Injectable Weight Loss Drugs

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Injectable Weight Loss Drugs: Usage and Effectiveness

High Levels of Effectiveness Reported, But Less So Among Older Users


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Six percent of U.S. adults, representing approximately 15.5 million people, report using injectable diabetes medication for weight loss, with 3% currently using such medication specifically for this purpose. Usage rates are slightly higher among women, those with health insurance, and individuals aged 40 to 64.

Study Details

This analysis is part of the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index. The results are based on a web survey of 5,577 U.S. adults, conducted March 4-9, 2024, using Gallup’s probability-based panel encompassing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Eli Lilly drug Wegovy for weight loss in 2021, the use of diabetic drugs containing semaglutide has gained popularity among those hoping to lose weight. Other options have since entered the market, including Zepbound (tirzepatide), which received FDA approval in November 2023.

Gallup measured current or previous household use by asking: “Have you or a family member ever taken an injection for weight loss, such as semaglutide (brand names Ozempic and Wegovy) or liraglutide (brand name Saxenda)?” To measure current individual use, they asked: “Are you currently taking injections for weight loss, such as semaglutide (brand names Ozempic and Wegovy) or liraglutide (brand name Saxenda)?” The data reported here are based on individual rates rather than household.

Effectiveness Among Different Age Groups

Close to two-thirds of Americans who have taken weight loss injections (64%) say the drugs have been either “extremely effective” or “effective” in helping them lose weight. Only 11% report the injections as “not at all effective.”

Perceived effectiveness is relatively consistent among younger and middle-aged adults, with 70% of those aged 18 to 49 and 67% of those aged 50 to 64 reporting weight loss injections as effective or extremely effective. However, among adults aged 65 and older, reported effectiveness drops to 48%.

Higher Disease Burden Among Users

Both current and past users of weight loss injections are more likely to be obese compared to those who have never used the injections. Current users are about twice as likely to be obese (71%) compared to non-users (36%).

Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are also substantially higher among both current and past users than among non-users, indicating a higher overall disease burden among users.

Compared to current users, past users report lower levels of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These differences align with clinical trial benefits, suggesting that weight loss injections prescribed alongside diet and exercise changes may help reduce disease burden.

Greater Benefits Reported by Current Users

Current users are more optimistic about their weight loss and wellbeing than past users. Nearly three-quarters of current users (73%) say weight loss injections are effective or extremely effective, compared with 53% of past users.

Lower levels of effectiveness may contribute to the decision to discontinue use. Additionally, less positive reports among past users align with critiques of weight loss injections as a long-term solution, with indications that discontinued use can lead to weight gain or other side effects.


The reported effectiveness among users of injectable weight loss drugs suggests that a substantial number of Americans — about 10 million — believe they have benefited from the injections. Evidence of lower rates of obesity and other chronic conditions among past users relative to current users supports these reports.

However, lower self-reported effectiveness among older adults and past users, as well as lower usage rates among uninsured Americans, highlight the need for further exploration of access and benefits across various subgroups.