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Best Alternatives During the Wegovy and Ozempic Shortage

Published on Oct 17, 2023 | 1:13 PM

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With the rise in popularity, injectable weight loss prescriptions such as Wegovy and Ozempic have become the most popular options for those seeking weight loss treatment. Launched in 2021 and 2017, both medications received heavy attention due to their ability to effectively help patients lose weight. However, during much of 2022 and throughout 2023, there has been a limited supply of both medications despite the demand. 

Why is there a shortage of Wegovy?

Being put on the Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage since March of 2022, Novo Nordisk has limited the distribution of the lower dose forms of Wegovy to wholesalers in the United States. (1) The problem itself is mainly due to the increasing demand versus a set capacity to manufacture multiple measurements of the popular weight loss medication. 

Novo Nordisk has made a statement of intention to increase production to meet demand and provide support for those with obesity. (2)

Why is Ozempic out of stock everywhere?

Similar to the Wegovy® shortage, Novo Nordic has not been able to meet the growing demand for Ozempic® and has provided a similar statement to the Ozempic® shortage, promising to increase production when able. (3) Used to treat type 2 diabetes, Ozempic® has also gained increased popularity due to its ability to help people lose weight. 

How long will the shortage last? 

Unfortunately, Novo Nordisk has not provided an immediate timetable for when the Wegovy® and Ozempic® shortage will be over. While there have been indications that the company will increase production, CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen stated it will “take quite some years.” (4)

 What is an alternative to Ozempic and Wegovy?

While there is an Ozempic® and Wegovy® shortage, that does not mean that there are no options for those needing weight loss medications. Healthcare providers like Call-On-Doc offer additional weight loss treatment on top of Wegovy® and Ozempic®, including:

  • Saxenda®: Along with Wegovy® and Ozempic®, Saxenda® is also manufactured by Novo Nordisk as an injectable weight loss medication that contains liraglutide, a synthetic form of the hormone GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). Saxenda® works by interacting with the brain's appetite centers and the digestive system to increase feelings of fullness and reduce hunger, helping individuals eat less and subsequently lose weight. 
  • Plenity®: Plenity® is developed by Gelesis, a biotechnology company, as a weight loss medication made from natural ingredients. It works by creating a feeling of fullness in the stomach. When taken with water before a meal, the capsules swell in the stomach, forming a gel-like substance that occupies space and helps reduce hunger and calorie intake.
  • Contrave®: Contrave® is developed by Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. It is a prescription weight loss medication developed and manufactured by Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. It's a combination of two drugs, bupropion and naltrexone. Bupropion is an antidepressant that can also help reduce appetite, while naltrexone is used to treat addiction and may have an appetite-suppressing effect. Contrave® works by affecting the brain's appetite and reward centers, reducing cravings and promoting a feeling of fullness. 

Who is a good candidate for weight loss medication?

A good candidate for weight loss medication typically meets specific criteria and has discussed their options with a healthcare professional. Potential candidates may include:

  • Individuals with Obesity: People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are generally considered candidates for weight loss medication.
  • Unsuccessful Previous Weight Loss Attempts: Candidates often have a history of trying and failing to lose weight through diet and exercise alone.
  • Willingness and Commitment: A candidate should be committed to making lifestyle changes, including healthy eating and increased physical activity while taking the medication.

Those needing help with obesity and weight loss can get treatment through Call-On-Doc. With treatment available 7 days a week, you can get started on any weight loss medication the same day or sign up for a subscription plan to keep you on track to meet your weight loss goals.

Source:

  1. Blum, Dani. “The Wegovy Shortage Drags On, Leaving Patients in Limbo.” The New York Times, 5 October 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/05/well/live/wegovy-shortage-ozempic-fda.html.
  2. “Supply update.” Novo Nordisk, https://www.novonordisk-us.com/supply-update.html.
  3. “About the Ozempic (semaglutide) shortage 2022 and 2023.” Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), 21 September 2023, https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023.
  4. Bushard, Brian. “Shortage Of Weight-Loss Drugs Like Wegovy And Ozempic Persist—And Could For ‘Some Years.’” Forbes, Forbes, 9 March 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2023/09/16/shortage-of-weight-loss-drugs-like-wegovy-and-ozempic-persist-and-could-for-some-years/?sh=3bfcf6a8631e.

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Wayne C. Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

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