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Ozempic overdose? Poison management consultants clarify why hundreds OD’d in 2023

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A few of these taking Ozempic or Wegovy are studying that an excessive amount of of a great factor is rarely good.

Semaglutide, the treatment prescribed below the model names Ozempic, for treating kind 2 diabetes, and Wegovy, for weight administration, works by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which is launched by the intestine after consuming. The hormone has a number of results within the physique, resembling stimulating insulin manufacturing, slowing gastric emptying and decreasing blood sugar.

It has been hailed for its weight-loss advantages, most conspicuously amongst celebrities.

However between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 of 2023, not less than 2,941 Individuals reported overdose exposures to semaglutide, in accordance with a latest report from America’s Poison Facilities, a nationwide nonprofit representing 55 poison facilities in america.

California accounted for about 350 of the stories, or round 12%, in accordance with Raymond Ho, the managing director of the California Poison Management System. Ho stated the quantity roughly corresponds to the proportion of California’s inhabitants to the remainder of the nation.

The nationwide variety of semaglutide overdoses this 12 months is greater than double the 1,447 reported in 2022, which was greater than double the 607 semaglutide overdoses reported in 2021.

There have been solely 364 reported semaglutide overdoses in 2020 and 196 in 2019, lower than 10% of the quantity that occurred up to now this 12 months.

America’s Poison Facilities launched the info with a disclaimer that the figures doubtless signify an undercount within the variety of instances involving semaglutide, as the middle solely included these voluntarily reported to poison management facilities.

“It’s an alarming development from a poison heart perspective,” Ho stated. “We get the standard dosing error calls, and impulsively there’s an explosion of individuals calling rather more recurrently about this.”

The usage of semaglutide and different GLP-1 imitators has surged in reputation over the past 12 months as a fast and efficient approach to handle weight reduction. Greater than 4 million prescriptions for semaglutide have been issued in america in 2020, in accordance with federal knowledge, and utilization of the drug has continued to develop since then.

Dr. Stephen Petrou, an emergency medication doctor and toxicology fellow with California Poison Management, stated there have been a number of elements contributing to the rise in overdoses.

“Not solely is there rising social reputation” of the drug, Petrou stated, “however there’s additionally wider FDA indications to be used.”

Semaglutide was patented by the Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk in 2012 and has been out there in america for the reason that FDA accredited it in 2017. The drug was initially launched as Ozempic for kind 2 diabetics to handle blood sugar ranges. Reasonable weight reduction was discovered to be a standard aspect impact of the drug, and the FDA accredited a special formulation of semaglutide, referred to as Wegovy, for that objective in 2021.

Ho and Petrou stated the totally different formulations of semaglutide may assist clarify why it has led to so many extra overdoses than different medicine of its class. Each are administered by way of weekly injections, with Wegovy in single-use pens and Ozempic in needles that may range in dosage. Customary dosages vary from 0.25 mg to 2.4 mg for weekly injections, relying on the prescription.

“Somebody who’s unable to get Wegovy can resort to utilizing Ozempic as a substitute, as a result of it’s the similar treatment, however they might begin to [adjust] their dose” upward, Petrou stated. “That is after they may encounter issues.”

Ho and Petrou stated the overwhelming majority of semaglutide overdose stories are unintentional, both attributable to sufferers not ready every week between doses or by misunderstanding dosing directions. In contrast to the GLP-1 hormone, which is quickly metabolized by the physique, semaglutide and comparable medicines have for much longer half-lives, that means the treatment can construct up contained in the physique if not sufficient time elapses between doses.

Moreover, semaglutide may also be taken orally as a every day capsule—bought below the title Rybelsus—however overdoses are hardly ever reported.

“We’re not seeing instances of mis-administration or toxicity or overdose with that treatment,” Petrou stated.

Ho and Petrou defined the indicators of semaglutide overdose can resemble these of hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar. Signs can start with elevated coronary heart price, sweating, dizziness and irritability. Extra severe instances may cause confusion, delirium and coma.

“If they’ve hypoglycemia, the great majority of them must be admitted to the hospital and monitored and watched carefully, due to how lengthy these medicine final,” Ho stated.

Ho encourages everybody who’s prescribed semaglutide to completely learn the treatment’s label and comply with the dosing directions listed.

“We at all times say this: The dose makes the poison,” Ho stated.

2023 Los Angeles Instances. Distributed by Tribune Content material Company, LLC.

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