Welcome to our new chapter about Zepbound. As you embark on this journey towards weight loss and better health, we’re happy to provide you with valuable tips and tricks to handle your new prescription with confidence.
Starting a new treatment, especially one that involves self-injection, can be overwhelming. Hence, we have distilled all the information you need to know about injecting Zepbound into clear, concise, and easy-to-follow steps. How to use the injector pen? How to store it or dispose of it? What happens if there are air bubbles inside? What if you’ve missed a dose? All your questions answered right here!
Related article: Zepbound: A Complete Guide About the Newest Weight-Loss Drug.
Want to learn more about this topic through a video? Click on the link below to watch!
Zepbound Injections for Weight LossBefore we start with our step-by-step injection guide, let’s have a quick reminder about what Zepbound is exactly and how it works.
Zepbound has been approved by the FDA in November 2023, and is considered a groundbreaking weight-loss injection, potentially more effective than Wegovy or Saxenda, two of the most prescribed weight-loss injections in the United States so far.
It is the brand name for Tirzepatide (also found in Mounjaro for diabetes), a unique medication that distinguishes itself by its dual-action mechanism. Tirzepatide is, indeed, the first dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist drug.
Zepbound's efficacy in weight loss is due to these complex hormonal interactions. It reduces appetite and caloric intake by mimicking the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormone, which makes one feel fuller for longer. Additionally, by activating glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors, it also improves insulin production and sensitivity, leading to reduced fat storage and a more efficient metabolism.
According to Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Zepbound, “1 in 3 people taking the 15-mg dose of Zepbound lost over 58 lbs”.
While Zepbound shares the same active ingredient, Tirzepatide, with Mounjaro (another FDA-approved injection by Eli Lilly), there's a significant difference between the two, especially in their intended use. Mounjaro is approved for treating Type 2 diabetes, benefiting from weight loss as a side effect. Zepbound, in contrast, is specifically approved for weight loss.
Who can take Zepbound?Zepbound is prescribed for chronic weight management in adults with obesity (BMI of 30 kg/m² or higher), or overweight adults with weight-related health issues, such as diabetes or hypertension.
While the drug is making a big buzz in the world of weight loss, it’s important to understand that Zepbound is not intended to be used for cosmetic or aesthetic weight loss but for medically necessary weight reduction, under strict medical supervision. Zepbound isn’t approved for kids either.
How is Zepbound administered?Zepbound is administered through subcutaneous injections using a prefilled, single-use injector pen. It is injected weekly by the patient themselves in the comfort of their home.
It’s currently available in 6 different strengths (2,5 mg, 5 mg, 7,5 mg, 10 mg, 12,5 mg, and 15 mg). The dose generally starts at the lower level and gradually increase, as recommended by your doctor.
Step-by-Step Zepbound Injection GuideI know from experience that going back home with a new long-term prescription always brings a good share of doubts and worries, and especially when it comes to injectable drugs. Being well informed and prepared is key to painless and effective injections.
I have prepared this step-by-step injection guide so you can refer to it at any moment. From selecting and preparing your injection site to the actual process of administering the medication, I have detailed each step and provided as many tips as I could think about. However, keep in mind that this guide isn’t meant to substitute your doctor’s advice nor the official instructions from Zepbound’s manufacturer.
Step 1: Select Your Injection SiteZepbound must be injected subcutaneously, which means in the fatty tissues just under your skin. Common injection sites include the abdomen, thigh, the back of the upper arm, or even the buttocks.
You can easily inject Zepbound into your abdomen or thigh by yourself. However, if you want to inject in the back of your upper arm or buttocks, it may be necessary to ask for another person´s help because these areas aren’t easily accessible. Always steer clear of moles, scars, and areas where the skin is tender, bruised, or hard.
To minimize risks of skin complications and discomfort, rotate your injection site each week.
Same Area, Different Spot! You may inject in the same general area (e.g., the abdomen) but choose a different specific spot each time.
Related article: Insulin Injection Sites: Where to Inject Insulin?
Step 2: Prepare for InjectionAs you know, Zepbound injector pens must be stored in the refrigerator. It’s absolutely necessary for its good condition and effectiveness. But, injecting cold medicine can be more painful than room-temperature medicine.
