Unveiling the Dangers of Compounded Ozempic

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Defective Drugs, Defective Product, Ozempic Lawsuit, Product Liability

Ozempic, a medication primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes, has garnered attention for its efficacy in managing blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss. However, as with any pharmaceutical, it is not without its drawbacks. As you may recall, numerous lawsuits are being filed against Novo Nordisk for unreported serious side effects. Now, additional risks have come to light regarding compounded Ozempic. Reports suggest that numerous patients taking compounded Ozempic are suffering serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects.

Compounded drugs involve a practice where pharmacies create custom formulations of the drug. Unfortunately, these compounds are not always as safe or effective as the original product. Additionally, lacking oversight and regulations present a series of concerns that demand attention.

Below, the harmful drug lawyers at Kherkher Garcia delve into the issues surrounding compounded Ozempic. Our goal is to provide consumers with more information on the potential risks and limitations associated with using these medications.

Understanding Ozempic

Before delving into the complexities of compounded Ozempic, it’s crucial to grasp the fundamentals of the medication itself. Ozempic, generically known as semaglutide, belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. It works by mimicking the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which stimulates insulin secretion and inhibits glucagon secretion, thereby lowering blood sugar levels. Moreover, Ozempic is renowned for its ability to curb appetite, leading to weight loss—a desirable effect for many individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The Appeal of Compounded Medications

Compounded medications have gained popularity for various reasons. They allow for personalized dosages and formulations tailored to individual needs, catering to patients who may have allergies, sensitivities, or difficulty swallowing conventional pills. Furthermore, compounded medications can offer alternative delivery methods, such as transdermal gels or sublingual tablets, which may enhance absorption and efficacy.

What are the Dangers of Compounded Ozempic?

When it comes to Ozempic, the compounding process introduces a myriad of challenges and potential hazards that warrant careful consideration. Some of the most pressing concerns include:

Lack of Standardization

One of the primary concerns surrounding compounded Ozempic is the absence of standardization in dosage and formulation. Unlike commercially available Ozempic, which undergoes rigorous testing and quality control measures, compounded versions may vary significantly in potency and consistency. This lack of standardization raises questions about the drug’s safety and efficacy, as patients may receive doses that are either too weak to be effective or excessively potent, leading to adverse reactions.

Stability and Shelf Life

Another critical issue with compounded medications, including Ozempic, is stability and shelf life. The process of compounding involves mixing and manipulating ingredients, which can compromise the stability of the final product. Without proper testing and monitoring, compounded Ozempic may degrade more rapidly than its commercially manufactured counterpart, diminishing its effectiveness over time. Additionally, variations in storage conditions and handling practices further exacerbate the risk of degradation, potentially rendering the medication ineffective or even harmful.

Regulatory Oversight

Unlike commercial pharmaceuticals, which are subject to stringent regulatory oversight by agencies like the FDA, compounded medications operate in a regulatory gray area. While compounding pharmacies are regulated by state boards of pharmacy, oversight and enforcement mechanisms vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. This lack of uniform regulation leaves room for inconsistencies in quality control, manufacturing standards, and labeling requirements, further compromising the safety and reliability of compounded Ozempic.

Salt Forms

Some compounders might use different salt forms of semaglutide (the active ingredient) than the approved drug. These variations can lead to unpredictable effects, such as:

  • Different Salt Forms: Compounded versions may use salt forms of semaglutide (like sodium or acetate) that differ from the FDA-approved drug. These variations can significantly alter the drug’s:
    • Absorption rate: How quickly the body takes up the medication.
    • Distribution: How the medication reaches different tissues.
    • Elimination: How the body gets rid of the medication.
  • Unknown Safety Profile: Since these salt forms haven’t undergone rigorous testing and approval by the FDA, their safety profile is unknown. This means potential side effects and interactions with other medications are unpredictable, potentially leading to:
    • Increased risk of adverse reactions.
    • Difficulty managing side effects.
    • Interference with other medications.

