Zepbound: Uses, Side Effects, and More

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This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by Tort Defenders’ writers and staff and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney.

In November 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zepbound, a tirzepatide injection, for the American market. This medication is designed for “chronic weight management in adults with obesity” and has already been sold under the name Mounjaro for managing type 2 diabetes.   

Zepbound is produced by drug manufacturer Eli Lilly, which has struggled to keep up with demand for the drug. This medication competes with Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, which is also approved as a weight loss drug. 

While Zepbound is a new and popular medication, patients need to be aware of potential side effects and negative interactions that could occur when taking it. Learn more about this drug so you can decide whether it is right for you. 

What Is Zepbound?

Like Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, Eli Lilly’s Zepbound is specifically approved as a weight loss medication. Zepbound is similar to Ozempic and Mounjaro, which are produced by Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, respectively. However, those drugs are primarily designed to help patients with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. 

Zepbound is designed for people who are obese or overweight, which means they have a body mass index of 27 kg/m2 or greater and have at least one additional weight-related condition. These weight-related conditions could include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Tirzepatide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) agonist. It works by inducing the body to release insulin while reducing the appetites of patients.   

Zepbound Uses

Zepbound is an injectable medication that patients take weekly. It comes in three dosage levels: 5, 10, and 15 milligrams. The medication slows digestion in the stomach, preventing it from emptying quickly. This makes patients feel fuller for longer, reducing their desire to eat. In clinical trials, patients who took the highest dosage of Zepbound lost 18% of their body weight on average. Like other weight-loss medications, patients on Zepbound are recommended to pair it with a healthy diet and moderate exercise based on their abilities.   

These medications are designed to help people lose weight so they can embrace other healthy habits, like cardio and strength training exercises, which can be hard to do when you are obese. One of the drawbacks of weight-loss drugs like Zepbound is that patients often gain the weight back once they stop taking them.

Zepbound Side Effects

Zepbound is similar to other medications like Mounjaro and Ozempic, which means there are several overlapping side effects. While these injections can be effective for treating weight loss or type 2 diabetes, patients need to look out for both minor and severe side effects that could disrupt their lives. 

Minor Side Effects

Because Zepbound targets the digestive system and slows the speed at which the stomach empties, many of the minor side effects that patients report are related to digestion in some way. A few side effects you may experience include: 

  • Stomach pain;
  • Increase in flatulence;
  • Heartburn;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting; 
  • A feeling of fullness.

Some patients also report additional, less common side effects like a rapid heartbeat, headache, and fever. 

Minor side effects are likely to go away as your body adjusts to taking Zepbound. However, if they become severe, stop taking Zepbound and seek medical help immediately. It’s better to stop taking the medication instead of living with these side effects.  

Severe Side Effects

In some cases, severe side effects may develop from taking Zepbound. Elli Lily warns patients of the development of certain conditions, such as: 

  • Pancreatitis: This is known as the inflammation of the pancreas. You may experience severe stomach pain that spreads to your back. This could cause long-term damage to your pancreas.  
  • Kidney injury: Taking Zepbound could result in kidney failure or permanent kidney damage. Remember to stay hydrated while taking this medication. A common symptom of kidney failure is jaundice, or yellow skin and eyes. 
  • Gallbladder disease: Symptoms of gallbladder problems include pain in your abdomen, fever, jaundice, and clay-colored stool. 
  • Severe stomach problems: These can range from severe constipation to diarrhea. Some patients on Ozempic and similar medications report gastroparesis, otherwise known as stomach paralysis. This is because the drugs severely slow your digestion.   

Additionally, some signs of an allergic reaction to Zepbound include difficulty breathing or swallowing, skin itching, a rash, and swelling in the face or throat. If you experience any of these severe side effects, stop taking Zepbound and seek immediate medical attention. Do not wait for these symptoms to subside. 

Precautions and Interactions

Patients who are considering Zepbound should also discuss any other medications they’re taking with their doctor. Taking other prescriptions while on Zepbound could make them less effective. 

For example, Eli Lily notes that taking Zepbound can reduce the effectiveness of oral birth control pills, as the medication slows absorption in the stomach. The company recommends taking non-oral contraceptives and using barrier birth control like condoms to prevent pregnancy. Other oral drugs that are absorbed during digestion might not work as well while taking Zepbound.  

You should determine if you are taking any supplements, vitamins, or medications that could be affected by or interfere with Zepbound. You should also evaluate if there are any lifestyle factors that you may have that could impact Zepbound’s ability to function properly.  You may be able to prevent medical complications or side effects by having these open discussions with your healthcare provider beforehand.

Legal Implications of Zepbound

Zepbound is one of the newest weight-loss drugs on the market, but it could get caught up in one of the dozens of class action lawsuits related to these injectable medications. As of February 2024, there were  55 lawsuits pending against Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, and Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Mounjaro and Zepbound. The number of lawsuits is very likely to increase during the coming years.

Patients are filing mass torts against the companies for failing to warn them of serious side effects that disrupted their lives, resulted in high medical bills, and even led to hospitalization. For example, there are concerns about how this medication could affect the thyroid and be harmful for people with a history of thyroid cancer in their families. 

If you have experienced negative side effects while taking Zepbound or similar medication, you may be able to join one of these mass torts and seek compensation legally. Reach out to the trusted professionals at the Tort Defenders to discuss your case.

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