As a shortage in Ozempic continues, should we stop people from using the drug to treat obesity or other weight issues?
Ozempic was first introduced to treat people with type two diabetes but is becoming a popular form of treating people with obesity.
However, many diabetes patients have criticised people with obesity for using the drug.
The Irish Independent reported pharmacists have seen a drop in their regular supply of Ozempic for September as demand for the drug continues to increase.
The reduction in supply will mean some patients with type two diabetes will have to go on another drug or a lower dose of Ozempic temporarily, which may impact their blood sugar levels.
University Colledge Cork Researcher Doctor Margaret Steele told Futureproof with Jonathan McCrea people should be careful before taking Ozempic without proper medical reasons.
“If we had an unlimited supply, I suppose I don’t think there’s an ethical issue taking it on an individual level,” she said.
“People are entitled to pursue their own body goals as long as they’re not hurting anyone.”
She said doctors “clearly have responsibility here” to advise their patients, and patients should be as informed as possible before taking Ozempic.
"It seems at the moment that they are safe, but no one has been on them for long enough yet,” she said.
“For many you can’t stop taking them – you can’t take them, lose a bit of weight, then go off them.
“We've somewhat been here before with pills in the 90s, stimulants in the 60s, 'little helper pill’s - they turned out to be very dangerous.”
There's a difference between people who are overweight and people whose weight is impacting other parts of their health.
“We need to rethink our approach to body size,” Dr Steele said.
“It’s not clear at all that simply having more fat tissue is the problem, it very much depends where it is on the body.”
Despite the concerns, Dr Steele said Ozempic is revolutionary for people who genuinely need medical attention due to obesity.
“Sometimes with new drugs you hear things like gamechanger, and you know it’s just the press release, but this is something that even doctors are saying,” she said.
“In a study, everyone achieved a mean body weight loss of 20% - traditionally, clinically significant weight loss was said to be around 5 to 10%.”
Dr Steele explained Ozempic changes the messages your brain sends to your body and “removes the constant physiological hunger” of people with obesity.
“The problem [with obesity] is that it’s not just that obese people overeat,” she said.
“It's that their body constantly tells them to overeat.
“You're literally physically hungry most of the time and it’s no easier to resist that than to stop breathing a lot of the time.”
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