Transcript for FDA warns dangers of using ‘off brand’ weight loss drugs
- To a new warning from the FDA about the dangers of using off-brand versions of drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy for weight loss. Erielle Reshef is here with the details. Good morning, Erielle.
- Good morning to you, Michael. We know how popular the use of diabetes medications for weight loss has become. And the brand-name drugs can, frankly, be pricey. But now, the FDA is urging people to think twice before buying a compounded version.
The videos are all over TikTok, touting the use of diabetes medications, like Ozempic and Mounjaro, for weight loss.
- I took Ozempic for a whole year and I lost 87 pounds.
- My pants are literally falling off. I'll take it.
ERIELLE RESHEF: But now, the FDA warning that off-brand compounded forms of those medications could be unsafe. The agency cautioning, that it "does not review compounded versions of these drugs for safety, effectiveness, or quality," and urging people not to use them if the approved form is available.
- If a patient elects to use a compounded form of the medication, we cannot guarantee what's actually in that drug.
ERIELLE RESHEF: It comes as more and more Americans are turning to diabetes drugs to shed pounds. And as some have reported finding cheaper versions of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, at compounding pharmacies. Ashley Harkin said she decided to turn to a compounding pharmacy when her insurance refused to cover Ozempic, since she didn't have diabetes.
- It was $1,600. And that was just for four weeks. And I could not afford that. And then I found this compound pharmacy on TikTok. And I-- it was much cheaper to go this way.
ERIELLE RESHEF: While Ashley says that formulation worked for her, the FDA saying it has received some reports of adverse effects after people took compounded semaglutide. FDA officials say some of the compounding pharmacies claiming to sell semaglutide, may instead sell other formulations that haven't been shown to be safe or effective.
And as you heard there, the FDA says it has received some reports of negative effects of some of these compounded diabetes drugs, but didn't specify how many cases there were or give any details about those reactions. Doctors say the semaglutide should only be taken with a prescription and under the supervision of your physician. Rebecca.
REBECCA JARVIS: Listen to the doctors. All right, Erielle, thanks so much for joining us.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.