TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — The U.S Food and Drug Administration is reporting a supply shortage with the diabetes drug Ozempic as the weight loss aid soars in popularity.

Over the last several months, demand for the medication has skyrocketed, leading to stock outages at pharmacies around the country.

Dr. Lilliam Chiques, the medical director at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland tells 8 On Your Side that more patients have come to her, seeking the medication to shed a few pounds.

The drug is intended for type 2 diabetes patients who need to keep their blood sugar levels in check.

Chiques said the drug’s popularity is growing, thanks to word of mouth and social media, where people have been praising its weight loss benefits.

“We have seen an explosion in patients asking specifically for these drugs,” Chiques said. “People lose 15 percent of body weight loss on average, some people do lose a lot more, and some people don’t respond as well.”

However, according to Chiques, the drug’s popularity is having a negative affect on people with diabetes who need the medication and are struggling to find it.

Chiques said she’s made some adjustments to her patients’ prescriptions to help them get by.

“Sometimes I will prescribe the one-milligram dose because you can get the .5 by counting your clicks, so you can get to that dose,” she said. “We try to work with patients and sometimes you can’t get the medication, so you have to try a medication that is similar.”

Ozempic drugmaker Novo Nordisk sent 8 On Your Side a statement regarding the shortage:

Ozempic® was approved by the US FDA in December 2017 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, to improve blood sugar, along with diet and exercise, and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. Ozempic® is not approved for chronic weight management.

While we recognize that some healthcare providers may be prescribing Ozempic® for patients whose goal is to lose weight, Novo Nordisk does not promote, suggest, or encourage off-label use of our medicines and is committed to fully complying with all applicable US laws and regulations in the promotion of our products. We trust that healthcare providers are evaluating a patient’s individual needs and determining which medicine is right for that particular patient.”