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Diabetic Seniors Considering Medical Compounded Drugs

If you are looking for a replacement for a GLP-1 class drug to manage diabetes for you or a senior loved one you are not alone. This is a challenging task, especially for seniors and their families. Recently, there has been a surge in interest in medication compounding, largely due to the shortage and high cost of GLP-1 medications. These drugs, used to treat Type 2 diabetes and assist with weight loss, are popular due to their effectiveness. This has led many to explore medical compounding as a way to save money or simply to obtain a GLP-1 medication in some form. This trend highlights the long-standing practice of pharmacists compounding medications to meet individual patient needs.

Diabetes - Medical Concept on Grey Background with Blurred Text and Composition of Pills, Syringe and Stethoscope. 3D Render.

What is Medication Compounding?

According to the FDA, compounding is the process of creating a personalized medication for a patient who cannot use an FDA-approved drug. This may be due to an allergy to an ingredient, difficulty swallowing a pill, or the need for a different dosage form. Compounding involves a licensed pharmacist or physician who combines, mixes or alters drug ingredients to tailor a medication to a specific patient. Despite its relatively low prevalence, pharmaceutical compounding plays a crucial role in ensuring medication compliance, especially as patients age and their tolerance to certain drug formats changes. For example, medications that are difficult to swallow can be transformed into patches or liquids.

The Importance of Quality in Compounding

Medical compounding has a long history but is now typically performed by licensed pharmacists. The FDA does not oversee medical compounding, making it crucial for compounding professionals to maintain high standards of cleanliness, drug selection, and processing to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the medication. The National Library of Medicine offers detailed information on the various aspects of compounding, emphasizing the importance of quality and safety in this practice.

Considering Compounding – Buyer Beware

For seniors relying on FDA-approved GLP-1 drugs, sourcing these medications can be challenging. Many online compounders use aggressive marketing tactics to attract customers. Compounding is permitted under federal law and in all 50 states, including compounding "essentially a copy" of an FDA-approved drug if it is listed as "currently in shortage" by the FDA. However, it is essential to find a trustworthy compounder. Good Rx Health advises discussing the potential benefits and risks of compounded semaglutide with your healthcare provider. Ensure you understand what is in the injection and who is providing it. Avoid purchasing semaglutide that does not require a prescription.  It is important to note that compounded semaglutide differs from brand-name drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy and may contain unauthorized or additional ingredients. Once the shortages are resolved, switching back to the original medications may be advisable.

Medicare and Insurance Considerations

Another potential issue for seniors is insurance coverage. Medicare and other insurance companies may not cover compounded medications for various reasons. Many compounders do not accept insurance, and some insurance companies will not pay for out-of-network compounders. It is crucial to discuss your specific needs with your Medicare Advantage provider or Medicare to understand coverage for compounded semaglutide medications.

While compounding can offer a solution to the current GLP-1 drug shortage, it is vital to approach it with caution. Ensure you work with reputable professionals and understand the implications of insurance coverage.


Always consult your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your diabetes management.



National Institute of Health

Good RX Health

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