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Diabetics in Arkansas concerned as noninsulin drug used to help with Type 2 Diabetes is in low supply, caused by social media trend



Little Rock, Arkansas – It was a few weeks ago when we first reported that America was running low on amoxicillin supplies, one of the most popular and widely used antibiotics used for treating a variety of illnesses, including ear infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis. The story came to our attention after several pharmacies nationwide reported that they were having a hard time getting the supplies they wanted of the drug just ahead of the winter, when amoxicillin is used more frequently due to the flu season.

Since we initially covered the story, not many additional pharmacies have reported an amoxicillin supply shortage, but several pharmacies in the Little Rock and Pine Bluff areas confirmed to us that getting the wanted supplies of the drug is getting harder lately. Two of the top three companies that produce this drug issued statements days after our story and confirmed that they were already working to increase the production and meet the demand. We have seen all kinds of shortages in recent years due to the pandemic, but now, diabetics in Arkansas are seriously concerned as one of the most popular drugs for diabetics is in low supply and is getting harder to find in pharmacies.

Ozempic is a noninsulin drug used to treat type 2 Diabetes, and this drug is among the most popular among diabetics. Diabetics who use Ozempic are having a hard time finding the drug recently, something that has also been confirmed by several pharmacies in Little Rock. In the case of Ozempic, the shortage isn’t caused by low production or problems with the supply chain. Instead, it’s caused by a trend among online users who want to lose weight that has become very popular in recent months.

The drug is used by diabetics to keep their blood sugar at normal levels and control long-term weight management. However, several videos that appeared online claim that using Semaglutide, sold under the brand name Ozempic, can help people lose weight without exercising or other extra effort. These videos almost immediately prompted many to try the drug in an effort to easily lose weight, but their actions resulted in a shortage, putting diabetics in danger and forcing them to look for alternatives. But changing any drug that has been used for an extended period of time is not easy.

“There is a lot of anxiety in the community right now over the Ozempic shortage,” said Zoe Wiit, who lives with insulin-dependent diabetes and works as a spokesperson for Mutual Aid Diabetes, last month. MAD helps diabetics secure hard to come by medicines and supplies. “Social media is pushing this, there’s so many pressures on people to lose weight.”

We got in touch with several pharmacies in the area, and they confirmed the shortage. The whole situation is frustrating for both the pharmacies and the diabetics, who have a hard time finding the drug that they have been using for a long time. The situation is probably going to get worse since a growing number of people follow the online trend and are in search of the drug for one sole purpose, weight loss.

People living with diabetes don’t usually have many alternatives when it comes to switching drugs. Once they find the drugs that suit them, they continue to use them indefinitely. Health experts say that Wegovy, a similar drug, is an alternative to Ozempic, but this drug is not ideal for everyone, and what is even more concerning, Wegovy is also in short supply in pharmacies. Both Ozempic and Wegovy are very expensive medications and cost more than a thousand dollars per month, but people who want to lose weight are still buying them like crazy.

“Those individuals not being able to get Ozempic, it has resulted in much higher blood sugars, and just the stress associated with it, because then it becomes a vicious cycle. Because what people may not realize is that stress has a big effect on your blood sugars,” Dr. Lakshmi Menon with the UAMS said.

As more people are about to use the drug for weight loss, diabetics are afraid that the situation will only get worse because they are concerned about their health.