Ozempic’s manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, has recently informed the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) that limited Ozempic (semaglutide) stock is starting to arrive in Australia. Although there will be small quantities of Ozempic available at some pharmacies shortly, supply will remain quite limited for some time.
For those unfamiliar with the drug, Ozempic is part of a new generation of weight-loss drugs which were discovered by accident. They were developed to improve glucose regulation in diabetics, who suffer from an excess of sugar in the bloodstream. Ozempic and drugs like it use short chains of amino acids to mimic the hormones produced naturally by the body after a meal, but which diabetics sometimes produce in insufficient quantities. The drugs semaglutide (sold as Wegovy and Ozempic) and tirzepatide (to be sold as Mounjaro) imitate the action of glucagon-like peptide-1 (glp-1), one such hormone. This increases the production of insulin (which transports blood sugar into body cells) and slows down the rate at which the stomach empties, reducing appetite. These effects not only help diabetics; they were also found to promote weight loss – very effectively.
So, if you hold an Ozempic prescription already, please be aware you might still struggle to have it filled over coming weeks. The advice from the TGA is;
- Only fill your script if your doctor agrees that Ozempic continues to be the most appropriate medicine for you. There could be other options available for you.
- If you have switched to other medicines because you couldn’t get Ozempic during the shortage, speak to your doctor about your ongoing treatment.
- Do not take Ozempic in addition to your current diabetes medicines unless your doctor has told you to.
- If you are restarting Ozempic treatment after a break due to the shortage, check with your doctor about the dose you should be taking.
And if you don’t currently take Ozempic or similar drugs, but are concerned about diabetes and/or weight loss, do make an appointment with your favourite Turn The Corner doctor at either our Northcote or our Brunswick clinic. These types of drugs do have side-effects (including potential nausea and vomiting, as well as perhaps the risk of developing certain tumours), and might need to be taken for a lifetime, so it’s important to have a proper discussion with your GP before considering a course of treatment.