New rules for weight loss ‘wonder drug’

by Arjun Singh

Australia’s pharmaceuticals regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has implemented new rules for a diabetes drug called Ozempic, due to concerns over its limited supply and increasing off-label use as a weight loss solution. The drug, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, has gained popularity after being endorsed by celebrities such as Elon Musk and Amy Schumer. However, media mogul Oprah Winfrey has expressed hesitation about taking the drug, as she believes it would be taking the “easy way out” when it comes to weight loss.

Ozempic, primarily used as a diabetes medication, has been associated with potential side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. The TGA recently announced that new patients should not be prescribed Ozempic unless there is no suitable alternative available. The objective is to conserve supplies for patients who are already stabilized on the drug and have no other treatment options. The TGA has advised pharmacists to prioritize patients who are already on Ozempic.

The TGA’s decision to introduce these new rules comes after Novo Nordisk informed the regulator that a worldwide shortage of Ozempic is expected, and the company is working to increase manufacturing capacity to meet the rising demand. The TGA has acknowledged the company’s efforts but warned that catching up to the demand may take time.

Ozempic is approved by the TGA for the management of type 2 diabetes that is not adequately managed by other medications, in conjunction with diet and exercise. Any other use of the drug, including weight loss, is considered off-label and should be carefully evaluated by healthcare professionals. Patients who are currently prescribed Ozempic for reasons other than its approved indication may need to switch to a different medicine based on their doctor’s assessment.

The concerns surrounding Ozempic’s supply and off-label use were highlighted when PR guru Roxy Jacenko recently shared her experience of overdosing on the medication while trying to lose weight. Jacenko revealed that she was hospitalized after the incident and described it as a terrifying experience.

The TGA’s actions reflect the need for caution and careful monitoring when using medications for off-label purposes. While Ozempic may show promising weight loss effects, it is crucial to remember that it is primarily a diabetes medication designed for a specific purpose. It is important for individuals to consult with their healthcare providers and follow prescribed guidelines to ensure their health and safety.

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