March 28, 2023

Ozempic in America: What's the real impact? A survey reveals details

Diabetes and weight loss drug, Ozempic, has gone viral — causing a shortage. Find out its side effects, alternatives, broader impacts, and who wants it most.

Searching for Ozempic graphic

The rise of Ozempic in America: What happens when a drug goes viral

Ozempic is a weekly injectable drug used to treat diabetes, but it can also help patients lose weight. That’s why it recently went viral on social media causing a shortage that left many patients without their medication.

With so many people wanting to use Ozempic, how hard is it to obtain? And what are the side effects and alternatives people should know about? For an overview, we surveyed over 1,000 Americans (including medical practitioners) about its use for weight loss and measured online search volume to see where people are looking for Ozempic and its alternatives.

Key takeaways

  • 15% of Americans have personally used Ozempic for weight loss, while 47% know someone who has. 
  • 70% of Americans say they could not afford to take Ozempic for weight loss.

Nearly a quarter of the Americans we surveyed (22%) have asked their doctor for an Ozempic prescription to help them lose weight. While social media might have inspired some people to request it (as was the case for 24% of our respondents), 41% said it was due to a doctor’s recommendation. Unfortunately, Ozempic’s sudden popularity may have left over half of Americans with diabetes struggling to get their medication.

Could this be more of a problem in certain parts of the United States? Let’s find out.

“15% of Americans have personally used Ozempic for weight loss, while 47% know someone who has. ”

2023 Tebra Survey

The Top States and Cities Searching for Ozempic

Patients who need Ozempic to treat their diabetes may have more trouble getting it if they live in the American South. The top 2 cities making more online searches for the drug than any other (per 100,000 residents) were Miami and Atlanta, and the top 5 states were:

  1. Louisiana
  2. Tennessee
  3. West Virginia
  4. Florida
  5. Mississippi

What do medical practitioners have to say about this sudden nationwide interest in Ozempic, and which patients are asking for prescriptions?

Medical Practitioners' Take on Ozempic

Key takeaways

  • 58% of medical practitioners say they would recommend Ozempic for weight loss.
  • Percentage of medical practitioners patients asked to prescribe Ozempic for weight loss by patient demographic:
    • 39% female
    • 23% male
    • 27% millennials
    • 17% Gen Xers
    • 12% baby boomers
    • 12% Gen Zers
    • 36% overweight
    • 11% normal weight
    • 2% underweight
  • 27% of medical practitioners have had a millennial ask for an Ozempic prescription in the past 6 months.
  • 42% of medical practitioners have had a patient without diabetes ask for Ozempic.
  • 36% of medical practitioners who refused to prescribe Ozempic faced backlash.
  • The most common side effects of Ozempic are:
    • Nausea (45%)
    • Headache (32%)
    • Diarrhea (31%)
  • 49% of medical practitioners say health insurance should cover Ozempic for weight loss; 51% say it shouldn’t.
  • Medical practitioners are most worried that celebrity endorsements of Ozempic will lead to misuse (76%), difficulty for people with diabetes to obtain it (59%), and shortages (54%).

Ozempic’s demand spike has made it harder to obtain, leading many people to seek alternatives. Next, we’ll explore some other treatments and where they’ve been most popular.

“Medical practitioners are most worried that celebrity endorsements of Ozempic will lead to misuse (76%), difficulty for people with diabetes to obtain it (59%), and shortages (54%).”

2023 Tebra Survey

Searching for Ozempic Alternatives graphic

Two medications that work similarly to Ozempic are Wegovy and Mounjaro. While Wegovy uses the same active ingredient as Ozempic, semaglutide, Mounjaro uses a different one: tirzepatide. But all 3 drugs can be useful for managing diabetes, overweight, and obesity.

And much like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro have gotten more online searches in the American South. Here are the top 5 states that made the most searches for Wegovy:

  1. Tennessee
  2. North Carolina
  3. Kentucky
  4. Alabama
  5. Mississippi

The top 2 cities that searched the most for Ozempic were the same as those that searched the most for Wegovy and Mounjaro: Atlanta and Miami. The top 5 states that made the most searches for Mounjaro were similar as well:

  1. Alabama
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Arkansas
  4. Louisiana
  5. Mississippi

Since nearly a third of American adults are overweight, it’s easy to see why these drugs are in such high demand. But now that more people are aware of their potential to help them lose weight, those who need these medications to treat life-threatening medical conditions are finding them harder to obtain. That may be especially true of Ozempic, since it recently went viral on social media, and for those living in the South. 


Tebra surveyed 1,024 Americans and 92 medical practitioners about using Ozempic for weight loss. We also looked at the search volume for searches related to Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy over the last year.

About Tebra

We’re revolutionizing healthcare management, helping independent practices bring modernized care to patients everywhere. Tebra is your partner for a stronger, better future for healthcare.

Fair use statement

If you want to share our findings for any non-commercial purpose, we ask that you include a link to this page.

Bring modernized care to your patients

Check out the Tebra operating system for both patient and provider well-being