Ice Packs In My Wegovy Shipment Were Melted And I'm Concerned About Temperature

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist addresses concerns someone has regarding Wegovy potentially being exposed to high temperatures.

Question

I received my Wegovy with two shipping and cooler packs that are not cold anymore. I live in Texas. Will it be okay?

Asked by Jamie On Aug 25, 2023

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Aug 29, 2023
Last updated Feb 23, 2024

Key points

  • The recommendation from the manufacturer of Wegovy, Novo Nordisk, is that if the drug should be stored between 36°F and 46°F. If it has been exposed to temperatures above 46ºF, it should be used or discarded within 28 days.
  • Wegovy should not be used at all if it has been exposed to temperatures below 36°F or above 86°F.

Quick Answer

Per the manufacturer, your Wegovy should be stored within a temperature range of 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). If the medication was exposed to temperatures above 46°F, it is recommended the drug should be used or discarded within 28 days, as per the manufacturer recommendations. Avoid using Wegovy if it has been exposed to temperatures below 36°F or above 86°F.

Melted ice packs in a shipment aren't necessarily an absolute indicator a temperature excursion has occurred. I highly recommend contacting your shipping pharmacy for guidance on how to tell if a replacement medication is warranted. They may have included temperature indicators in your shipping box that will be activated if high temperatures were experienced.

Detailed Answer

If you've received your Wegovy pen with shipping and cooler packs that are no longer cold, it certainly is a cause for concern, especially considering the warm climate of Texas.

Firstly, let's establish the manufacturer's recommendations for storing Wegovy per the prescribing information:

Recommended Storage: Store the WEGOVY single-dose pen in the refrigerator from 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). If needed, prior to cap removal, the pen can be kept from 8°C to 30°C (46°F to 86°F) up to 28 days. Do not freeze. Protect WEGOVY from light. WEGOVY must be kept in the original carton until time of administration. Discard the WEGOVY pen after use.
Wegovy Prescribing Information

As these instructions illustrate, the recommended storage temperature for Wegovy is between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). If needed, storage between 46°F and 86°F (8°C and 30°C) is permissible for up to 28 days. After 28 days, Wegovy should no longer be used, even if you put it back in the refrigerator. In other words, once Wegovy has been stored outside the 36°F to 46°F range, the 28-day clock begins. Wegovy shouldn't be used at all if it has been stored at temperatures below 36°F or above 86°F.

It is unfortunate that the manufacturer doesn't provide explicit guidance on what to do if your Wegovy pen experiences a temporary temperature excursion—like in your case, where the medication was shipped any may have been exposed to temperatures above 46°F for a short amount of time. This could be due to limited data available regarding the drug's stability under such conditions.

It's interesting to note that Ozempic, another medication containing the same active ingredient, semaglutide, and manufactured by Novo Nordisk like Wegovy, has a slightly more lenient stance on temperature excursions. According to Novo, Ozempic can be used safely within 56 days following an excursion above 46°F.

The stricter recommendation of using or discarding Wegovy within 28 days is, again, likely due to the lack of long-term stability data.

Although Wegovy might still be stable and effective after a short exposure to temperatures outside the 36°F to 46°F range, definitive data is lacking. Therefore, to prioritize your safety, it's advisable to follow the manufacturer recommendations regarding using the drug within 28 days (or discarding).

I highly recommend contacting your pharmacy for a possible replacement if this timeframe doesn't work for you.

It's also a good idea nonetheless to contact them to see if they have guidance on how to tell if your specific shipment was exposed to high temperatures (sometimes pharmacies will include some type of temperature alert device inside the shipping box).

What You Should Do

Accurately assessing the extent of temperature exposure to your Wegovy is challenging. While melted ice packs don't conclusively indicate an excursion, significant heat inside the box could raise concerns. Here's my suggested course of action:

  1. As mentioned, reach out to the pharmacy that shipped the medication. They might offer specific guidance on assessing potential temperature impact. If it is determined your medication has been exposed to high temperatures, they may be able to offer a replacement.
  2. Contact Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Wegovy, to discuss your unique situation for personalized advice. They have the most up to date, and accurate information regarding storage requirements.
  3. If you decide to use the medication, closely inspect the pen for any unusual changes in appearance. If you notice any alterations such as discoloration or precipitation, it's best not to use the medication.

Final Thoughts

I hope this information proves helpful! Please don't hesitate to get in touch again if you need further assistance.

References

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at [email protected]! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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