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Weight Loss

11 min read

Should you get tirzepatide at a compounding pharmacy?

Written by Douglas Helm

Published: Mar 29, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sheelu Bhatnagar

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Tirzepatide is a popular prescription weight loss and type 2 diabetes medication. It’s also pricey, and there’s no generic version available. But should you get tirzepatide at a compounding pharmacy if you can’t find or afford it at a regular pharmacy? We answer that question and more here.

Get a prescription for tirzepatide online in as little as 24 hours.

What is tirzepatide?

Tirzepatide is a dual agonist medication that mimics glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) hormones. This makes it unique compared to the popular drugs Ozempic and Wegovy that are GLP-1 agonists.

By mimicking both the GLP-1 and GIP hormones, tirzepatide encourages the body to release insulin. It also slows stomach emptying, which signals the brain that you feel full. This can help control blood sugar levels and with weight loss. 

Tirzepatide is available as the brand name medications Mounjaro and Zepbound. 

Mounjaro was approved in 2022 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults with type 2 diabetes as part of a treatment plan that includes diet and exercise.

People on Mounjaro discovered that they lost weight in addition to having better blood sugar control. In November 2023, Mounjaro’s manufacturer, Elli Lilly, rebranded the same medication as Zepbound and got it FDA-approved for medically supervised weight loss. It’s approved for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more and adults with a BMI of 27 or more with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes, and is used with diet and exercise.

Both medications are once-weekly injections. The starting dose for tirzepatide is 2.5 milligrams a week for 4 weeks. Your dosage is typically increased 2.5 milligrams every 4 weeks until you reach your ideal maintenance dose. The maintenance dose for tirzepatide can be 5, 10, or 15 milligrams a week. 

Compounding pharmacy vs standard pharmacy 

A standard pharmacy is where you usually go to fill your prescriptions. It may be your local grocery store pharmacy or a big box pharmacy, like CVS, Walmart, Target, or Walgreens. Standard pharmacies dispense medications manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. 

Compounding pharmacies create customized medications using pharmaceutical-grade active ingredients sometimes in small batches, sometimes on-demand. Compounded medication can be tailored to the needs or personal preference of each patient, which may include changing the strength, dose, or form of a medication, adding flavoring, or excluding unwanted or nonessential ingredients.

Why get tirzepatide at a compounding pharmacy?

There are a few reasons you might consider getting tirzepatide at a compounding pharmacy. 

Availability of Zepbound and Mounjaro

One reason to turn to a compounding pharmacy is a nationwide shortage of weight loss and type 2 diabetes medications, including Ozempic (semaglutide), Wegovy (semaglutide), and Mounjaro (tirzepatide). More people are using type 2 diabetes medications off-label for weight loss, which has led to higher demand and shortages. 

According to the FDA, there’s a current shortage for certain doses of Mounjaro. The FDA wasn’t reporting shortages of Zepbound at the time of publication. But, Eli Lilly’s CEO David Ricks told Reuters in January that its 2024 supply of Zepbound may not be enough to keep up with demand.

Lower cost of tirzepatide

Another reason to consider compounded tirzepatide is cost savings. Popular weight loss injections are pricey.

According to, a 28-day supply of Zepbound costs $1,125.54. The same supply of Mounjaro costs $1,135.24. A quick online analysis of prices at 10 compounding pharmacies nationwide shows an average cost of compounded tirzepatide of just $350 a month.


If you have a specific sensitivity to a medication or struggle with the side effects of a standard medication that you need, your provider may choose to use a compounder. This lets them precisely tailor your doses and medication, which may help minimize side effects.

If Zepbound or Mounjaro are in short supply, you can’t afford them, or you have another reason, you may be tempted to get tirzepatide at a compounding pharmacy. Check with your doctor first. If you do get compounded tirzepatide, know that it may include other ingredients like vitamins B9 (Folate) or B12, which aren’t in Zepbound and Mounjaro.

Personal preference

Using compounded tirzepatide over brand-name Zepbound or Mounjaro may be a personal preference. Compounded drugs are custom-made and can be tailored to your specific needs. Your body may better tolerate a custom medication. And they’re usually cheaper than brand-name drugs. If you prefer compounded tirzepatide to Zepbound or Mounjaro, let your healthcare provider know. They’ll go over the associated risks and benefits with you and help you find a reputable compounding pharmacy.

Is tirzepatide at a compounding pharmacy safe?

Compounding is a legal practice in the U.S. under federal law and can be done by any licensed pharmacist or physician in a state-licensed pharmacy or federal facility. This includes compounding pharmacies and standard pharmacies with compounding capabilities. 

It’s important to choose a reputable compounding pharmacy based in the U.S. when buying compounded tirzepatide. In the U.S. compounding pharmacies are regulated by the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA). This act requires compounders to meet certain conditions. In addition, the FDA oversees some compounding pharmacies, while state boards of pharmacy are responsible for others. 

The FDA recognizes 2 types of compounding pharmacies, 503A and 503B. Both are regulated by state boards of pharmacy and must comply with rigorous United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Standards for medication strength, quality, and purity. 503B pharmacies must also comply with good manufacturing practices (CGMP), which are the same standards that pharmaceutical manufacturers follow.

How to safely choose a tirzepatide online or local compounding pharmacy

There are both local and online compounding pharmacies. If you have access to a local compounding pharmacy, it may be the most convenient option. If you don’t have access to a nearby compounder, you can look for a tirzepatide compounding pharmacy online. 

Regardless of whether you opt for an online or local compounder, make sure to check the licensure, accreditation, and quality standards of the pharmacy you choose. Ask them if they are a 503A or 503B pharmacy. If possible, pick a 503B pharmacy. And if you choose an online pharmacy, make sure it has a physical address and telephone number in the U.S. and complies with FDA guidelines.

A good place to start in assessing a compounding pharmacy is the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board’s (PCAB) website. There you can find a list of accredited compounding pharmacies organized by state. Having PCAB accreditation means the pharmacy complies with USP compliance standards. Additionally:

  • Check your state’s board of pharmacy website to verify that your chosen pharmacy is licensed in your state and has a clean disciplinary record and has a state-licensed pharmacist on staff.
  • Ask for a certificate of analysis to verify your chosen pharmacy’s tirzepatide active ingredient.
  • Ask for documentation that your chosen pharmacy’s tirzepatide has gone through potency and sterility testing.

Consider asking the pharmacy how they compound medication and how they train their staff. Some of this information may be on its website. If not, contact the pharmacy directly.

Talk to your doctor as well to find out if they recommend compounded medications and about your best prescription weight loss medication options.

Find a weight loss provider on Klarity and see if tirzepatide is right for you

If you’re looking to lose weight, a healthcare provider can help. With Klarity, you can find weight loss providers who can tailor a weight loss program that fits your health goals and needs and ensure you lose weight safely. Find a weight loss provider on Klarity today.

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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