ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Recently, patients with diabetes have been experiencing a shortage with their medications ever since the drugs have become more popular for those looking to shed some pounds. Some celebrities have lost a substantial amount of weight rather quickly recently, but only one has openly admitted to using medication to lose weight. In October, Elon Musk tweeted that along with fasting he uses a drug by the name, Wegovy to maintain his fit physique.
Wegovy is an FDA approved drug to treat obesity. Problem is it’s very similar to two other drugs that are FDA approved to treat diabetes: Ozempic and Mounjaro. Christopher McGowen, medical director and founder of True You Weight loss explained the shift in using these medications, “Because of shortages in Wegovy availability, some people have shifted towards Ozempic, thereby using it technically off-label, but in essence it is the same medication. There is one problem there… by shifting usage from Wegovy to Ozempic there’s been less supply of Ozempic for patients with diabetes,” he said.
Michael Kane, Professor at Albany College of Pharmacy said people with diabetes who were already on the medication were delayed in getting it. “Or people who had started, and it’s usually a dose titration every month, the next dose wasn’t available, so they had to continue on their lower dose because they just couldn’t continue up, or if they were lucky try to find two pens and take two injections to get the dose that was required,” said Kane.
Unlike Wegovy and Ozempic, Mounjaro is showing faster amounts of weight loss even though it’s not FDA approved for obesity. “The average weight loss with Mounjaro is about 22% of body weight. That’s a big number. With Wegovy or Ozempic, it’s about 15% of body weight. Both are really big numbers and far greater than anything we’ve had in the past,” said McGowen.
Both Kane and McGowen said if you start the medication, you should plan to stay on them. Manufacturers say Wegovy is now more available but they’re working to increase the stock of Ozempic and Mounjaro in case there are more shortages.