The Basics of Compounded Semaglutide

Compounded Semaglutide

Recent scientific breakthroughs are changing the way many view and treat weight loss. These new breakthroughs are making weight management more attainable for many people who have struggled with weight in the past. Today, prescription medications provide safe and effective weight loss options. One of these weight-loss drugs is Semaglutide. We’ll go in-depth about Semaglutide, including what it is, how it works, and why you might consider taking it in a compounded form.

What is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a drug that has many uses for medical conditions. It is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) regulates the body’s insulin secretion. By increasing insulin release, it lowers the body’s blood glucose levels. This delays gastric emptying and reduces appetite in the user.

Because it affects the body’s insulin release, Semaglutide was first used to manage type 2 diabetes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Semaglutide to manage type 2 diabetes under the name Ozempic.

However, more studies showed the effectiveness of Semaglutide for chronic weight management because of its ability to suppress appetite and slow digestion. In 2021, the FDA approved Semaglutide for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy with certain criteria. Based on the FDA guidelines, it was initially available for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 or a BMI of 27 with a weight-related condition like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. More recently, patients with a BMI as low as 25 can start treatment and do not need to have other weight related comorbidities to be approved for treatment. Patients should take this medication with the appropriate diet and exercise for best results. Ozempic and Wegovy are subcutaneous injections. However, a third FDA-approved version of Semaglutide is made under the brand name Rybelsus. This tablet is used to lower blood sugar in diabetics. The pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk produces Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus.

Semaglutide vs Tirzepatide

While Semaglutide is a popular choice for weight loss, another choice is tirzepatide. Branded versions of tirzepatide include Mounjaro and Zepbound. These tirzepatide weight-loss medications also target glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors. However, tirzepatide also targets glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors, which affect resting insulin levels.

What are the benefits of Semaglutide? 

Studies have shown that Semaglutide offers many benefits in addition to weight loss. Here are a few of the additional benefits of Semaglutide:

  • Promotes visceral fat loss
  • Controls appetite
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Enhances insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Improves overall metabolic health
  • Potential for long-term weight management
  • May lead to improvements in other health markers, such as cholesterol levels

Semaglutide offers a whole host of benefits for weight management. However, in addition to the FDA-approved medicines, Semaglutide comes in a few additional forms.

What is a compound medication?

Before we discuss compounded Semaglutide, we’ll need to understand compounding—what it is and how it works. Drug compounding is the process of mixing, combining, or altering ingredients to create custom-tailored medications for patients. Often, this process includes combining two or more drugs. It’s important to note that compounded drugs aren’t FDA-approved. Patients may opt for a compounded medication instead of a branded one for many reasons. Here are the most common ones:

  • Allergic reactions: some patients may be allergic to certain dyes present in the original medication
  • Delivery method: some patients may not be able to swallow a pill or capsule and may require another type of dosage. 
  • Availability: Sometimes, name-brand medications are in limited supply. However, a compounded version may be available.
  • Cost: Name-brand medications can be costly, and compounded medications may be cheaper for patients.

Compounded Semaglutide

As the name suggests, compounded Semaglutide is just that – a compounded form of Semaglutide. Compounded Semaglutide is helpful for patients with certain allergic reactions while also allowing for a precise dosage or additional active ingredients that can help reduce the side effects of Semaglutide. Like any medication, Semaglutide has the possibility of producing side effects. Of particular note are nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Compounding may offer customization benefits that can mitigate these potential side effects.

In addition, Semaglutide patients have reported improvements in energy levels, blood sugar control, and cardiovascular health, especially when compounded with vitamin B12.

What’s a compounding pharmacy?

When you think of a pharmacy, you might picture places like Walgreens, CVS, or even your neighborhood grocery store with a pharmacy. These pharmacies dispense medications formulated and manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that medical professionals prescribe. All of these types of medications are FDA-approved.

In contrast, compounding pharmacies create customized medications using pharmaceutical-grade ingredients.

While compounded formulations of Semaglutide are not FDA-approved, there are strict regulations for compounding pharmacies. They must comply with state and federal regulations, including those set by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the FDA for certain compounding pharmacies (503A and 503B). Federal law addresses compounding and it must be performed by a licensed pharmacist in a state-licensed pharmacy or federal facility, or by a physician, or under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist in an outsourcing facility. 

So, what’s the difference between 503A and 503B compounding pharmacies? Well, 503A pharmacies are more “traditional compounding pharmacies.” They fill patient-specific prescriptions and cannot produce large batches of these medications. In contrast, 503B pharmacies are outsourcing facilities that produce large batches of medications and can also fill patient-specific prescriptions. 

Like any health decision, it’s imperative to discuss the potential benefits and risks of compounded Semaglutide with a licensed healthcare provider who can help guide you through the entire process.

What are the common side effects of Semaglutide?

Semaglutide can produce a variety of side effects in patients. These side effects vary from one person to another but can include the following mild side effects: stomach pain, heartburn, gas and bloating, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness. Most side effects lessen or completely disappear with time.

How to get compounded Semaglutide

Let’s say you’ve spoken with a healthcare professional, and you think compounded Semaglutide could be right for you. The next step is to find a reputable compounding pharmacy. You should work with your doctor to decide where to purchase compounded Semaglutide and investigate the compounding pharmacy’s safety standards and credibility.

There are many resources available to find a compounding pharmacy. First, you can look at the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board’s (PCAB) website. This site contains a list of accredited compounding pharmacies, which you can search by state. These accredited pharmacies all comply with USP compliance standards. You can also check your state Board of Pharmacy website to ensure the state licenses your pharmacy and that it meets all of your state’s requirements.

In addition to finding the right compounding pharmacy, you should also understand the cost considerations and discrepancies between branded and compounded Semaglutide. You’ll want to check with your insurance provider to see what options they cover. Insurance plans do not universally cover compounded Semaglutide, so verifying with your specific insurance provider is critical. However, even if compounded Semaglutide is not covered by your insurance, it still may be cheaper than the branded alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a medication that can help with weight loss for many individuals. While it was originally used to treat type 2 diabetes, it is also very effective for obesity when a patient needs to lose weight to improve their overall health.

What is compounded Semaglutide?

Compounded Semaglutide is a formulation of Semaglutide that comes from a compounding pharmacy. The compounding process allows Semaglutide to be combined with other medications, resulting in other versions of the drug for individual patient needs.

Is compounded Semaglutide safe? 

Unlike branded, approved drugs, compounded medications are not specifically FDA-approved. However, there are safety and quality standards that compounding pharmacies must follow in order to produce these medications. Like any medical decision, it’s important to talk to your doctor to decide if compounded Semaglutide is right for you.

How do I administer Semaglutide?

Although there is a tablet version, the most popular form of Semaglutide is as an injectable medication. If you receive a prescription for this medication, your medical professional can help ensure you administer it properly.

Will my insurance cover compound Semaglutide?

Since each insurance provider has its own policies on compounded medications, it’s crucial to contact your provider directly to get the correct information for your plan.

Ready to work with medical professionals who understand the challenges of losing weight?

At LaSara Medical Group, we empathize with individuals’ distinct weight-loss challenges. Our convenient Telehealth consultations and coaching can help facilitate your path to a healthier weight by focusing on your weight loss goals and specific needs. Semaglutide weight loss programs offered at LaSara Medical Group present a safe and effective avenue to bolster your weight loss endeavors. Want to learn more? Book a consultation with us today!