The United States of Weight-Loss Drugs.
Drugs designed to treat diabetes have become one of the hottest and most controversial weight-loss crazes.
Ozempic and Wegovy, a drug called semaglutide designed for people with Type 2 diabetes, helps the pancreas release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high.
However, both have become widely used as weight-loss drugs.
The drugs are so high in demand that there’s now a nationwide shortage of them — and of all 50 states plus Washington, DC, Kentucky had the highest rate of prescriptions for diabetes and anti-obesity medications last year.
The data from PurpleLab HealthNexus database was based on 1.9 billion claims from private insurers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
For every 1,000 Kentuckians, roughly 21 were prescribed drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy. That was followed by West Virginia with roughly 19 prescriptions per 1,000, and Alaska in third with roughly 18 prescriptions per 1,000.
In fact, a few southern states rounded out the top five of the highest rates of prescriptions — including Louisiana (roughly 15 prescriptions per 1,000 people) and Mississippi (roughly 16 per 1,000).
These states were in line with the prevalence of diabetes and obesity, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
Kentucky, Alaska and Mississippi were in the 35-45% range of obesity prevalence while West Virginia and Louisiana were in the 45-50% range. The midwest (35.8%) and south (35.6%) had the highest prevalence of obesity, and Louisiana and West Virginia were among the three states with an obesity prevalence of 40% or greater.
With diabetes, Kentucky has a mortality rate of 32.5, West Virginia’s rate is 47.6, Alaska is 27, Louisiana is 35.7 and Mississippi at 42.1.
While both Ozempic and Wegovy are widely used for weight loss these days, only Wegovy has been approved for weight loss by the Food and Drug Administration, specifically for individuals with a body mass index of 30 and higher, or 27 and higher for those with a weight-related health condition.
The drugs work by mimicking a natural hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1, which slows down the passage of food through the stomach, making people feel full for longer.
The data from the health analytics company provide insight into where in America the GLP-1s have the highest demand for weight-loss drugs.
However, it doesn’t show how often each drug is prescribed for to treat Ozempic or diabetes, nor does it show how long the drug should be used for and at what frequency.
Ozempic is costly, with one month’s supply costing anywhere between $900 and $1,300.
Aside from the costly expense, some people have stopped taking these weight-loss drugs due to extreme side effects.
A 2022 study found that those who take semaglutides regained two-thirds of their prior weight loss after a year of being off the drug.
A more recent study published in December 2023 found a similar result in tirzepatide, the main ingredient in Mounjaro and Zepbound.
CNN reported several dieters who have been diagnosed with severe gastroparesis, a condition that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine, likely as a result of taking Ozempic, their doctors believe.
Some people are rushing to the restroom and waking up with soiled sheets, and some say they joined a “s – – t the bed club,” saying they’ve woken up to find themselves covered in their own poop.
Users of the drug have also claimed they experienced odd dreams about Hollywood stars.
People have been sharing bizarre slumber fantasies on social media that include joining the cast of “The Golden Girls,” preparing to rob a museum with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, and carrying Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s baby and then blending their families.
“Ozempic finger” has digit and wrist sizes shrinking, and jewelers have reported that women are coming in droves to size down their rings and bracelets — up a shocking 150% compared to last year. Another nasty side effect is “Ozempic burp” — specifically “sulfur burps” smelling of rotten eggs.
Some have even said their butts have flattened “like a pancake” — including one person who reportedly had undergone a previous Brazilian butt lift.