In Australia, Tictockers are causing a shortage of antidiabetics with a ‘slimming effect’

An antidiabetic promoted on TikTok for its slimming ‘benefits’ is not available in Australia, preventing patients from accessing their treatment. A new example of social media drift in the name of the cult of thinness.

Australia is currently facing a shortage of Ozempic, a drug prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. In question, TikTok, the social network of choice for teens. Since mid-May, the name of this injection has spread there, which includes weight loss among its possible side effects. It can be found in the form of various hashtags (#ozempic, #ozempicjourney, #ozempicaustralia, etc.), collecting more than 74 million views, reporting on guardian.

Sales of this drug designed by Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk have exploded, with Australian tiktokeurs touting this anti-diabetic remedy as a slimming product they claim thanks to the prescriptions of their general practitioners. In response, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) called on healthcare professionals to offer treatment only in cases of proven type 2 diabetes. “This increase in demand is explained by many prescriptions in the context of obesity management, a condition not indicated for Ozempic.”Can we read in particular in a precautionary press release published by the regulator on May 17th.

Lots of contraindications

This treatment, which is aimed at lowering blood sugar levels, has its share of contraindications (in the case of pregnancy or breastfeeding, in particular) and side effects (vomiting and nausea), noted Karen Price, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, guardian. This Sunday, June 5, going to TikTok, we see that the term “Ozempic” has already crossed the borders of Australia and is appearing especially on accounts located in the US or the Middle East.

This drug is not without risks but more importantly it has not been approved for weight loss either in Australia or the UK. When used in a contraindicated manner, this high demand prevents people who really need treatment from having access to it.” Karen Price added, recommending that “tips” posted on social networks like TikTok be taken with extreme caution. Anthony Tasson, president of the Victorian College of Pharmacists, told him that Ozempic stocks would not return to normal until mid-June 2022.

Physical and psychological damage

The contribution of social networks to the commands of beauty and the cult of thinness no longer needs to be proven, nor the physical and psychological devastation that accompanies them, especially among adolescents. In France, many ubiquitous “trends” or “challenges”, born on TikTok, have been posted in recent years such as the “weight loss dance” that promises a flat stomach and sculpted abs thanks to forward pelvic movements. Or promoting the coffee and lemon drink as a miracle cure for excess weight, among other restrictive diets (intermittently, water fasting, etc.).

Many voices, including those of health professionals, are raised against Chinese app content that promotes eating disorders (TCA) in teens. In a recent survey conducted by Release, Nicholas Schock, a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders, explained that he is receiving more and more young patients who claim that Instagram or TikTok have played a disruptive role.

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