Poison control centres across the US report have reported a significant surge in calls linked to semaglutide, the weight loss drug.

A number of cases involved symptoms due to accidental overdoses with a rise of nearly 3,000 calls recorded from January to November.

Most calls centred on dosing errors, according to Dr. Kait Brown, the Clinical Managing Director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

Errors usually happen when individuals accidentally take an incorrect dose of the weight loss drug.

Semaglutide is available as Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss.

The drug has known side effects including stomach and bowel issues.

The surge in demand for the drug has triggered supply shortages globally.

This increased compounded versions, which may differ from the patented drug and often contain untested salt forms.

What are compounded drugs?

Compounded drugs are tailored medications for individula patients that are the result of combining, mixing, or altering ingredients.

Despite warnings from the FDA against using compounded versions due to adverse events, these are usually cheaper and uncovered by insurance.

Compounded versions usually come in vials, requiring patients to self-administer doses, leading to errors like overdosing.

There have been reports of individuals accidentally taking ten times the standard dose, resulting in severe adverse reactions like persistent vomiting and hospitalisation.

Issues also arise with the prescribed click pen, with instances of patients misunderstanding its use and administering excessive doses.

Reports from poison control centres highlight the concerning trend of adults between 40 to 70 years experiencing these complications.

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