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Weight Loss

14 min read

Compounded semaglutide — what is it and where to get it?

Written by Stephanie Brown

Published: May 13, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sheelu Bhatnagar

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Semaglutide is the active ingredient in the injectable weight-loss medications, Ozempic and Wegovy. They’re approved to manage blood glucose levels and A1C in people with type 2 diabetes and for weight loss when used with diet and exercise, respectively. If you’re considering getting compounded semaglutide, this article covers everything you need to know about it, including what it is and where you can get it.

What is compounded semaglutide?

Compounded semaglutide is made on-demand or in small batches at a compounding pharmacy. When you get semaglutide at a legitimate compounding pharmacy or retailer, it’s made using a pharmaceutical-grade form of semaglutide and other ingredients that, if needed, can be tailored to your needs. Getting it requires a prescription.

Talk to a provider about semaglutide online in as little as 24 hours.

Compounded semaglutide is made with a pharmaceutical-grade form of the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic. And like Ozempic and Wegovy, it’s a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist medication. GLP-1s mimic a hormone the body releases after a meal to stimulate insulin release and slow stomach emptying. This helps with blood sugar control and decreased appetite, which helps you eat less and lose weight. 

Why use compounded semaglutide?

You might choose compounded semaglutide over brand-name Ozempic or Wegovy as a personal preference or for other reasons. 

Personal Preference

Choosing compounded semaglutide over a brand-name drug can come down to personal preference. Compounded medications can be tailored to your specific needs and may be better tolerated by your body. They can also be cheaper than brand-name medications. If compounded semaglutide is your personal preference, talk to your healthcare provider about the associated benefits and potential risks.

Allergies

Compounded semaglutide can be a safer alternative if you have an allergy to an inactive ingredient in Ozempic or Wegovy, such as disodium phosphate dihydrate, propylene glycol, phenol hydrochloric acid, or sodium bicarbonate. Compounding pharmacies may be able to make your semaglutide without those ingredients. This way you still get the benefits of semaglutide without risking an allergic reaction. 

Added ingredients

You might consider compounded semaglutide if you have trouble with side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. Some compounded semaglutide has added ingredients, like vitamin B12, to reduce side effects. It’s important to note that there currently isn’t research to support added ingredients reducing side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about semaglutide’s side effects.

Cost

It’s possible to get Ozempic for $25 a month and even get Wegovy for free if you have insurance and use Novo Nordick’s savings cards. But without insurance coverage, retail prices above $1,000 for Wegovy and Ozempic can make it difficult to afford them. To ease the hit to your pocketbook, you can get semaglutide from a compounding pharmacy for between $79 and $400 a month. 

Be aware that insurance doesn’t always cover compounded medications and some compounding pharmacies don’t take insurance at all. The price listed for compounded semaglutide at your pharmacy of choice will most likely be what you pay.

Supply shortages

It can be difficult to find Ozempic or Wegovy in stock. Shortages are common due to their popularity. Compounded semaglutide lets you take one of these drugs to continue treatment during supply shortages. While compounded semaglutide should work the same as the brand-name drug, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before switching from brand-name to compounded medications.

Is compounded semaglutide safe?

The creation and sale of compounded semaglutide is completely legal. When buying compounded semaglutide, it’s important to choose a reputable, U.S.-based compounding pharmacy. They’re regulated by the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA), which requires compounders to meet certain conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees some compounding pharmacies, while state boards of pharmacy are responsible for others. More information on this below. 

How does compounded semaglutide compare to Wegovy or Ozempic

Compounded semaglutide isn’t the same as Ozempic or Wegovy. While they should work similarly, there are some differences. A side-by-side comparison is provided below. 

DrugOzempicWegovyCompounded semaglutide
Reason for useTo manage blood glucose levels and A1C in people with type 2 diabetes. Should be used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Also reduces the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke in adults with type 2 diabetes.Weight loss when used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Also reduces the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke in adults with cardiovascular disease and either obesity or overweight.Type 2 diabetes or weight loss depending on patient needs
Customizable ingredientsNoNoYes
Cost per month$1,029*$1,430*As low as $250**
FormPre-filled injection penPre-filled injection penVial requiring a needle and syringe for administration
*According to drugs.com at time of publication.
** Based on a search of internet pricing for compounded semaglutide.

Ozempic and Wegovy come in prefilled injection pens, each with a fixed number of doses. Compounding pharmacies typically sell semaglutide formulations in a vial. You need a separate syringe and needle to draw up your dose from the vial and you’re responsible for measuring the dose using the marks on the syringe.

Both Ozempic and Wegovy are manufactured by Novo Nordisk on a huge scale and the same ingredients are used in each dose. Compounded semaglutide is made in single or small batches that may be tailored to individual patients. The form of semaglutide and other ingredients used may vary among compounding pharmacies. 

It’s important to note that compounded semaglutide’s side effects might differ from Ozempic and Wegovy side effects.  Common side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Injection site reaction
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue

How to decide if you should get compounded semaglutide

The decision to get compounded semaglutide should be made with your healthcare provider. And you need a prescription from your provider to get it at either a standard pharmacy or a valid compounding one. 

