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As the demand for weight loss medications surges, a shortage of supply has hit the market, leaving patients struggling to access crucial treatments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported limited availability of Zepbound and Wegovy, two popular drugs approved for weight loss management.

Zepbound, approved by the FDA in November as a treatment for obesity and related conditions, is facing supply constraints, particularly in its 5 mg and 12.5 mg doses. Manufactured by Eli Lilly Co., Zepbound, also known as Mounjaro in its diabetes treatment form, contains tirzepatide as its active ingredient. The shortage has been attributed to an increase in demand, according to the FDA.

Eli Lilly acknowledged the supply challenge, expressing commitment to addressing the issue promptly. The company assured patients of ongoing efforts to ramp up production and enhance supply capacity throughout 2024. Despite intermittent availability expected in the near term, Eli Lilly urged patients to stay in touch with healthcare providers for assistance with treatment plans.

CEO David Ricks cited complexities in the manufacturing process, particularly in producing the pre-filled injectable pens, as a contributing factor to the shortages. He described the production systems as among the most intricate globally.

In addition to Zepbound, Wegovy, another FDA-approved weight loss drug, is experiencing limited availability across several dosages due to heightened demand. Manufactured by Novo Nordisk, Wegovy contains semaglutide, also found in Ozempic, an FDA-approved diabetes medication used off-label for weight loss.

While Ozempic remains available in all dosages, Novo Nordisk is striving to increase the availability of lower doses of Wegovy, aiming to facilitate more patients initiating treatment. The company emphasized its commitment to supporting patients despite the ongoing challenges in supply and demand dynamics.

Both Zepbound and Wegovy, along with Ozempic and Mounjaro, function by slowing down food movement in the stomach and reducing appetite, thereby aiding weight loss efforts. However, these drugs may entail side effects such as severe nausea and constipation.

The popularity of weight loss medications has surged in recent years, leading to intermittent shortages as manufacturers endeavor to meet the escalating demand. Patients encountering difficulties in obtaining their prescribed medications are advised to consult their healthcare providers for guidance on alternative treatment options.

As the pharmaceutical industry grapples with supply challenges, the plight of patients seeking access to essential medications underscores the need for concerted efforts to address shortages and ensure continuity of care in managing obesity and related conditions.

Nitin Goswami

Nitin Goswami joined us as an Editor in 2020. He covers all the updates in the field of Pharmaceutical, Business Healthcare, Health News, Medical News, and Pharma News.

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