LOUISIANA (KPEL News) - When it comes to drugs - the legal ones, that is - there are always some trends and fads associated with the hot new items on the market.

And one of the biggest movements in medicine right now is the use of semaglutides for weight loss. These drugs, which were developed for diabetics, have been shown to aid in weight loss in ways that celebrities and influencers latched on to, and that has caused a major boom in that market.

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But it's not just a fad. Doctors across the country aren't being browbeaten into prescribing it. They, too, believe that it's beneficial in the fight against obesity in the United States.

So drugs like Ozempic have been on the rise throughout the country, and perhaps it should come as no surprise that a food that loves its food, like Louisiana, might also be one of the biggest adopters of the drug.

That seems to be the case, based on data from PurpleLab, a health analytics company. According to Axios, PurpleLab's data shows that Louisiana has the fifth-highest rate of Ozempic use in the country.

Kentucky had the highest rate at 20.7 prescriptions dispensed per 1,000 people, followed by West Virginia (18.9), Alaska (17.5), Mississippi (16.1) and Louisiana (15.4).

The data, Axios says, is "based on a collection of 1.9 billion claims from private insurers, as well as Medicare — which only covers GLP-1s to treat diabetes — and Medicaid."

The data focuses on the number of prescriptions for Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug Ozempic, which has seen a jump in off-label prescriptions for weight loss, and Wegovy, which was approved for weight loss by the FDA back in 2021.

It also, Axios confirmed, includes Eli Lilly's diabetes medication Mounjaro and its anti-obesity medication, Zepbound, which was approved by the FDA in November.


In 2023, semaglutides like Ozempic saw a sharp rise in popularity, inspired in part by its popularity in Hollywood and on social media. Influencers buzzed about it, and the drugs' names spread like wildfire.

It also helps that obesity is a growing problem in the United States, as pointed out by The Messenger.

"Southern states such as West Virginia (41% of the population is obese), Louisiana (40.1%), Oklahoma (40%), Mississippi (39.5%), Tennessee (38.9%) and Alabama (38.3%) lead the nation in obesity rates," the news site said. "Many of these states are also among the leaders in prescriptions for GLP-1s."

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It's worth noting that PurpleLabs' data only includes data from insurance companies. In righter parts of the country, like Hollywood, those who can afford the massive price tag for the drug can pay in cash but it won't show up on statistics like these.

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