What is Ozempic?
Ozempic, known scientifically as semaglutide, is a medication primarily designed to treat Type 2 diabetes . Its primary function is to lower glucose levels, distinguishing it as one of the many glucose-lowering medicines available in the market. Produced by Novo Nordisk, this pharmaceutical product is also prescribed to manage health conditions related to weight loss. However, it's important to note that in Australia, it isn't officially approved for weight management .
Ozempic is administered via a weekly injection, employing a pre-filled pen for convenience. Its formulation is such that it closely mimics a natural hormone in the body called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone plays a pivotal role in controlling blood sugar and hence, Ozempic is prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels effectively .
How does Ozempic Work?
Ozempic functions by mimicking the action of the hormone GLP-1. This hormone is naturally produced in the body and released into the bloodstream after meals, signalling the pancreas to produce insulin, which aids in the control of blood sugar levels. By emulating this hormone, Ozempic effectively reduces blood sugar levels after meals.
Moreover, GLP-1 suppresses appetite, providing a secondary function for Ozempic. By replicating the action of GLP-1, Ozempic slows gastric emptying and suppresses appetite, which can inadvertently lead to weight loss. This makes it a viable, albeit off-label, choice for certain patients struggling with chronic weight management.
Who can take Ozempic?
As per the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Ozempic can be prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes. However, it's not the first line of treatment and is typically prescribed when other glucose-lowering medicines do not provide sufficient control over blood sugar levels .
While some patients and health professionals might see the weight loss potential of Ozempic as an advantage, it's critical to note that Ozempic is not officially registered in Australia for weight loss. Only doctors using their clinical judgement may decide to prescribe it for chronic weight management, based on individual patient circumstances and the current valid prescriptions available .
Ozempic Shortage Melbourne
Ozempic is currently facing a global shortage, impacting supply to pharmaceutical wholesalers and community pharmacies, including those in Melbourne. The shortage is expected to affect all initial supplies and may continue for the next few weeks. In the interim, Medsurge Healthcare, one of the pharmaceutical benefits scheme-listed suppliers of Ozempic, has commenced distribution of limited initial supply to manage the demand .
Consequently, while managing obesity or treating diabetes with Ozempic, patients are advised to consult with their prescribers about the potential effect of these supply issues on their treatment. It might be necessary for certain patients to restart treatment with other medications, including other diabetes medications, until the supply stabilises .
Patients are advised to check the stock availability with individual pharmacies, as some might have limited supplies or might have applied purchasing limits. The stock availability might also differ between urban and rural and remote areas .
Prescription Fat-loss Medications Available
Though the worldwide shortage of Ozempic has left fewer choices for those seeking weight loss medication, alternative options remain. Two notable fat-loss medications that can be prescribed include Wegovy and Saxenda. Both have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for the treatment of obesity .
Wegovy, also known as semaglutide, is similar to Ozempic, as it's a GLP-1 receptor agonist and works in a similar manner to control blood sugar levels and suppress appetite . Unlike Ozempic, however, Wegovy is officially approved for weight loss in certain patients who meet specific criteria, such as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, or a BMI of 27 or more with at least one weight-related health condition .
Saxenda, another GLP-1 receptor agonist, works similarly to both Ozempic and Wegovy. It's approved for chronic weight management in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity .
Fat-Loss Medication Myths
Despite the popularity of fat-loss medications, it's crucial to dispel certain prevalent myths surrounding their use. Firstly, no weight loss medication, including Ozempic, Wegovy, or Saxenda, should be considered a stand-alone treatment for fat loss. They need to be taken alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity[^14^]. These medications can aid weight loss and weight maintenance, but they're not 'magic bullets' that replace the need for lifestyle changes.
Secondly, not all patients can take weight loss medications. Each medication has specific registered indications and restrictions, and the prescribing decisions lie with the health professionals based on their clinical judgement . The medications can cause side effects and may interact with other medicines the patient might be taking.
Finally, it's a myth that weight loss medications can replace bariatric surgery for those with severe obesity. While these medications can aid in weight loss, they might not provide the same level of weight loss seen with bariatric surgery. It's always essential for patients affected by chronic diseases related to obesity to consult with their healthcare provider to discuss the most effective treatments available to them .
Ozempic Doctor in Melbourne
At Chronic Therapy, we are dedicated to providing expert telemedicine services to patients located in Melbourne and across Australia. Our team of highly qualified doctors is capable of providing teleconsultations for patients seeking treatment for various health conditions, including those who might benefit from medications like Ozempic, subject to stock availability and suitability for the individual patient .
Our doctors can prescribe electronic prescriptions for approved patients. These prescriptions can be sent via text message to the patient's mobile phone, which can then be presented at any Australian pharmacy dispensing the prescribed medication. In light of the current Ozempic shortage, this process facilitates the possibility of procuring medication from any pharmacy that currently has stock .
Buy Ozempic in Melbourne
If an Ozempic prescription is deemed suitable by one of our doctors at Chronic Therapy, patients can choose to procure their medication from any community pharmacy in Melbourne, or alternatively, we can arrange for the medication to be posted to their homes. This service extends to all areas, including rural and remote ones.
However, given the current Ozempic shortage, patients should bear in mind that stock availability may remain unstable for the next few weeks. We advise patients to keep in touch with their prescribing doctor and pharmacy to stay informed about arrival times and the availability of initially limited supplies .
Managing chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes or obesity can be challenging, especially in times of global medication shortages. At Chronic Therapy, our team of doctors remains committed to helping patients navigate these challenges effectively. While the current Ozempic shortage may necessitate changes to some patients' treatment plans, alternative weight loss medications remain available, with the likes of Wegovy and Saxenda providing potential solutions for patients seeking help with weight management.
We encourage all patients seeking treatment to book a teleconsultation with a Chronic Therapy doctor for screening and potential prescription of the most appropriate treatment plan, given individual circumstances, available medication supplies, and validated medical practices.
As we navigate the ongoing medication shortages and strive to provide the best care for our patients, we remain steadfast in our mission to connect appropriate patients to effective treatments. By focusing on clear communication, comprehensive screenings, and personalised care, we ensure that each patient's journey towards better health remains our top priority.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended solely for informational purposes and does not serve as medical advice. At Chronic Therapy, our doctors diligently evaluate patients for the appropriateness of medications. Please be aware that scheduling a consultation with a Chronic Therapy doctor does not guarantee the issuance of a prescription.