To get a prescription for compounded semaglutide, you need to meet the basic criteria for treatment with the brand-name drug. Ozempic is approved to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, Wegovy is approved for weight loss in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, or 27 or greater with a weight-related health condition. It’s also approved for adolescents 12 or older with a BMI in the 95th percentile for their age and sex. 

Ozempic (if used for weight loss), Wegovy, and compounded semaglutide should be used as part of a medical weight loss program alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. While medications containing semaglutide offer weight loss benefits, they shouldn’t be used off-label or for cosmetic weight loss. Talk to your healthcare provider about which of these medications is right for you, if any.

Where to get compounded semaglutide

You can get compounded semaglutide anywhere compounded medications are available. This includes compounding pharmacies and standard ones that offer compounding services. It’s also available at hospitals and clinics that maintain a stock of compounded medications. 

Patients should be aware that the DQSA categorizes compounding pharmacies based on the FDA guidelines they follow. Compounding pharmacies operating under section 503A must receive a valid prescription from an individual patient before filling a medication. Those that operate under section 503B are considered “outsourcing facilities.” They can distribute compounded medicines to hospitals and clinics for in-office dispensing as well as dispensing to individual patients. 

503B compounding pharmacies are subject to current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements. 503A pharmacies aren’t. CGMP requirements are the same standards that pharmaceutical manufacturers, like Novo Nordisk, follow. 

Standard, 503B, and 503A pharmacies must comply with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Standards for medication strength, quality, and purity. 

Compounded vs counterfeit semaglutide: what’s the difference?

The FDA warns against purchasing counterfeit semaglutide. These products are unregulated versions that are made with unsafe, fake, or unauthorized ingredients. Some products sold as semaglutide may not contain semaglutide at all. 

To protect against counterfeit medications, the FDA encourages patients to get prescription drugs only from state-licensed pharmacies. Counterfeits might be sold without a prescription, so be sure your pharmacy requires one. The FDA’s BeSafeRx program provides resources to help you vet pharmacies and semaglutide products. 

To find a reputable compound pharmacy, the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board’s (PCAB) website is a good place to start. It provides a list of accredited compounding pharmacies by state. A PCAB-accredited pharmacy complies with USP medication standards. Check your state’s board of pharmacy website to verify that your chosen pharmacy is licensed, has a clean disciplinary record, and has a state-licensed pharmacist on staff. 

Key takeaway

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in brand-name weight loss injections Ozempic and Wegovy. Compounded semaglutide contains the same active ingredient, or a form of it, but can be tailored to your specific needs — either by adding or omitting ingredients. You can get compounded semaglutide at compounding pharmacies and standard pharmacies that offer compounding services. 

You might choose compounded semaglutide due to personal preference, allergies, ingredients, cost, and even availability. But be aware that there are some differences between compounded semaglutide and the brand-name drugs. Compounded semaglutide isn’t Ozempic or Wegovy. It’s a semaglutide medication formulated for your individual needs. When buying compounded semaglutide, it’s important to choose a reputable, U.S.-based pharmacy that’s registered with the FDA. 

Get a semaglutide prescription in as little as 24 hours from a provider on Klarity

If you’re considering brand-name or compounded semaglutide for weight loss, Klarity can connect you with a licensed healthcare provider specialized in weight management. Get started and find a provider on Klarity today.

Sources

Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Find A Provider, https://www.achc.org/find-a-provider/

Drugs.com, Ozempic Prices, Coupons, and Patient Assistance Programs, https://www.drugs.com/price-guide/ozempic

Drugs.com, Wegovy Prices, Coupons, and Patient Assistance Programs, https://www.drugs.com/price-guide/wegovy 

Preston’s Pharmacy, Semaglutide: Weight Loss, Gabby Cain, August 2023, https://prestonspharmacy.com/semaglutide-weight-loss/

University Compounding Pharmacy, Understanding Compounded Semaglutide Side Effects, February 2024, https://univrx.com/understanding-compounded-semaglutide-side-effects/ 

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, BeSafeRx: Your Source for Online Pharmacy Information, September 2020, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/quick-tips-buying-medicines-over-internet/besaferx-your-source-online-pharmacy-information

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Compounding Laws and Policies, September 2020, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/human-drug-compounding/compounding-laws-and-policies

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Medications Containing Semaglutide Marketed for Type 2 Diabetes or Weight Loss, January 2024, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/medications-containing-semaglutide-marketed-type-2-diabetes-or-weight-loss

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Prescription Requirement Under Section 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, December 2016, chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.fda.gov/files/drugs/published/Prescription-Requirement-Under-Section-503A-of-the-Federal-Food–Drug–and-Cosmetic-Act-Guidance-for-Industry.pdf.

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

How we reviewed this article: This article goes through rigorous fact-checking by a team of medical reviewers. Reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the author.

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All professional services are provided by independent private practices via the Klarity technology platform. Klarity Health, Inc. does not provide any medical services.
If you’re having an emergency or in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help: Emergency: Call 911. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 988. Crisis Text Line: Text Home to 741-741
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If you’re having an emergency or in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help: Emergency: Call 911. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 988. Crisis Text Line: Text Home to 741-741
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