Home » KFF Survey: 1 in 8 U.S. Adults Have Used Ozempic or Similar GLP-1 Drugs

KFF Survey: 1 in 8 U.S. Adults Have Used Ozempic or Similar GLP-1 Drugs

by Richard A Reagan

A new survey from the healthcare policy think tank KFF reveals that nearly 1 in 8 adults in the United States has turned to GLP-1 drugs such as Ozempic or Mounjaro.

This trend highlights the growing reliance on these medications, originally designed to treat diabetes but increasingly used for weight loss and other chronic conditions.

According to the survey, 12% of adults reported using this revolutionary class of drugs. Among those, 43% were managing Type 2 diabetes, 26% were addressing heart disease, and 22% were combatting obesity.

Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro, both once-weekly injectables, are FDA-approved for diabetes treatment. 

However, doctors often prescribe them off-label for other conditions. Additionally, Lilly’s Zepbound and Novo’s Wegovy, FDA-approved for weight loss, have seen surging demand, with 25,000 new U.S. users of Wegovy each week.

The CDC reports that approximately 36 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the country, responsible for 1 in every 5 deaths annually. 

Over 1 in 3 Americans are medically overweight, and more than 2 in 5 are obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Despite their effectiveness, GLP-1 drugs come at a steep price, ranging from $936 to $1,349 before insurance adjustments. While nearly 60% of insured patients have partial coverage, only 24% have their full prescription cost covered. Over half of respondents, including those with insurance, find these drugs difficult to afford.

The KFF survey also revealed demographic insights: adults aged 50-64 were the most likely to use GLP-1 drugs, often for chronic conditions. Among adults over 65, only 8% used these drugs for chronic conditions and just 1% for weight loss, despite nearly 40% being told by a doctor that they are obese or overweight.

Medicare does not cover prescription weight-loss medication, though some plans cover GLP-1 drugs for diabetes or heart disease.

This has led to strong bipartisan support for Medicare to cover GLP-1 drugs for weight loss, with 55% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats in favor.

Awareness of GLP-1 drugs is relatively high, with a third of respondents having heard “a lot” about them and 27% having heard “some.” Older, wealthier adults and those with chronic illnesses are more likely to be informed about these medications.

The high demand has led to shortages, as reported by the FDA, due to increased interest in these drugs.

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