General Practitioners are being asked to prioritise the diabetes medication Ozempic for people with the condition, after TikTok users began touting it as a weight loss treatment.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration earlier this month issued a joint statement with several medical bodies confirming a shortage of the injectable semaglutide medication, manufactured by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, due to “unexpected increase in consumer demand”.
“The increased demand is due to extensive prescribing for obesity management, for which Ozempic is not indicated. The shortage is significantly affecting people using Ozempic for its approved use for type 2 diabetes,” the statement read.
The TGA urged health professionals to limit prescribing and dispensing of the medication to its approved use.
Ozempic grew in popularity on social media about the time the US Food and Drug Administration approved Wegovy, another injectable semaglutide medication by Novo Nordisk, for chronic weight management. It is currently being assessed by the TGA.
TikTok users have been documenting their weight loss using the hashtag #ozempic, which has garnered 74m views, as well as #ozempicjourney and #ozempicaustralia.
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president, Dr Karen Price, warned there were side effects to using Ozempic to manage weight loss – such as nausea and vomiting – as well as contraindications if pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Victoria president, Anthony Tassone, confirmed supplies of Ozempic could remain low for weeks.