Potential Contamination and Cross-Contamination

The compounding process introduces opportunities for contamination and cross-contamination, posing significant risks to patient safety. From inadequate sterilization of equipment to improper handling of ingredients, there are numerous points in the compounding workflow where contaminants can infiltrate the final product. Moreover, compounding pharmacies often produce multiple medications in the same facility, increasing the likelihood of cross-contamination between different drugs—an issue that can have serious consequences for patients with allergies or sensitivities.

Counterfeit Ozempic

Counterfeit compounded Ozempic poses significant dangers to patients, primarily due to the lack of quality control, inconsistent dosages, and potential contamination. Here are some of the key dangers associated with counterfeit compounded Ozempic:

  • Unknown Ingredients and Contaminants: Counterfeit compounded medications may contain unknown or undisclosed ingredients, which can pose serious health risks. These ingredients may interact negatively with other medications the patient is taking or cause allergic reactions. Moreover, contaminants introduced during the compounding process or due to unsanitary conditions can lead to adverse effects or infections.
  • Decreased Efficacy: The efficacy of counterfeit compounded Ozempic cannot be guaranteed due to the lack of standardized manufacturing processes and quality control. Patients may not experience the expected benefits of the medication, such as improved blood sugar control and weight loss, leading to suboptimal diabetes management and potential complications.
  • Safety Concerns: Counterfeit medications are often produced in unregulated facilities without adherence to safety standards and protocols. This increases the risk of contamination, improper handling, and storage practices that can compromise the safety of the medication. Patients may be exposed to harmful substances or pathogens that can cause adverse reactions or exacerbate underlying health conditions.

Recently, the FDA has seized thousands of doses of counterfeit Ozempic. At least five people reported adverse events after taking the counterfeit drugs.

What Adverse Events are Linked to Compounded Ozempic?

There have been reports of people experiencing serious side effects from compounded Ozempic, including:

Semaglutide is a medication primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes. It comes in various forms, including semaglutide sodium and semaglutide acetate – which are the common ingredients in compounded versions. According to reports, the adverse events occurring due to compounded Ozempic include:


Semaglutide, regardless of its form, can lower blood sugar levels to a point where they become too low (hypoglycemia). This can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, sweating, and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness. In some cases, hypoglycemia is very dangerous, and can even result in hospitalization.

Individuals taking semaglutide should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and be cautious of factors that can increase the risk of hypoglycemia, such as skipping meals or engaging in strenuous physical activity without adjusting their medication dosage.

Gastrointestinal Side Effects

Both semaglutide sodium and semaglutide acetate are associated with gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These side effects are more common when starting the medication or when the dosage is increased. While they usually improve over time as the body adjusts to the medication, they can be bothersome for some individuals and may affect medication adherence.


There have been reports of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in individuals taking GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide. Symptoms of pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain that may radiate to the back, nausea, and vomiting. If left untreated, pancreatitis can lead to serious complications. Individuals experiencing symptoms of pancreatitis while taking semaglutide should seek medical attention promptly.

Thyroid C-Cell Tumors

In preclinical studies, semaglutide has been associated with an increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors in rodents. While this risk has not been definitively established in humans, it is a potential concern, particularly in individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Healthcare providers may consider these risk factors before prescribing semaglutide.

Injection Site Reactions

Semaglutide is administered via subcutaneous injection, which can cause injection site reactions such as redness, swelling, or itching. These reactions are usually mild and transient but may be bothersome for some individuals.

Allergic Reactions

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to compounded semaglutide or its components. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling of the face, lips, or throat, and difficulty breathing. Anyone experiencing signs of an allergic reaction should seek immediate medical attention.

Where are Adverse Reactions Occurring?

While the FDA has not publicly released a state-by-state breakdown of adverse events related to compounded Ozempic, there have been indications of affected states:

  • News Reports: Articles mention authorities in states like Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and West Virginia taking action against compounding pharmacies making unauthorized versions of Ozempic and Wegovy. This suggests potential adverse events or concerns in these areas.
  • FDA Warnings: The FDA warnings themselves don’t specify states but highlight the dangers of compounded semaglutide products nationwide.

