Ozempic This, Wegovy That: No Matter What You Call It, Semaglutide is Having a Moment
Six-Fold Increase in New Prescriptions Reported in DrFirst Prescribing Network
Rockville, Md. – October 17, 2023 – Analysis of prescribing trends made available by health tech pioneer DrFirst show a six-fold increase in prescriptions written for popular weight loss drug Wegovy between December 2022 and June 2023, and a 65% increase in the number of prescriptions for Ozempic, the lower-dose version for treating diabetes, during the same period by doctors on the DrFirst prescribing network.
Overall, there was a 150% increase in semaglutide prescriptions written on DrFirst’s network in the last year, and an 80% increase in prescriptions written per provider.
Ozempic and Wegovy have different names, dosages, and indications, but are identical in terms of their molecular makeup – known as the generic medication semaglutide – and both are manufactured by Novo Nordisk. Semaglutide helps regulate your body’s secretion of hormones such as insulin, while slowing the emptying of the stomach and reducing hunger signals in the brain.
About 42% of American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If current trends hold, about a quarter of the world’s population will be obese by 2035. The CDC estimates that nearly 10% of Americans have type 2 diabetes.
“People with obesity have long struggled to control their weight, and new medications, including semaglutide and others, have been game changers for many,” said Colin Banas, M.D., M.H.A., chief medical officer for DrFirst. “We are seeing prescribing trends change now that doctors have additional, highly effective options for their patients.”
Prior to December 2022, there was a fairly flat rate of prescriptions for Ozempic, which was approved by the FDA in 2017 for patients with type 2 diabetes, and Wegovy, approved in 2021 to help curb obesity. A sharp rise in prescribing occurred in December 2022, which continues today.
The data show an increase of some other oral diabetes medications during that time period, although to a lesser degree.
DrFirst found the following trends among 868,033 semaglutide prescriptions written on the prescribing network from September 2022 to August 2023.
Four of the top five prescribers of semaglutide are primary care providers, including those in general and family practice, internists, obstetricians/gynecologists, and pediatricians. Rounding out the top five, endocrinologists wrote more semaglutide prescriptions than any other specialist on DrFirst’s network.
The top five prescribers of semaglutide include:
- General/Family Practice: 30%
- Internal Medicine: 15%
- Endocrinology: 4%
- OB/GYN: 2%
- Pediatrics: 1%
Cardiologists, emergency medicine physicians, hospitalists, psychiatrists, and surgeons round out the top 10 prescribers, each writing fewer than 1% of semaglutide prescriptions on the network last year.
The DrFirst prescribing network includes over 350,000 prescribers across the U.S., including 260,000 doctors, who used the company’s iPrescribe mobile prescribing app and its Rcopia desktop solution to transmit over 232 million prescriptions last year.
Since 2000, healthcare IT pioneer DrFirst has empowered providers and patients to achieve better health through intelligent medication management. We improve healthcare efficiency and effectiveness by enhancing e-prescribing workflows, improving medication history, optimizing clinical data usability, and helping patients start and stay on therapy. In the last few years, DrFirst has won over 25 awards for excellence and innovation, including winning Gold in the prestigious Edison Awards in 2023, recognizing our game-changing use of clinical-grade AI to streamline time-consuming healthcare workflows and prevent medication errors. Our solutions are used by more than 350,000 prescribers, 71,000 pharmacies, 300 EHRs and health information systems, and 2,000 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit DrFirst.com and follow @DrFirst.
Alessandra Nagy, Alessandra@bospar.com