Man issues warning after slipping into diabetic coma from taking fake Ozempic

ByJohn Garcia WLS logo
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Chicago man issues warning after taking fake Ozempic drug
A Chicago man is issuing a warning after slipping into a coma from taking fake Ozempic, the weight loss and diabetes drug.

CHICAGO -- A man is issuing a warning about obtaining a popular weight loss drug from an unregulated supplier.

He's now recovering after slipping into a coma from taking what turned out to be fraudulent medication.

Mike Benson said he feels fortunate to be alive today after spending the weekend in the intensive care unit. He had a seizure and went into a diabetic coma.

It all began after he took a shot from a pen of what he thought was the diabetes and weight loss drug Ozempic.

"It took 20 minutes. The room started to spin and I was incapable of doing anything, so I laid down. Shortly after, I was unconscious," Benson said.

It turns out the drugs were counterfeit, apparently filled with insulin, which diabetics use to lower blood sugar.

RELATED: FDA says it's seized 'thousands of units' of counterfeit Ozempic

"He lost consciousness and went into a coma because his blood sugar was so low," said Dr. Veronica Johnson, an obesity medicine specialist with Northwestern Health.

Benson said paramedics likely saved his life by quickly pumping carbohydrates into his system on the way to Northwestern's emergency room.

Doctors say as the popularity of these drugs is increasing and supply is getting tighter, they are seeing more cases of illnesses from counterfeit sources.

"These are the most dangerous situations: diabetic coma, seizures, ICU level of care," said Dr. Naha Shah, an obesity specialist with Endeavor Health.

Benson put out a post on social media about his experience, warning friends to avoid counterfeit drugs and to make sure they get them from a reputable source.

RELATED: Poison centers see high quantity of calls related to overdoses by injectable weight-loss medications

Doctors say a mistake like that could be fatal.

"I don't know that I've ever felt that way in my life. I had thoughts this could be the end," Benson said.

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning to consumers about the threat of counterfeit Ozempic that was finding its way into the supply chain of legitimate retailers.

The agency is continuing to investigate, but has seized thousands of units of the counterfeit products already.