W.With just a few clicks, Daniel added the chemicals to his online cart and ordered them. In less than a week, a vial of white powder arrived at his home. He used a syringe to measure out sterile water and injected it into the vial to dissolve the powder.
Then, another syringe drew up about a quarter milliliter of the solution and injected it into the lower abdomen.
This product was what an online chemical supplier said was semaglutide. These are the active ingredients in a new generation of diabetes and obesity drugs that have become very popular for causing significant weight loss.
Currently, semaglutide and tirzepatide are listed on at least a dozen websites dedicated to a class of protein-related products called peptides. They say their chemicals should only be used for laboratory research purposes and not for human use, but individuals can use them to make their own injections at home. I am ordering from the website.
People in bodybuilding and biohacking circles have long turned to these sources for chemicals looking to build muscle and burn fat. Original pharmaceuticals from Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly remain difficult to obtain.
Novo’s semaglutide, marketed under the brand names Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for obesity, is recovering from months of shortages. Lilly’s tirzepatide is recently marketed under the name Munjaro for diabetes. fell in shortage. Each chronic remedy costs over $1,000 a month, and few insurance companies cover weight loss medications.
Delivery man Daniel has ordered from these suppliers since August because he could not afford the full price of the medicine. So far, he’s lost weight and feels nauseous and tired, similar to the side effects associated with his original medication: “I’m willing to take the risk if it means I can afford it.” blasphemy,” he said. STAT only publishes the names of people who have ordered from peptide suppliers due to possible legal action from the supplier.
people also dispensing pharmacywhich mixes the active ingredient with other chemicals to provide a ready-made compound.
Novo and Lilly don’t sell their drugs to other manufacturers, so these alternative routes could be risky, doctors say. It is also not regulated in the same way as conventional medicines.
Jamy Ard, co-director of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Weight Management Center, said:
The excitement over new drugs, known as incretin drugs, could also lead some people to “skip from start to finish” and jump on them as treatment options, Ard said. “Some people absolutely need an incretin treatment strategy, but that’s not all. It’s not a go-to solution for everyone.”
Novo said in an emailed statement that it does not offer or sell bulk semaglutide and that the alternative combination product “does not have the same assurances of safety, quality and It can put you at risk,” he said.
In an emailed statement, Lilly said its brand of tirzepatide, Munjaro, “is only available in pre-filled, single-dose pens manufactured by Lilly. Munjaro is available in other forms (such as powders). ) is not commercially available.
Josh is a patient who has repeatedly tried to obtain the original drug. In his September he took out Wegovy insurance, but due to a shortage of medicine, he received nothing. He then received a prescription for Munjaro, but in early December, pharmacies ran out of the drug, too.
Josh had a congenital heart defect and was obese, and fearing that both increased his risk of serious heart disease, he rushed to look for other options. I found a telemedicine provider who will help me.
He also ordered semaglutide from his peptide supplier. With Wegovy back in stock, he never used it, but he keeps the chemicals on hand in case the original drug is no longer available again.
“When I started thinking that I might have to stop treatment just because I couldn’t get it, I became frustrated and anxious,” he said.
Jaime Armandos, medical director at the University of Texas at Southwestern Waite, said the chemical content was unknown and people could mix the wrong amount or not mix aseptically. said ordering from peptide suppliers can be risky because of wellness programs.
Peptide suppliers say their products are intended for laboratory research, but appear to be marketing them in ways that appeal to individual consumers. The site says people can earn rewards on their orders to use for future purchases.SAF-Research’s site says they have the option to buy now and pay later. . Emails and phone calls to the supplier went unanswered.
Armandoz said dispensing pharmacies may be less at risk because professionals are expected to mix products in a sterile environment. is unknown, and there are no data on the safety or efficacy of formulated products.
Compounds manufactured by a pharmacy, if the pharmacy is registered with the Food and Drug Administration does not need to be approved By regulators, as a typical over-the-counter drug should be.
Pamela Mitchell, a 52-year-old journalist near Houston, said she feels safe taking mixed semaglutide since she was prescribed it by a weight loss specialist after she was unable to supplement Munjaro.
She wanted to lose weight to alleviate brain fog that her gynecologist said could be related to menopause or obesity. An indicator of fatty liver disease was also shown. “It was important to find a tool that would help me continue to lose weight so that I could continue to treat the health concerns associated with menopause and obesity,” she said.
Mitchell obtained compounded semaglutide from Empower Pharmacy but did not respond to a request for comment.
UT Southwestern’s Almandoz says he understands the desire to have the latest medicines, but whenever a patient asks about a dispensing pharmacy, he says, “I get very anxious and I’m trying to avoid that option. ‘ said. There are other drugs and procedures like bariatric surgery that can be considered, he said.
Ultimately, “people are desperate to be healthier,” he said. “The fact that people are resorting to non-traditional routes to obtain potentially dangerous drugs speaks to the desire for better health.”
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