NEW YORK (PIX11) — The drug under the brand name Ozempic, designed to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, is in short supply because non-diabetic people have found it to be an effective medication for weight loss. The surge in sales among those seeking to shed pounds has created a shortage for the people who really need it.

The medication taken by injection once a week has proven to be much more potent than any other drug designed to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Thousands of patients have complained about having difficulty obtaining the medications because pharmacies are in short supply. There’s been a spike in orders for the drug since the beginning of the year by people who have discovered one of the positive side effects of Ozempic –weight loss.

Endocrinologist Dr. Brunilda Nazario, who is chief editor for WebMD, understands the reason for the uptick in sales –vanity over medical need. “It’s the beginning of a new year and people make new years resolutions to address health needs and losing weight,” Nazario said. “Ozempic is there to market as a very successful drug in helping people lose weight.”

Mila Clarke said she lost 50 pounds before stopping the medication after a year. “Even though I had great results, I didn’t feel good, was always tired, and I was having heart palpitations. My quality of life diminished,” Clark said.

Nazario understood. “Most of the side effects are related to the stomach. There’s nausea, vomiting, bloating. You may see more effects like gallstones and something called pancreatitis,” Nazario said.

Drug makers offered another drug called Wegovy with a higher dose for weight loss. But when demands for that drug surged, doctors began writing more prescriptions for Ozempic. But there is a downside if you’re taking it to trim pounds.

“If you’re taking it just to lose weight and haven’t done the basics for weight loss, exercising, you’re going to regain the weight once you’re off the medication,” Nazario said.

Ozempic is still available, but many patients are complaining that they are missing their weekly dose because it’s taking pharmacies longer to get deliveries of the drug. Doctors advise that if you want to lose weight, forget about the medications and get on a healthy diet and exercise.