Poison Centres Receive About 1,500% More Calls For Overdoses Involving Injectable Medications Used For Weight Loss.

Poison Centres Receive About 1,500% More Calls For Overdoses Involving Injectable Medications Used For Weight Loss | The Lifesciences Magazine

Semaglutide is an injectable drug used to treat diabetes and lose weight. Poison control centres around the country report a sharp rise in calls about this drug, with some patients citing symptoms from unintentional overdoses.

A few even required hospitalisation due to severe nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain; however, after receiving intravenous fluids and antiemetic drugs, their symptoms appear to have improved.

Nearly 3,000 calls regarding semaglutide were reported to the America’s Poison Centres from January through November, a 15-fold rise since 2019. This medication was the sole substance reported in 94% of calls.

Dosing errors were recorded in the majority of calls, according to the association’s clinical managing director, Dr. Kait Brown.

“Oftentimes, it’s a person who maybe accidentally took a double dose or took the wrong dose,” Brown stated.

Doses for compounded versions could differ.

The FDA approved semaglutide in 2017. When used for weight loss, it is marketed as Wegovy and when used for diabetes, as Ozempic. People may have nausea, vomiting, and constipation after taking medications, even when they follow a doctor’s instructions. This is especially the case when the patient first starts taking the medication.

It went into scarcity in the FDA database in March 2022 as a result of demand outstripping supply, which allowed certain approved pharmacies to produce compounded versions.

The patented medication and the compounded forms of semaglutide frequently differ. Semaglutide sodium and semaglutide acetate, two semaglutide salts, are present in many. The FDA claims that because the salt versions of the drug have not undergone the same testing and approval processes as the patented version, they are not eligible for the law’s compounding exception for medications that are in low supply. In other instances, unapproved dosages of the compounded versions are offered.

At least two internet vendors have received letters from the FDA advising them to cease. The pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk filed a lawsuit to forbid the sale of counterfeit versions in six medical spas, clinics, and weight-loss centres.

However, these compounded formulations are well-liked since they could be less expensive upfront, particularly in cases when insurance does not cover the treatment.

In June, the FDA issued a warning to the public not to take compounded forms of the drug if prescription forms were readily available. According to the government, reports of adverse events following the usage of compounded medicine versions had been received.

According to Brown, poison control centres are unable to determine whether calls are related to compounded versions of patented pharmaceuticals or not, despite some state poison centre directors believing that compounded versions are the cause of a significant number of calls.

Poison centre calls are rising.

The director of the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Centre, Dr. Joseph Lambson, described the experiences of three callers to the Utah Poison Control hotline, which witnessed a nearly fourfold increase in calls pertaining to semaglutide between 2021 and 2022. He discussed the situations in an article published in the American Pharmacy Association Journal.

Unintentionally, two of the callers had taken ten times the recommended dosage of the medication.

“We were getting reports of people giving themselves doses we had never heard of before,” Lambson stated. We became interested in tracking the calls because of that.

The name-brand medications are supplied in pre-filled pens with a few safety features. In order to reduce the likelihood of errors, patients click to inject after dialling in the proper dosage. People typically begin with lesser doses and gradually increase to the therapeutic quantity to allow their bodies to acclimatise.

On the other hand, compounded versions usually arrive in glass bottles with many doses, and patients fill syringes themselves. Confusion is simple to get by.

Here is where a lot of mistakes are seen. They ultimately draw too much, according to Lambson.

Patient safety is Novo Nordisk’s main priority, the company that makes Wegovy and Ozempic said in a written statement.

“We are taking multiple steps to ensure responsible use of our semaglutide medicines which are detailed on semaglutide.com,” added the statement.

An overdose of semaglutide does not have a specific counterady. It takes a week for your body to eliminate half of the medication due to its half-life. Hospitals and emergency rooms can only provide patients with intravenous fluids and anti-nausea medications while the medication passes through their systems.

The Missouri Poison Centre alerts anyone who believe they may have overdosed to be on the lookout for potentially severe symptoms of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, in addition to nausea and vomiting. Semaglutide hypoglycemia is more likely to occur if you are concurrently using other diabetes drugs.

The Missouri Poison Centre lists the following symptoms of a semaglutide overdose:

  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy;
  • Feeling shaky or jittery;
  • Sweating, chills and clamminess;
  • Irritability or impatience;
  • Headache;
  • Weakness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Nausea and/or vomiting;
  • Seizures;
  • Confusion;
  • Passing out;

According to Brown, the recommended course of action if you believe you have overdosed on a weight loss medication is to contact your local poison control centre or the national hotline at 800-222-1222.

“In this manner, an expert can provide particular details about their situation, such as the amount they administered and the kind of overdose they are suffering. should determine if it’s safe for them to remain at home or whether they should get medical help, particularly if symptoms have appeared “Brown stated.

Also Read: These 4 Simple Tips Can Help You Avoid Food Poisoning at Home

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