Is it safe to use combined semaglutide and tirzepatide for weight loss?

Demand for Ozempic, Wegovy, Zepbound and Mounjaro has skyrocketed this year as news of the drugs’ dramatic weight loss results surface. But many people looking to get one of these once-weekly injectable drugs find themselves struggling for access.

Patients face barriers to obtaining prescriptions and obtaining insurance coverage. The price is a concern. Without a manufacturer’s coupon or insurance, Wegovy costs $1,350 for a month’s supply, according to its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk. For weight loss, Zepbound costs more than $1,000, according to manufacturer Eli Lilly.

Pharmaceutical companies are also scrambling to produce enough of these drugs to keep up with demand, leading to shortages.

The result is the rise of an industry of so-called compounding pharmacies that sell knockoff versions of these weight loss drugs: the compound semaglutide (as a replacement for Ozempic or Wegovy) and the compound tirzepatide (as an adjunct to Mounjaro and Zepbound ).

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