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Shortages for Mounjaro, Zepbound, and Others to Last Through Summer

Published: 4/22/24 3:05 pm
By April Hopcroft

Mounjaro, Zepbound, and other incretin drugs are experiencing shortages due to high demandAccording to a recent update by the FDA, shortages for Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound will persist through at least June 2024. 

New diabetes and weight loss medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound have made quite a splash at doctor’s offices, on TV, and even among TikTok influencers. In addition to their well-known weight loss effects, these drugs improve glycemic control and can protect the heart and kidneys. 

Because of the unprecedented demand for these medications, many are in limited supply. The latest update from the FDA notes that the shortages for Mounjaro and Zepbound will last through at least June 2024. An earlier FDA announcement had said some doses would be in short supply through April 2024. 

This news follows a shortage of Ozempic, which began in late 2022 and has since been resolved, according to the FDA. However, the FDA lists all doses of the weight loss medication Wegovy, which contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic (semaglutide), as having limited availability due to increased demand. 

Which doses are affected? 

Mounjaro and Zepbound have the same active ingredient (tirzepatide) and come in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, and 15 mg injection pens. According to the FDA, all doses of Mounarjo and Zepbound except the 2.5 mg starter dose have limited availability through the end of June 2024. 

Similarly, all doses of Wegovy except the lowest dose (2.4 mg) have limited availability. The FDA has not provided an estimate for how long the Wegovy shortage will last. The type 2 diabetes medication Trulicity (dulaglutide) is also experiencing similar shortages, with all doses except the lowest (0.75 mg) having limited availability through June 2024. 

What can people with diabetes do during the shortage? 

There are several different options for dealing with the shortages. Mounjaro and Zepbound users could consider switching back down to the 2.5 mg pen since that dose is still available; Wegovy users could switch back to the 2.4 mg pen. While this isn’t ideal in the long term, it can still provide some benefits and make the effects last longer until higher doses are available again. 

It may also be possible to switch to a different incretin drug, like a GLP-1 receptor agonist. Some examples of other GLP-1 drugs include: 

  • Ozempic (semaglutide), a weekly injection

  • Rybelsus (semaglutide), a daily pill

  • Victoza, Saxenda (liraglutide), a daily injection

  • Byetta (exenatide), a twice-daily injection

Note that Novo Nordisk does not recommend switching to Saxenda, since the company can’t ensure there will be enough supply to meet the growing demand for weight loss drugs. 

It’s important to check with your healthcare provider and insurance to determine which alternatives are right for you and if they will be covered. 

The bottom line

Based on the demand for these diabetes and weight loss medications, several companies are increasing production capacity. 

For instance, Lilly recently began making these drugs at its manufacturing plant in North Carolina and is expanding to other sites across the world. Likewise, Novo Nordisk more than doubled the amount of the lower doses of Wegovy starting in January 2024 to help meet increased demand and is slowly expanding overall supply. 

Although there may not be a specific end date in sight, the increased manufacturing capacity should help eventually resolve these shortages. 

Shortages can certainly be a source of distress. Remember that they are temporary and that it’s important to continue practicing regular diabetes self-care and maintaining healthy habits in the meantime. 

Learn more about incretin therapies for diabetes: 

Image credit: Lilly

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About the authors

April Hopcroft joined diaTribe in 2023 as a Staff Writer after co-leading the Diabetes Therapy team at Close Concerns. She graduated from Smith College in 2021, where she majored in... Read the full bio »