The Basics of Compounded Tirzepatide

Weight management can be difficult for many. In the last few years, scientific breakthroughs have changed how many view and treat weight loss. Today, there are many prescription medications that can help with weight loss. One of these medications is tirzepatide. In this article, we’ll look in-depth at tirzepatide: what it is, how it works, and why you might consider taking it in a compounded form. 

What is tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is a drug that individuals take to help manage diabetes. It’s an injectable peptide that’s currently FDA-approved for those with Type 2 diabetes and commonly sold under the brand name Mounjaro. It’s also known as Zepbound, used for medically supervised weight loss. This drug is approved for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. It can also be used by adults who have a BMI over 25. Patients should take this with the appropriate diet and exercise for best results. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly produces both Mounjaro and Zepbound.

Tirzepatide is a dual-action drug that targets glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors. 

When it acts on the GLP-1 receptor, it helps regulate appetite. When it acts on the GIP receptor, it regulates blood sugar levels while improving fasting insulin levels. In these ways, it helps slow food leaving the stomach while reducing appetite. Studies of tirzepatide also show promising results. Clinical trials show that its use can lead to significant weight loss. 

Tirzepatide vs Semaglutide

Another popular drug choice for weight loss is semaglutide. Branded semaglutides include Wegovy and Ozempic. Like tirzepatide, these semaglutide medications target glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors to help regulate and suppress appetite. However, these weight-loss drugs only target one receptor. Tirzepatide, on the other hand, takes a double-receptor approach, and it seems to provide more noticeable results.

What are the benefits of tirzepatide? 

Studies have shown that tirzepatide offers many benefits. Here are a few of the many benefits for weight loss patients:

  • Effective weight loss aid
  • Targets multiple pathways involved in glucose regulation and appetite control
  • Promotes sustainable weight loss outcomes
  • Demonstrated efficacy in reducing body weight
  • Potential improvement in overall health markers, such as blood sugar levels
  • Favorable safety profile
  • Offers hope for individuals struggling with obesity
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved

Now that you know more about the benefits of tirzepatide, let’s look at alternative options for those looking to take control of their weight.

What is a compound medication?

Before we talk about compounded tirzepatide, it’s important to understand what compounding 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 tirzepatide

As you might expect, compounded tirzepatide is exactly what it sounds like – a compounded form of tirzepatide. Compounded tirzepatide can help patients with allergic reactions while also allowing for a precise dosage or additional active ingredients that can help reduce the side effects of tirzepatide. Like any medication, tirzepatide has the possibility of producing side effects. Of particular note are gastrointestinal issues. Compounding may offer customization benefits that can mitigate these potential side effects.

In addition, Tirzepatide 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 CVS, Walgreens, or even your neighborhood grocery store with a pharmacy. These pharmacies dispense medications formulated and manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that are prescribed by medical professionals. All of these types of medications are FDA-approved.

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

While compounded formulations of tirzepatide 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. 

Let’s unpack the difference between 503A and 503B compounding pharmacies. 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 tirzepatide with a licensed healthcare provider, who can help guide you through the entire process.

What are the common side effects of tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide can produce a wide range of side effects. These side effects vary from one person to another but can include the following mild side effects: nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, and stomach (abdominal) pain. Most side effects lessen or completely disappear with time.

How to get compounded tirzepatide

If you’ve spoken with a healthcare professional and you think compounded tirzepatide is right for you, you’ll want to find a reputable compounding pharmacy. Not only should you collaborate with your doctor about where to purchase compounded tirzepatide, but you should also investigate the compounding pharmacy’s credibility and safety standards.

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 your pharmacy is licensed by the state and 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 tirzepatide. Check with your insurance provider to see if they cover these options. Insurance plans do not universally cover compounded tirzepatide, so verifying with your specific insurance provider is critical. However, even if compounded tirzepatide is not covered by your insurance, it still may be cheaper than the branded alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is a medication that can help promote weight loss. Originally used to treat Type 2 Diabetes, it has become a popular medication because of its efficacy in helping patients lose weight.

What is compounded tirzepatide?

Compounded tirzepatide is a formulation of the drug that comes from a pharmacy. During the compounding process, tirzepatide may be combined with other medications.

Is compounded tirzepatide safe? 

The FDA does not specifically approve compounded medications like branded ones. However, there are safety and quality-control 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 tirzepatide is right for you.

How do I administer tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is a subcutaneous injection. If you receive a prescription for this medication, your medical professional can help ensure you administer it properly.

Will my insurance cover compound tirzepatide?

Each insurance provider will have their own policies on compounded medications, so it’s important that you contact your provider to get the correct information for your situation.

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. Tirzepatide 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!