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Using diabetes medication to treat conditions other than diabetes

This photograph shows the anti-diabetic medication "Ozempic" (semaglutide) made by Danish pharmaceutical company "Novo Nordisk".
This photograph shows the anti-diabetic medication "Ozempic" (semaglutide) made by Danish pharmaceutical company "Novo Nordisk".

Most people don’t take medication for the side effects.But some Americans are turning to a group of diabetes medications for something other than relief from the disease. Drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy are making headlines for their ability to stimulate weight loss. 

This is a problem for diabetes patients who need the medication and can’t get it. A rise in demand for these medications has led to shortages

Companies are taking note of this demand. Last week, Weight Watchers announced it will acquire a telehealth operator called Sequence that can prescribe these medications. 

But should potentially life-saving medication be available to those whose lives aren’t at risk?We speak to two doctors getting at the heart of these questions and a woman who’s been using these medications to improve her health.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Haili Blassingame