Compounded Medicines: What You Need to Know

By eMed on 3 min read
Compounded Medicines: What You Need to Know

Browse any social media feed, and you will likely encounter someone discussing semaglutide medications. But, as these drugs grow in popularity and demand surges, pressure on the supply chain has caused limited availability and alternate versions—including unapproved compounded products

Compounded versions are distinct from traditional semaglutide medications. Keep reading to learn what the science has to say. 

What Is Semaglutide and How Does It Work? 

Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. Traditionally, these drugs were used to control blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 diabetes. A hormone naturally produced in the gut, GLP-1 also plays a critical role in regulating appetite and food intake. 

Semaglutide — Fact Check:

As Demand for Semaglutide Surges, So Do Unregulated Meds

Semaglutide’s success in treating weight issues has caused a worldwide shortage of the drug, prompting many people to try and obtain it through unregulated channels or find cheaper alternatives. 

This likely prompted obesity care organizations, including the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), to issue a joint statement on January 9, 2024, warning against compounded alternatives to GLP-1 meds

So, What Are Compounds? 

Compound drugs contain a combination of two or more ingredients used to create a medication. 

Compound Drugs — Fact Check:

  • Compound pharmacies can create a different drug dose or add, remove, or even substitute ingredients. 
  • Compounding pharmacists aren’t required to receive authorizations from the FDA to produce medications.
  • The FDA doesn’t review compound drugs for safety or efficacy.
  • Compound medications can differ vastly from approved drugs.

Potential for Contamination In Compounded Drugs

The potential for inconsistency in safety standards among compounded drugs is one of the more compelling reasons to steer clear of anything not FDA-approved and regulated. 

Contamination In Compounded Drugs — Fact Check:

How to Ensure the Safety of Your Semaglutide Medications

To avoid potentially harmful side effects and ensure the safety of your semaglutide medication, always obtain it from a reputable, trustworthy source. 

Physician-led weight loss teams like ours here at eMed provide a safe path to successful weight loss. Your health and well-being are our number one priorities and always will be. By ensuring your access to FDA-approved weight loss medications and monitoring your progress, we give you the tools to lose weight safely—and keep it off for good.

Sources and Helpful Links:

MedlinePlus, an official website of the US government.

Science Direct, Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. Semaglutide for the treatment of obesity.

Scientific American, 5 Ways Ozempic and Other New Weight-Loss Drugs Have Changed Health.

BMI+ Doctors, Exploring the Obesity Epidemic and Semaglutide’s Promising Role.

Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, Semaglutide for treating overweight and obesity: A review.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Prescription Medications to Treat Overweight & Obesity.

Time Magazine, What You Need to Know About Compounded Versions of Popular Weight Loss Drugs.

US FDA, Medications Containing Semaglutide Marketed for Type 2 Diabetes or Weight Loss.

Science Direct, Administration errors of compounded semaglutide reported to a poison control center—Case series.

New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Statement Concerning Semaglutide Compounding.

Conscien Health, Buyer Beware: Compounded and Fake Semaglutide.

ScienceDirect, Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor co-agonists for treating metabolic disease.

US FDA, Limited evidence/research in techniques: example: semaglutide salts are being used by compounding pharmacies, instead of semaglutide base form.

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