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Drug used to treat diabetes being prescribed for weight loss leads to nationwide shortage

A drug used to treat diabetes is now being prescribed for weight loss, which is leading to a nationwide shortage.

People with diabetes are struggling to get the medication they need due to people touting the drug on social media for its weigh loss potential.

On TikTok, people are chronicling their weight loss journeys using the drug Ozempic. It’s a drug for Type II Diabetes, but the Food and Drug Administration recently approved its use for weight loss.

Some are saying they have lost as much as 200 pounds, and even Hollywood celebrities are getting in on he craze.

But now it’s leading to a nationwide shortage, and diabetics across the country who need the drug for its intended purposes are outraged because they can’t find it anywhere.

Pharmacist Rachel Kestin said Moose Pharmacy in Concord is like every other pharmacy in the area, struggling to get the drug in stock. She said there are side effects for patients who have to go without it.

“If they miss a few weeks, then they will get that nausea back, so it is difficult for patients who are missing their dose titration because of this shortage,” Kestin said.

She said the drug really helps people with diabetes manage their sugar levels, lower their A1-CA and also helps them lose weight, improving their overall health. Kestin said since the shortage started a few weeks ago, some patients have lost progress they have made in managing their disease.

“It is disheartening because patients will see a lot of progress and then all of a sudden they can’t get the medication that’s allowing them to see the progress,” Kestin said.

Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis contacted the American Diabetes Association Monday. Dr. Robert Gabbay, who is the chief science and medical officer, said in a statement, “The ADA feels strongly that people that have a medical condition should have access to treatment. We’re very much concerned about anything that limits access to effective treatments for diabetes.”

The pharmacist said there are other drugs that someone with diabetes could switch to but that it’s not always easy to do. Ozempic is a drug that they start people off on at a low dose and build up, so it’s not always simple to just switch.

(WATCH BELOW: What you need to know: Diabetes)