Therefore, it is likely that adverse events from compounded Ozempic could have occurred in various states, not limited to the ones mentioned in news reports. It is crucial to remember that the FDA strongly advises against using compounded Ozempic due to the potential health risks regardless of the state you reside in.

Important Things for Consumers to Remember

Here are some key takeaways about the dangers of compounded Ozempic:

  • Avoid compounded Ozempic: If Ozempic is prescribed, always opt for the FDA-approved version from a licensed pharmacy.
  • Be aware of potential dangers: Compounded Ozempic can be unsafe and unpredictable.
  • FDA warnings: The FDA has issued warnings to healthcare professionals and the public about the risks of compounded semaglutide products.

Why Consumers Should be Aware of Their Legal Rights

It is important for consumers to be aware of their legal rights when it comes to medications. As patients, we trust our healthcare providers to prescribe medications appropriately, giving us all the necessary information. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Often, even healthcare providers are unaware of potential dangers. In cases like compounded Ozempic, the medications are unregulated and may not be prescribed under the watchful eye of a healthcare provider.

As a consumer, you should be aware of your rights for several reasons:

  • Access to Compensation: Knowing your legal rights enables you to seek compensation if you suffer harm or injury due to a medication. This compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred as a result of the medication’s adverse effects.
  • Accountability and Justice: Understanding your legal rights empowers you to hold pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, and other responsible parties accountable for manufacturing, prescribing, or distributing dangerous medications. Legal recourse ensures that those responsible are held accountable for any negligence or wrongdoing.
  • Protection of Health and Safety: Legal rights provide consumers with a framework for protecting their health and safety by holding medication manufacturers to high standards of quality, safety, and efficacy. Legal actions, such as product liability lawsuits, can prompt improvements in medication safety standards and practices.
  • Prevention of Future Harm: By exercising your legal rights, you contribute to preventing future harm to yourself and others by raising awareness of dangerous medications, prompting regulatory action, and encouraging pharmaceutical companies to prioritize safety and transparency.

Being aware of your legal rights regarding medications is essential for protecting your health and safety. It is also a powerful tool toward holding responsible parties accountable, preventing future harm, and promoting informed decision-making in healthcare.

Should Consumers Contact a Harmful Drug Lawyer if They Experience Side Effects?

Whether consumers should contact a harmful drug lawyer if they experience side effects from a medication depends on various factors, including the severity of the side effects, the extent of harm suffered, and the circumstances surrounding the use of the medication. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Severity of Side Effects: If the side effects experienced are mild and resolve on their own without causing significant harm, it may not be necessary to contact a lawyer. However, if the side effects are severe, debilitating, or life-threatening, it may warrant seeking legal advice to understand one’s rights and options.
  • Extent of Harm Suffered: If the side effects result in substantial physical, emotional, or financial harm, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or long-term disability, consulting with a harmful drug lawyer can help assess potential avenues for seeking compensation.
  • Potential Legal Issues: Certain side effects may be indicative of underlying issues with the medication, such as manufacturing defects, inadequate warnings, or fraudulent marketing practices. In such cases, a harmful drug lawyer can evaluate whether there are grounds for a product liability lawsuit against the medication manufacturer or other parties involved in the distribution chain.

Consulting with a harmful drug lawyer does not obligate consumers to pursue legal action. A lawyer can provide valuable insights into the strength of a potential case, the legal options available, and the potential outcomes, allowing consumers to make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Contact a Harmful Drug Lawyer

If you take, or have taken, compounded Ozempic and have experienced serious side effects, you may find it helpful to contact a harmful drug lawyer for more information. At Kherkher Garcia, we can help you understand the facts of your situation, your legal rights, and whether or not you have grounds to take legal action. Our team of harmful drug lawyers are here to support consumers who have been harmed by negligent design, manufacturing, compounding, or distribution of medications.

To learn more about your legal rights and options, call us at 713-333-1030 for a free consultation. You can also reach out to us via our confidential online form.


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Kevin Haynes

Kevin Haynes

Firm Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Firm Partner Kevin Haynes. Kevin has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 15 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. Kevin is powerful and effective in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road.

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