The 17 States With the Most People on Ozempic (California Isn't One of Them)

New research shows the prevalence of GLP-1 prescriptions throughout the U.S.

While weight-loss crazes come and go, new, highly effective medications seem here to say. People across the U.S. have recently turned to these drugs to dramatically shed pounds in a short period of time. The rise of GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic may have something to do with Hollywood's influence, with many big-name celebrities admitting to taking these medications for weight loss over the past year. But when you actually look at where these drugs are being prescribed the most, California doesn't even break the top 20.

New research provided to Axios by health analytics company PurpleLab is offering insight into the prevalence of GLP-1 prescriptions throughout the U.S., using data collected from 1.9 billion private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid claims. The analysis takes into account Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug Ozempic, which has been widely prescribed off-label for weight loss, and Wegovy, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for weight loss in 2021. It also includes Eli Lilly's diabetes medication Mounjaro and its weight-loss medication Zepbound, the latter of which the FDA approved in November.

The data does group all these prescriptions together, so it's not exactly clear how many of these prescriptions are for weight loss exclusively. Nevertheless, the findings are fascinating. Read on for a ranking of the 17 states with the most people on Ozempic.

RELATED: 7 Worst Ozempic Side Effects Reported by Patients.

17
Michigan

Grand Rapids Skyline at Dusk
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 10.0

The high use of Ozempic in Michigan may come with consequences. A July 2023 report from the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, which reviews and approves insurers' rates, revealed that health insurance companies were looking to raise premiums in the state amid soaring demand for these expensive diabetes and weight-loss drugs, the Detroit Free Press reported.

16
Vermont

Aerial shot of the state capitol building in Montpelier, Vermont in Fall, flying over downtown buildings with a mountainside covered in colorful autumnal trees behind.
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 10.4

Also in July of last year, Matthew Gilbert, PhD, an endocrinology professor from the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, sounded the alarm on the off-label use of drugs like Ozempic for weight loss.

"This is not a drug I would recommend for people in their mid-20s who are looking to drop a few pounds before a wedding," Gilbert told CBS-affiliate WCAX in Burlington, Vermont. "It's not socially responsible, it's not economically responsible."

15
North Carolina

Charlotte North Carolina downtown aerial view
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 11.0

North Carolina recently cracked down on its high rate of weight-loss drug usage. The state's health plan no longer covers new prescriptions for drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, local news outlet Fox 8 reported on Jan. 17.

RELATED: Ozempic Patients Say It "Stops Working" for Weight Loss—How to Prevent That.

14
Kansas

Downtown Topeka aerial skyline view with the Kansas State Capitol building in the center, and a blue sky with clouds in the background.
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 11.4

Last year, researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center published one of the first peer-reviewed articles stressing the importance of regular physical activity for those taking weight-loss medications.

13
Texas

The skyline of Houston, Texas at sunset shot from an altitude of about 600 feet .
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 11.6

In December, local ABC-affiliate KVUE reported that poison centers across Texas were seeing a surge in calls likely due to residents' increased use of weight-loss drugs and their potential side effects, such as nausea and vomiting.

12
South Dakota

Sioux Falls is the most populous city in the U.S. state of South Dakota
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 11.9

A South Dakota man filed one of the first lawsuits against Ozempic's manufacturer over alleged gastroparesis side effects, claiming users were not adequately warned about the risk of severe vomiting and long-term stomach issues with the use of this medication.

11
Iowa

An aerial shot of the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge across the Des Moines River in Downtown Des Moines, Iowa
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 12.0

Ozempic and Wegovy maker Novo Nordisk was also hit with a lawsuit from an Iowa woman who claims the company has downplayed potential side effects for patients, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.

10
Georgia

Spectacular view of the Atlanta, Georgia skyline at sunrise.
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 12.5

Last August, Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Eva Marcille disabled comments on her Instagram after a post sparked concern among fans who questioned whether the celeb was using Ozempic, Page Six reported.

RELATED: What Really Happens If You Stop Taking Ozempic, Doctors Say.

9
North Dakota

Aerial View of Bismark, North Dakota during Summer
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 13.2

Cracking the top 10, North Dakota just barely beat out its sister state to the South for the overall number of Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound prescriptions.

8
Idaho

Boise , Idaho downtown
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 13.3

New year, new lawsuits. A woman from Idaho filed another suit against Novo Nordisk in federal court on Jan. 9. Similar to the others, she is claiming that the company failed to warm consumers of Ozempic's severe gastrointestinal side effects.

7
Alabama

Downtown Mobile, Alabama waterfront skyline in Mobile, Alabama, United States
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 13.4

While Ozempic has garnered a lot of criticism, one Alabama doctor recently said she believes GLP-1 weight-loss drugs could be the game-changer needed to curb the state's obesity crisis.

"We could see a light at the end of the tunnel for Alabama's obesity crisis. That's a big statement," Hayley DeGraaff, MD, medical director of Advanced Life Clinic in Huntsville, told local news outlet WAFF. "I honestly think 50 years from now, when we look back on this class of drugs, we could be potentially equating them to as big of a medical breakthrough as like the discovery of antibiotics or vaccines or something along those lines."

6
Tennessee

The skyline of beautiful Nashville, Tennessee, known as "Music City" along the banks of the Cumberland River.
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 13.8

ACA Pharmacy in Nashville made a name for itself after creating a knockoff version of Ozempic that generated millions of dollars in the first half of 2023. But the company was recently forced to shut down amid a number of controversies, The Washington Post reported.

RELATED: Doctor Says These Foods and Supplements Mimic Ozempic Effects.

5
Louisiana

The city skyline of New Orleans, Louisiana, and surrounding metropolitan area along the banks of the Mississippi River shot from an altitude of about 1000 feet during a helicopter photo flight.
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 15.4

It might not be too surprising that Louisiana has a large amount of residents using weight-loss drugs. This Southern state has the second-highest obesity rate in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

4
Mississippi

Jackson, MS - October 16, 2021: The Mississippi State Capitol Building in downtown Jackson, MS
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 16.1

Meanwhile, Mississippi has the second-highest diabetes mortality rate in the nation, according to the CDC.

3
Alaska

Aerial View of a Sunset over Downtown Anchorage, Alaska in Spring
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 17.5

Ranking third overall for the most people on Ozempic or other weight-loss drugs, Alaska is the only non-Southern state in the top five.

2
West Virginia

An aerial view of the West Virginia State Capitol Building and downtown Charleston with fall foliage
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 18.9

West Virginia has a serious problem with both obesity and diabetes. The CDC's latest data indicates that this state has the highest obesity rate and the highest diabetes mortality rate in the country.

1
Kentucky

An aerial shot of the skyline of Louisville and the bridge at sunrise.
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Rate of GLP-1 prescriptions dispensed to patients per 1,000 people: 20.7

Kentucky sees the most insurance-based GLP-1 prescriptions in the U.S. For every 1,000 people in this state, roughly 21 were prescribed Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, or Zepbound. In comparison, Rhode Island has a rate of just 3.7 prescriptions per 1,000 people as the lowest-ranking state.

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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