Drug shortage affecting those in need

Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:00 PM EST
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SHINNSTON, W.Va (WDTV) - A critical and widely used diabetes drug is in scarce supply. Many families in our area are among those struggling to find it.

The drug Ozempic, usually used for diabetes and weight management, has become hard to get lately.

Tonya Isenhart, of Shinnston, has been using Ozempic for Type 2 diabetes for about 5 years now, but now she’s struggling to get it. It is something that could be life or death for her.

“It’s very important to myself because if my sugar goes too high it can cause heart conditions. Medical conditions that can be affected through diabetes. You can die if your sugar goes too high, diabetic comas. You want to keep your sugar down,” Isenhart said.

Isenhart says the drug is on backorder, and lately, she’s had to go to several different pharmacies trying to find it.

Part of the reason why is because Ozempic has been hailed by celebrities and social media personalities as a way to lose weight.

“They are saying Ozempic is on backorder because they found it helps drastically with weight loss. It has made a shortage for us that do need it for our diabetes,” Isenhart said.

Isenhart has been dealing with the problem for about four months now.

She says if you’re off the drug long enough, you have to start all over with the lowest dose and work your way up, which she says can cause side effects.

The FDA lists both Ozempic and a similar drug called Wegovy as being in short supply.

It’s unclear when that will change. For Isenhart and the many others who rely on it, it can’t come soon enough.