What to do When You Can’t Get Your Diabetes Meds?

Grr… this is the second time in a year I’ve been unable to secure my diabetes meds because of shortages. Last year, it was Ozempic; this year it’s Mounjaro. Demand for these drugs due to their weight loss benefits and so much of the population being overweight has been astronomical. I recently needed a refill prescription of Mounjaro and called my doctor’s office. The office assistant said she would electronically send over the prescription, but not to hold my breath because there was a nationwide shortage of the drug. Oh great, I finally settle on a drug that seems to be working well for me and now there is a nationwide shortage. Just my luck!

I waited a few days and figured I’d better call the Veteran’s Administration to see if the prescription had been filled and was on its way to me. The customer service rep said Mounjaro was out of stock and I would be notified when it was back in stock. I, of course, asked when it was expected to be in stock and was told they had no expected date. Unbelievable!

Diabetes is a perilous disease to begin with; now the stakes have gotten even higher. Why it was just the other day I read that pharmaceutical giant Eli Lily announced a temporary shortage of two types of insulin taken by more than six million Americans. The two insulins affected are Humalog and Insulin Lispro. Adding to this dilemma are the many people who still have trouble affording their diabetes medications, despite recent price cuts for many.

So what to do? Immediately contact your doctor’s office and let them know about the shortage. There are a number of alternative medicines out there; your doctor will prescribe another medicine for you, or a different dosage that is in stock. But be prepared, as with many prescriptions, you may have problems with your insurance company and your body may have problems with new side effects.

If you can’t afford your meds also immediately contact your doctor. They sometimes have excess meds on hand, can write you a prescription for a more affordable medication, or refer you to a program that can assist. There are also Facebook groups that might be able to assist you. You’ll need to search for this on your own.

When I had trouble last year getting Ozempic, my doctor switched me to Trulicity. Several weeks later, I received the back-ordered Ozempic via FedEx. I later switched from Ozempic to Mounjaro because Ozempic caused me to have heart palpitations. Although I have been pleased with Mounjaro so far, I’m wondering if it might be in my best interest to switch to a medicine that is not in such high demand. These unprecedented shortages are giving me anxiety. Now I have diabetes and anxiety.

Update: The day after this rant I did receive my Mounjaro via FedEx. So, I guess I’ll stay on this medication for the foreseeable future.