1 in 8 adults has taken Ozempic or other GLP-1 drug: Survey

May 10, 2024

A new poll from the health policy nonprofit KFF found that one in eight adults say they’ve taken a GLP-1 agonist, the obesity and diabetes medications that include Ozempic, Mounjaro and Zepbound.

Among those surveyed, 12 percent said they had used a GLP-1 agonist, with six percent saying they’re currently using one. The majority — 62 percent — said they were using the drugs to treat a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease while the remaining 38 percent they took the medications just to lose weight.

Nearly half of the participants with diabetes — four out of 10 — said they had used a GLP-1 agonist.

GLP-1 agonists are indicated for treating people who have diabetes, obesity or are at risk of cardiovascular disease related incidents. The drugs’ off-label use for cosmetic weight loss has sparked widespread interest.

Awareness of these drugs seemed to be relatively high, with a third saying they’d heard “a lot” about the medications and 27 percent saying they’d heard “some.” Older, wealthier adults and those with chronic illnesses were more likely to have heard something about GLP-1 agonists.

About 80 percent said they got a GLP-1 agonist through their primary care provider or a specialist. Another 23 percent said they got the drugs from either an online provider, a medical spa or “somewhere else.”

Several GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic, Mounjaro and Trulicity are currently in shortage, with the Food and Drug Administration reporting the reason as an increase in demand.

Survey participants were also asked whether they believed Medicare should cover GLP-1 agonists. The federal healthcare program is barred from covering weight loss medications, though the recent approval of the weight loss drug Wegovy for cardiovascular disease now means Medicare beneficiaries can access the drug.

A previous KFF analysis indicated that as many as one in four beneficiaries who have obesity could get Weogvy following its expanded approval.

In total, 61 percent said Medicare should cover GLP-1 agonists to treat obesity. Their opinions remained effectively unchanged after being told the arguments Medicare against covering obesity medications, such as the possibility that premiums could go up coverage would place financial strain on the government program.

The KFF survey was conducted between April 23 and May 1, including a sample of 1,479 U.S. adults.