Zepbound was approved in November 2023 for adults with a BMI of 30 or greater, and as of this writing, is the latest FDA-approved anti-obesity medication.

What is Zepbound?

Zepbound is an injectable prescription medicine that may help adults with obesity, or with excess weight (overweight) who also have weight-related medical problems, lose weight and keep it off. Zepbound should be used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. According to the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, Zepbound works differently by activating 2 hormone receptors**. It reduces appetite, food intake, body fat, and body weight.
**GIP=glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and GLP-1=glucagon-like peptide-1.

Zepbound Shortage and Zepbound Availability

As noted in this NBC news article, Mounjaro and Zepbound shortages will likely persist through the remainder of 2024 due to demand surpassing supply. According to their Q1 2024 earnings call, Eli Lilly states “We expect acceleration in revenue growth through the second half of the year as supply of incretin medicines continues to ramp. Significant advances in our pipeline include top-line data from tirzepatide and SURMOUNT-OSA, approval of the KwikPen delivery device from Mounjaro in the EU…We are continuing to invest in recent and upcoming launches, internal and external pipeline development, and our manufacturing expansion agenda. This is to sustain our long-term growth outlook.” Later in the call, Lilly executives noted adding manufacturing capacity through bringing additional manufacturing facilities, namely by acquiring a Nexus manufacturing plant in Pleasant Prairie, WI.

Zepbound Doses

Take Zepbound at home, with or without food, once a week. Zepbound comes in a single-dose pen that requires no mixing. There’s no need to see or handle the needle. A typical dosing schedule might be:

  • Initiate with the 2.5-mg dose
  • After 4 weeks, increase to the 5-mg dose
  • Work with your provider to determine if there is a need to increase the dose, if need is determined, your healthcare provider will prescribe an increased dose, increasing the dose by 2.5-mg increments after at least 4 weeks on the current dose. The maximum dose is 15 mg.

Check with your healthcare provider for your individual dosing schedule and determining maintenance dose.

Zepbound Injection Sites

Your healthcare provider can help you choose the injection site that is best for you. You or another person can inject the medicine in your stomach or thigh. Another person should give you the injection in the back of your upper arm.

Zepbound Savings Card

Click here for a Zepbound Savings Card.

Common Zepbound Side Effects

Like any medication, Zepbound has potential side effects that users should be aware of before taking it. In this section, we will discuss the most common side effects associated with Zepbound and provide tips on how to minimize them. Whether you are considering taking Zepbound or are already using it, we will provide you with valuable information to help you make informed decisions about your weight loss journey.

  • Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
    Heartburn and acid reflux are also caused by the way Zepbound affects your digestive system. Many people find that changing their diet can help ease their symptoms, for example, by cutting down on caffeine and eating less spicy or fatty foods. As acid reflux is a common problem in people of all ages, there’s lots of treatments to relieve your discomfort. Antacids like Tums or Rolaids are over-the-counter drugs that help relieve symptoms of pain and discomfort caused by conditions such as heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While antacids will relieve symptoms for a few hours, they don’t treat the underlying medical conditions that cause these symptoms.
  • Headaches
    Headaches are one of the most common side effects of taking a dual agonist like Zepbound (a GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist). They can be caused by dehydration, low blood sugar, or your body just getting used to the change in hormones. If you’re experiencing headaches alongside sickness and diarrhea, you may likely be dehydrated. Make sure to rehydrate your body by drinking plenty of fluids and using oral rehydration products like Pedialyte, Liquid IV, or LMNT, if necessary.
  • Nausea and Vomiting:
    Nausea and vomiting are also very common Zepbound side effects. This is because semaglutide works by slowing down the emptying of the stomach, which can result in an upset stomach while your body gets used to it. There are a couple of ways you can settle your stomach without taking medication, including:
  • Burping (also known as “sulfur burps”)
    Gas and bloating can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, even embarrassing. As with some of the other symptoms on this list, gas can be reduced by eating slowly, eating a balanced diet, eating little and often, and getting regular exercise. You may want to avoid foods that are well known for causing flatulence. This includes beans, sprouts and cabbage, and cutting down on soda and other carbonated beverages, which introduce more gas into your system.
  • Diarrhea
    When you’re taking Zepbound for weight loss, your clothes aren’t the only thing that could get looser. Diarrhea is another common side effect of this medication. One of the most important things to do if you’re experiencing diarrhea is to stay hydrated. Dehydration can be a serious risk, but drinking lots of water and using oral rehydration products or tablets, like Pedialyte, Liquid IV, or LMNT can help. If your diarrhea is persistent, contact your doctor or healthcare team.
  • Constipation
    Those who don’t have diarrhea during their treatment may have the opposite problem — constipation. You may be experiencing constipation if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Difficult and painful bowel movements
    • Bowel movements fewer than three times a week
    • Feeling bloated or uncomfortable
      Some of the best remedies for constipation are also generally recommended for everyone. For example, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber, which is found in fruits and vegetables, and staying hydrated can help to relieve constipation. Regular exercise, even something as simple as a daily walk, can also help to keep things moving. If these remedies don’t work, you could ask your pharmacist for a laxative or stool softener to help things along.

Do the side effects of Zepbound go away?

As is the case with many medications, side effects don’t tend to last for long. Any side effects you may experience from the Zepbound injection will likely disappear once your body adjusts. However, if your symptoms persist, you should contact your doctor or pharmacist for further advice on how to prevent or reduce some of the side effects. They will also be able to assess whether continuing treatment is the right option for you.

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