Doctor holding a syringe with fluid inside

Zepbound Side Effects: Common, Serious, And How To Manage Them

Zepbound, an FDA-approved drug for weight loss, comes with a series of side effects that range from mild to severe and life-threatening. These severe side effects could cause damage to vital organs like the pancreas and kidneys and even increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

Understanding these side effects is important to know your risk of getting them and watch out for them.

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Zepbound, also called tirzepatide, is a prescription medication approved by the FDA for weight loss.

It works by reducing one’s appetite and slowing down the rate at which food moves through the gut. This, in turn, may make a person feel full for longer periods, even after light meals.

When it comes to medications, understanding the possible side effects is necessary to know what to expect during treatment.

Zepbound, like any medication, comes with its own set of potential side effects, both common and serious.

Doctor holding a syringe with fluid inside

Keep reading to learn more about the side effects of Zepbound, how to recognize them, and proactive strategies for managing them effectively.

Common Side Effects

Zepbound side effects that are commonly reported include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Injection Site Reactions (redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site)

These side effects are usually temporary, lasting for days to weeks. However, if these symptoms persist or become bothersome, do well to speak with your healthcare provider.

Only stop using Zepbound once your doctor tells you to!

Serious Side Effects and When to Worry

Zepbound comes with serious side effects that should be given attention. These side effects could be dangerous and pose a health risk. It is important to know the serious side effects to determine if the drug is a good fit for you and enable you to seek help early if they occur.

The serious side effects of Zepbound include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Kidney problems
  • Inflammation in the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Gallstones
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Increased risk of thyroid cancer

If you experience any of these serious side effects, you should call your doctor right away. If at any point you encounter a medical emergency or a life-threatening Zepbound side effect, call 911 as you may need immediate medical attention.

Can Zepbound Make You Feel Sad?

Reports of depression and suicidal thoughts have been made in patients using Zepbound. However, studies carried out by the FDA did not demonstrate any relationship between the drug and depression. The FDA has stated that they will continue to look into the issue to ascertain if the drug is truly a culprit behind these reports of depression.

Nevertheless, if you start to feel moody or depressed while taking Zepbound, be sure to track your mood changes. You can do this by starting a journal and documenting your mood at different times of the day. Also, make sure to speak with your doctor about this.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or you know someone who is;

Does Zepbound Affect the Kidneys?

Zepbound can cause injuries to the kidney and worsen kidney failure in those already suffering kidney problems.

If you are currently on Zepbound, you should stay well hydrated and take the dose of Zepbound prescribed. Your doctor may check your kidneys occasionally to ensure everything is okay.

Speak to your doctor if you experience the following:

  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Swollen feet
  • Urinating less than usual

The above symptoms could indicate a problem with your kidneys.

How to Deal with Side Effects

Here are tips to manage these common side effects:

  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help ease nausea.
  • Eat small, frequent meals – Opt for bland, easy-to-digest foods.
  • Avoid spicy or greasy foods
  • Consider anti-nausea medications – Talk to your healthcare provider about over-the-counter or prescription options.
  • Avoid trigger foods – Steer clear of spicy, greasy, or high-fat foods.
  • Stay hydrated – Drink water or electrolyte-rich beverages to prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea.
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Sleep on propped-up pillows
  • Avoid lying down right after eating
  • Reduce intake of carbonated drinks or salty snacks
  • Taking Zepbound shots correctly can help minimize pain and discomfort at the injection site. The shot is correctly given beneath the skin of the upper arm, abdomen, or thigh.
  • Rotate injection sites – Alternate between different injection sites to reduce irritation or discomfort at a specific spot.
  • Use ice packs or warm compresses on the injection site before or after taking Zepbound to help reduce pain or swelling.
  • Gently massage the injection site after taking Zepbound to help disperse the medication and relieve pain and/or swelling.

Who Shouldn’t Use Zepbound?

Despite its effectiveness, Zepbound is not suitable for everyone. Here are categories of people who should consider other drugs:

  • Those with Allergies

Zepbound can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Allergic reactions can range from mild skin irritation to severe breathing problems. If you encounter such during treatment, let your doctor know.

  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women

There’s not enough information regarding the safety of Zepbound in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. It has been advised by the FDA (2) that the drug be discontinued once pregnancy has been confirmed.

  • Patients with kidney problems, gallbladder disease and pancreatitis

This is because Zepbound can worsen these conditions.

  • Those with a high risk of thyroid cancer

You stand a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer if you have a close family member who had thyroid cancer (mother, father, siblings) or if you have a condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2. Zepbound can further increase this risk.


While Zepbound, when paired with diet and exercise, may help patients manage obesity, it is important to understand the side effects that could follow. These side effects could be mild or severe, changing the quality of your life. Before embarking on this treatment plan, ensure you speak with your doctor about its safety in consideration of your medical history and what to expect during treatment.

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