoming harder to find in Miami for patients in need, local doctors and pharmacists warn.
The big picture: Shortages of Ozempic — a brand-name injectable drug called semaglutide — have been reported in the U.S. and around the world over the last several months as manufacturer Novo Nordisk scrambles to keep up with increased demand.
Why it matters: Off-label use of Ozempic, designed for patients Type 2 diabetes, is "pulling the supply from people who really need it," Jonathan Fialkow, a cardiologist at Baptist Health's Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, told Axios.
Zoom in: The Baptist Health hospital system has received a recent influx of calls from patients who can't find Ozempic, Fialkow warned in a statement last week.
Context: Fialkow explained that Ozempic, which was approved by the FDA in 2017, is a type of drug called a GLP-1 receptor agonist that causes patients to feel satiated. Such drugs were developed for people with Type 2 diabetes to manage blood sugar levels.
Between the lines: The medications can make people lose their appetites. Some report being repulsed by food.
What they're saying: "The medication is only going to work as long as you take it," Fialkow said. "So if you stop it, you're just going to gain all the weight back because … you're not making lifestyle changes or any other metabolic changes."
Zoom out: A 2019 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that by 2030 almost half of American adults are expected to be obese.
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