With Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of this new weight loss drug, we’re keeping tabs on where to find it, who should use it, and more.

Prescription weight loss medications may be a useful tool for people looking to lose weight or maintain their weight loss, when used in combination with a well-balanced diet and exercise routine.

In November 2023, the FDA approved Zepbound (tirzepatide) for long-term weight management. However, it’s been approved for treating type 2 diabetes under the trade name Mounjaro since May 2022.

Doctors can now prescribe weekly Zepbound injections for adults with obesity or overweight and at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If you’re interested in learning more about Zepbound and how you can acquire it, continue reading.

Zepbound is a prescription weight loss drug manufactured by Eli Lilly. Users inject themselves with doses weekly.

The active ingredient in Zepbound is tirzepatide, which mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). As a GLP-1 agonist, it works by slowing stomach emptying, increasing feelings of fullness, and reducing glucagon secretion, a hormone involved in blood sugar and appetite regulation.

Zepbound can also activate a second hormone pathway involved in appetite regulation: glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide. This effect may improve how the body breaks down sugar and fat, helping boost weight loss.

If you have obesity or overweight and want to lose weight, doctors may recommend trying Zepbound in combination with other lifestyle changes, such as following a well-balanced diet and exercise routine.

According to the FDA, qualifying for this medication includes having a BMI of 30 or more or 27 or more and at least one weight-related condition, such as:

To obtain a prescription for Zepbound, you have two options: through an in-person visit with your doctor or through a telehealth consultation.

Several telehealth platforms, like Calibrate, now offer prescriptions for GLP-1 medications, including Zepbound, Mounjaro, and Wegovy, coupled with counseling and support.

During your appointment, the doctor will review your medical history, discuss any health concerns, and assess your weight loss goals to determine if Zepbound is suitable for you. They may also request blood tests to evaluate your metabolism, organ health, and other factors.

If you qualify, the doctor can prescribe Zepbound and guide any necessary lifestyle adjustments, like following a diet or exercise plan tailored to your needs.

Once you have a prescription, you can access Zepbound by visiting a retail pharmacy in person or ordering through a mail-order pharmacy.

However, the process of obtaining medication isn’t always straightforward, even if you have a prescription.

There are significant shortages of GLP-1 weight loss medications due to manufacturers having difficulty meeting growing demand, which could be a concern for those interested in Zepbound.

Through a spokesperson, Eli Lilly addressed this issue.

“Today we are able to meet demand, but realize we will face challenges. We do our best to be prepared for any hurdles we might face,” Rhonda Pacheco, group vice president of U.S. Diabetes and Obesity at Eli Lilly, said in a statement.

“We are committed to doing all that we can to help meet demand, including making historic investments to enhance our manufacturing capability.”

Zepbound and Mounjaro both contain the active ingredient tirzepatide.

The only difference between the two is that the FDA has approved Zepbound for weight loss and Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes.

In addition to Zepbound, the FDA has approved two other GLP-1s for weight loss: liraglutide, marketed as Saxenda, and semaglutide, available as Wegovy.

These prescription medications are part of the same class of drugs as Zepbound and work by affecting appetite and metabolism to promote weight loss.

A significant difference between these medications is their dosing schedule. Saxenda is typically administered once daily as a subcutaneous injection, while Wegovy is a weekly injection.

Wegovy may lead to more significant weight loss, though people report side effects more often with use. However, individual responses to these medications vary.

Yes, you’ll need a prescription for Zepbound. Prescriptions can typically be written by licensed healthcare professionals authorized by law to do so in your state. That may mean a medical doctor, physician assistant, or a nurse practitioner specializing in weight management.

While Eli Lilly doesn’t offer specific pricing information for Zepbound, it has a savings program in place. With eligible health insurance, you may pay as little as $25 for a 1- to 3-month prescription.

If your insurance doesn’t cover Zepbound, you can still save through the program, potentially reducing the cost to $550 for a 1-month supply, saving up to $563. These figures suggest the approximate monthly cost of Zepbound without insurance is around $1,113, which aligns with the similar list price of Mounjaro at $1,023.04 for a 4-week supply.

Neither Medicare nor Medicaid covers weight loss medications like Zepbound.