Thousands overdosed on Ozempic, Wegovy in 2023

People taking the diabetes and weight management medications Ozempic or Wegovy are discovering the dangers of overuse. These drugs, which mimic the hormone GLP-1, have been reported to cause more than 2,941 overdose exposures in the US so far in 2023, double the number reported in 2022 and quadruple the number in 2021. This increase in overdoses may be related to the rising popularity of these drugs, as well as wider FDA indications for their use.

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in both Ozempic and Wegovy, was patented by Danish company Novo Nordisk in 2012 and has been available in the United States since 2017. Originally prescribed to manage blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics, it was found to have the side effect of inducing moderate weight loss. In 2021, a different formulation of semaglutide called Wegovy was approved by the FDA specifically for weight management.

The rise in overdoses may also be linked to the convenience of these medications. Both Ozempic and Wegovy are administered via weekly injections, with standard dosages ranging from 0.25 mg to 2.4 mg. However, taking multiple doses too close together can lead to overdoses, as these drugs have much longer half-lives than the natural GLP-1 hormone, meaning they can build up in the body if not enough time elapses between doses.

Symptoms of semaglutide overdose can resemble those of low blood sugar and may include increased heart rate, sweating, dizziness, irritability, confusion, delirium, and even coma in severe cases. If an overdose is suspected, it is important to seek emergency medical assistance promptly.

To prevent overdoses, it is crucial for those prescribed semaglutide to carefully read and follow the dosing instructions. Anyone with poisoning-related inquiries can call the Poison Helpline at (800) 222-1222 or visit the Poison Help website for assistance.

Historically, the use of semaglutide and other GLP-1 imitators has surged in popularity recently due to their quick and effective weight loss management. Over 4 million prescriptions for semaglutide were issued in the United States in 2020, and use of the drug has continued to grow since then. Consequently, cases of overdoses are also on the rise.

Overall, it’s important for individuals to be aware of the potential dangers of these medications and to use them as prescribed to avoid serious Health complications.

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