That’s why it’s recommended to let your Zepbound pen sit at room temperature for a few minutes before the injection. Take this time to inspect your pen and make sure:
- It isn’t visibly damaged,
- The medicine inside looks clear and not cloudy and there’s no particles in it,
- The expiration date labeled on the pen hasn’t passed yet.
Related article: How to Store Zepbound? Does it Need to Be Refrigerated?
Step 3: Inject ZepboundFirst, make sure your Zepbound pen is locked (the grey lock). Then, start by taking off the gray base cap from the pen. Once this is done, never try to put it back on, as this could damage the needle inside. Do not touch the needle!
Position the pen at your injection site, so that the clear base is flat against your skin. The pen is still locked, so there’s no risk of injecting accidently at this stage.
When you’re ready to inject, unlock the pen by turning the lock ring to its green and open position. Then, press and hold the purple injection button and slowly count to 10.
You must hear two clicks. The first one when the injection starts, and the second one when it’s completed and the full dose has been delivered. Do not remove the pen before the second click.
Step 4: After the InjectionAfter the second click, carefully lift the pen from your skin. A gray plunger will be visible, indicating a successful injection.
If you see a drop of blood, do not worry. Gently press a cotton ball or gauze over the site. Avoid rubbing the area as this could interfere with the proper absorption of the medicine.
That’s it, you’re done! After a few times, I’m sure injecting Zepbound will become an easy, automatic gesture for you. One more thing before we wrap up: let’s talk about how to safely dispose of your Zepbound injection pen.
Related article: Traveling with Zepbound (Tirzepatide): Storage & Regulations.
Step 5: Disposal of Used Zepbound Pens
Zepbound injector pens are medical sharps and can pose risks of injury and contamination to yourself and others. They should never be thrown in the household trash!
Used Zepbound pens must be placed in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container. If you don’t have one, a well-tight, heavy-duty plastic container can be used as an alternative, but don’t forget to label it as “sharps container” to avoid confusion. When your container is full, follow your community guidelines for disposing of sharps disposal containers. You can ask for your doctor’s or pharmacist’s advice on that.
FAQs and TroubleshootingAlright, now let's be real: life's not always a smooth ride, and neither is using a new medical device like the Zepbound pen. So, in the spirit of tackling those "huh?" moments head-on, let's dive into sometroubleshooting tips for when things with your Zepbound pen don't go exactly as the manual says.
My Zepbound pen has air bubbles inside.A very common concern that’s not an issue. Air bubbles on the pen may happen. Generally, a few tiny bubbles won't affect your dose. But if it looks like a bubble party in there, gently tap the pen to encourage the bubbles to rise to the top.
I don’t have time to let my pen sit at room temperature.
In the rush of our daily lives, that can happen to anyone. Again, it’s no problem at all. Letting your Zepbound pen reach room temperature before the injection is more about avoiding pain and discomfort that may be increased when injecting cold medicine from the fridge. But if you don’t have time, you can inject it cold.
In any case, never, ever, try to speed up the process by warming up your pen with a microwave or other heat sources. That would destroy the medicine inside. Instead, you can try to wrap it up between your hands.
I didn’t hear the two clicks after the injection.
If you have doubts about the 2 clicks and if the Zepbound injection was successful, look for the gray plungerin your pen! If you can see the gray plunger, it means the injection was successful, even though you did not hear the second click.
If you can’t see the plunger, you might need to redo the injection. But it’s best to ask for your doctor’s advice first. Never inject a double dose of Zepbound!
I forgot to put my Zepbound pens in the refrigerator.
Not good... but it depends on how long they’ve been left out. Remember, Zepbound must be stored in the refrigerator. But there’s some flexibility here, as the manufacturers says it can stay at room temperature for up to 21 days, without exceeding 30°C (86°F). If that’s the case, it’s safe for use.
But if your pen has been out of the fridge for more than 21 days, or if it’s been exposed to temperatures above 30°C (86°F), even briefly, you should not use it.
I forgot my weekly Zepbound injection.
Well, that can also happen to anyone. Zepbound is a long-term weight-loss treatment, so chances you forget a dose at some points are high. In case you forget to take your weekly dose of Zepbound, here's what to do:
- If it's been less than 4 days since the dose you missed, administer it as soon as you recall. After this, proceed with your established weekly injection routine.
- If over 4 days have elapsed, it's best to bypass it and hold off until the upcoming scheduled weekly injection. Remember, it's important to maintain a minimum gap of three days between Zepbound injections for optimal effectiveness.