NHS doctors told to stop giving Ozempic to some diabetics due to private demand for weight loss

NHS doctors have been told not to re-prescribe Ozempic to diabetic patients due to its growing demand to treat weight loss in private clinics, I can reveal.

Ozempic, a brand name for the drug semaglutide, was introduced in the UK four years ago to help type 2 diabetics manage their blood glucose levels.

The drug is officially licensed only for the treatment of diabetes, but private clinics have increasingly been prescribing it off-label for weight loss, resulting in a severe shortage.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) sent out a Medicines Supply Notification (MSN) on Tuesday, seen by Ito all prescribers in England.

He warned that there are very limited intermittent supplies of all glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1 RAs, a group of drugs that are given to patients with type 2 diabetes to help manage glucose levels. in the blood.

Semaglutide sold under the names Ozempic and Wegovy is a GLP-1RA. There are other GLP-1RA drugs used to treat diabetes, such as Trulicity, Bydureon, and Victoza, which are also affected.

Ozempic Novo Nordisk manufacturers said I is experiencing intermittent supply constraints on the drug due to unprecedented levels of demand. (Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty)

The paper asks doctors to avoid starting people with type 2 diabetes on RA GLP-1 for the duration of the shortage, which it warns is expected to last until mid-2024.

He also advises physicians to review the need to continue prescribing the drug for people currently taking Ozempic, stopping treatment if it does not achieve the desired clinical effect.

Where alternative treatment needs to be considered, the document adds, clinicians should work with patients to reach a shared decision on next steps.

Diabetes UK said I: People with type 2 diabetes should be reassured that there are a number of alternative treatments available to help manage their condition.

The MSN adds that the shortages are caused by an increase in demand for products to be prescribed off-label.

Order supplies sensitively in line with demand during this period, limiting prescriptions to minimize risk to the supply chain while recognizing patient needs, the document said.

Doctors may prescribe a drug off-label if they are convinced of its effectiveness in treating a condition, even if it is not licensed for that specific purpose.

Ozempic’s surge in demand has left its sole maker, Novo Nordisk, struggling to keep up with supply, with the Danish firm warning shortages are expected to continue into next year and saying it discourages off-label use of our medicines .

Pharmacists have already been unable to meet general practitioner prescriptions, putting diabetics at risk. If a diabetic abruptly stops taking Ozempic, blood sugar levels can spike, possibly leading to life-threatening complications.

Supply issues have also led Novo Nordisk to indefinitely delay the UK launch of another Wegovy semaglutide drug which has been licensed for weight loss treatment and is already in use overseas.

According to research by Diabetes UK, 3.87 million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes and more than 2.4 million are at high risk of developing the condition.

In type 2 diabetics, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. This leads to excessive blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney problems.

Ozempic, taken as an injection once a week, mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which helps the body make more insulin. The hormone is released after eating, making people feel full, which means people can also suppress their appetite by taking Ozempic.

Reports of celebrities using type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic to help lose weight have brought it more attention (Photo: George Frey/Reuters)

A recent study found that people who were given the drug as part of a weight-loss program saw their weight drop an average of 12% after 68 weeks.

Drugs known as sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors can be used as an alternative to GLP-1RA drugs. SGLT2 inhibitors, such as Forxiga and Steglatro, treat type 2 diabetes by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose into the blood.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive officer of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said I that the DHSC should issue guidelines for wholesalers telling them to stop selling Ozempic to private weight-loss clinics, rather than limiting prescriptions for diabetic patients.

He said: Manufacturers go through wholesalers, then it’s the wholesalers who then send the drug to private clinics.

The department must advise wholesalers that Ozempic should not be sent to private clinics. The medicine should only be used for diabetics until a sufficient amount is available.

You would have thought that would be the first thing they would do. There is an increase in global demand, but they can affect what happens in the UK.

It comes down to the incompetence of the people sitting in ivory towers, he added.

As usual, we pharmacists are right at the forefront of dealing with the messy situation that has arisen. At the end of the day, we will have to tell those diabetic patients that they cannot access the drug and those patients will be disappointed and stressed.

Esther Walden, Deputy Head of Care at Diabetes UK, welcomed the guidance from DHSC and urged doctors to prioritize Ozempic for diabetics.

She said I: It is disappointing that shortages are ongoing and are expected to continue until at least mid-2024, but we welcome this guidance for clinicians.

While we understand that off-label prescribing can be beneficial in some circumstances, we cannot support it when it directly contributes to continued shortages for people living with type 2 diabetes and the impact this has on its good management.

We would like to encourage doctors to be aware of this impact and prioritize helping people manage their diabetes.

People living with type 2 diabetes should be reassured that there are a number of alternative treatments available to help manage their condition. Healthcare professionals should work with patients to find the best course of treatment for them.

Discussing the guidance that was sent out, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: There are some ongoing supply issues with Ozempic and we are working closely with partners to support the NHS in managing this issue. .

We have provided guidance to prescribers and pharmacists that medicines licensed solely for the treatment of type 2 diabetes such as Ozempic should not be routinely prescribed for weight loss. It should only be prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

If a patient is concerned about their treatment, they should discuss this with their doctor.

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Image Source : inews.co.uk

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