Thousands overdosed on weight loss drugs in 2023

The number of overdoses from Ozempic and Wegovy nearly quadrupled between 2021 and 2023, according to poison center data reported by The Los Angeles Times.

Between January and November, 55 poison centers across the U.S. recorded nearly 3,000 calls concerning overdoses from Novo Nordisk's two approved presentations of semaglutide, Type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic and weight loss medication Wegovy. 

2022 saw 1,447 calls about semaglutide, and 2021 noted 607. Most are accidental, officials said.

Novo Nordisk's pill version, Rybelsus, did not result in many overdose calls. 

In some cases, patients were hospitalized because of severe nausea, vomiting and stomach pain, according to a report from America's Poison Centers. Compounded versions of Ozempic and Wegovy might be behind the surge in calls, national officials said, because these solutions require patients to draw their own doses instead of receiving name-brand pre-filled pens. 

"This is where we see a lot of errors. They end up drawing too much," Joseph Lambson, PharmD, director of the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, told CNN

America's Poison Centers said the number of overdoses is likely an undercount because these are voluntary reports, the LA Times reported. 

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