GLP-1 Agonist Drug Shortages
An Open Letter to my GLP-1 Patients
June 5, 2023
WARNING: DO NOT CHANGE YOUR MEDICATION PROTOCOLS BASED ON THIS WEBPAGE!
This page is designed to help reassure patients that the current GLP-1 shortage need NOT cause an adverse change to their health. It is NOT intended to be a guide. Before you make any changes to your medication protocols, you should contact our office and consult with me.
As of June, 2023, there is a significant nationwide shortage of almost all GLP-1 agonist drugs without regard for whether they are approved for diabetes or weight loss. This shortage can present serious challenges for my patients and I want to use this opportunity to help all of my GLP-1 patients navigate this difficult time.
GLP-1 receptor agonists are crucial medications for managing diabetes and weight control, and their sudden shortage might have caused you anxiety. I want to assure you that I have strategies in place to ensure continued effective management of your diabetes and weight during this time.
Why is this Happening?
Medication shortages can occur due to various reasons, including production issues, supply chain disruptions, or sudden increases in demand. In the present situation, the cause is dramatically increased demand. While this situation is inconvenient, it's not unique to GLP-1 receptor agonists, and healthcare providers have encountered and successfully navigated similar situations in the past.
Here's how I plan to manage your treatment during this period (if needed):
Extending Dosing Intervals:
If appropriate for your condition, I may consider increasing the time between your doses based on the medication’s half-life. Please note this is a theoretical adjustment and might not deliver the expected clinical outcomes. However, it's a better alternative to a complete halt in therapy.
Another strategy involves substituting your current GLP-1 receptor agonist with another from the same class. We'll aim to provide an equivalent dose to ensure a similar level of glucose control.
Using Alternative Treatments:
If necessary, I might consider prescribing an alternative anti-obesity medication. Please see our many webpages regarding our “classic” medical weight loss program for more information.
What This Means for You
Change can be stressful, especially when it involves your health. I want to assure you that your well-being is our top priority, and these adjustments aim to maintain your health during this shortage.
Here's what to expect and how you can help:
We'll provide clear instructions if your medication or dosing schedule changes. If you're unsure about anything, don't hesitate to ask us for clarification.
It's important to keep track of your weight (and blood glucose levels if you are diabetic), especially during a medication transition. Let us know if you notice any significant changes or if you experience symptoms of rapid weight gain, hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
Patience and Open Communication:
Adjusting to new medications can take time. Keep us informed about any new symptoms, concerns, or side effects you experience. Your feedback is crucial for us to tailor your treatment plan effectively.
I understand how important GLP-1 receptor agonists are to your health and well-being. Once the shortage is resolved, I can discuss returning to your preferred medication, if that's the best option for you.
Remember, these changes are temporary, and our goal remains the same: to help you manage your diabetes and weight effectively. I appreciate your understanding and patience during this challenging time. As always, I are here for any questions or concerns you may have.
Thank you for entrusting us with your care.
Mark J. Holland MD
June 5, 2023