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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.

Ozempic in America

At a Glance

  • Ozempic is a diabetes drug that has gone viral for its weight loss side effects, causing shortages and leaving some people who need it unable to access their medication.
  • The demand spike has been especially high in Southern states like Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Florida, and Mississippi.
  • Alternatives like Wegovy and Mounjaro work similarly and are also facing shortages and high demand in Southern states.

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.

The rising popularity of Ozempic
The rising popularity of Ozempic

Key takeaways

  • 15% of Americans surveyed have personally used Ozempic for weight loss, while 47% know someone who has. 
  • 70% of Americans surveyed 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
Patient Perspectives Report

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. 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 surveyed 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 X
    • 12% baby boomers
    • 12% Gen Z
    • 36% overweight
    • 11% normal weight
    • 2% underweight
  • 27% of medical practitioners surveyed have had a Millennial ask for an Ozempic prescription in the past 6 months.
  • 42% of medical practitioners surveyed have had a patient without diabetes ask for Ozempic.
  • 36% of medical practitioners surveyed 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 surveyed say health insurance should cover Ozempic for weight loss; 51% say it shouldn’t.
  • Medical practitioners we surveyed 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.

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Written by

Andrea Curry, head of editorial at The Intake

Andrea Curry is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years of storytelling under her belt. She has won multiple awards for her work and is now the head of editorial at The Intake, where she puts her passion for helping independent healthcare practices into action.

Reviewed by

Lauren Wheeler, BCPA, MD

Dr. Lauren Wheeler, MD, BCPA, is a former family medicine physician who currently works as an independent healthcare advocate as well as a medical editor and writer. You can get in touch with her about anything writing or advocacy at her website

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