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11 Surprising Statistics About Semaglutide You Need To Know

Written by Andrew Le, MD

UpdatedFebruary 22, 2024

The search for safe and effective weight loss treatments continues, but semaglutide, a newly approved medication, is gaining attention for its potential.

Originally used for diabetes, it's now approved to help manage weight for people struggling with obesity or overweight.

Find out more data about its effects, popularity, and cost in the details below.

Editor’s Choice

  • After three months of subcutaneous semaglutide, patients lost about 14.7 lbs.
  • The 50 mg dose of semaglutide resulted in an 11.6% average weight reduction.
  • Semaglutide surpassed liraglutide with a 12.4% vs. 4.5% weight loss.
  • Semaglutide severe side effects were experienced by 7.9%, including one fatality.
  • COVID-19 adverse events were 10.5% for semaglutide participants and 5.3% for liraglutide.
  • In 2020, semaglutide ranked 129th in US prescriptions.
  • The average semaglutide prescription costs $1,486.35 per fill.
  • Over 90 million obese US adults qualify for semaglutide 2.4 mg treatment.
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Is Semaglutide Effective for Weight Loss?

Semaglutide is effective for individuals with and without diabetes, employing various mechanisms to facilitate weight loss.

Generally, the effects of semaglutide become noticeable within approximately two weeks of use. While some individuals may observe results as early as eight weeks into treatment, the majority tend to experience visible changes around the 12-week mark.

Here's a more detailed examination of its statistics:

Weight Loss Effects

Semaglutide is administered at a 2.4 mg dose via a once-a-week subcutaneous injection, offering a solution for sustained weight management.

Individuals using semaglutide achieved an average weight loss of 12.7 kg more than those on a placebo.

Let's find out more about its effects on weight loss.

1. After three months of subcutaneous semaglutide, patients lost about 6.7 kg, roughly 5.9% of their original weight. (PubMed)

Patients lost about 12.3 kg at six months, equivalent to 10.9% of their initial weight. This study demonstrates semaglutide's effectiveness for weight loss and its potential applicability in less controlled environments.

2. After a year of treatment, semaglutide led to an average 14.9% weight loss, with about a third of patients losing over 20%. (PubMed)

In a randomized trial, using semaglutide for treatment led to an average weight loss of 14.9%.

About one-third of the patients achieved a weight loss of over 20% within a year. These findings indicate that medication advancements could bring weight loss outcomes close to those observed in bariatric surgery.

3. Individuals taking the 50 mg dose of semaglutide accomplished weight an average reduction of 11.6%. (PubMed)

In a study with 667 adults having high BMI, those on semaglutide 50 mg achieved bigger weight reductions (85%, 69%, and 34% for 5%, 10%, and 20% respectively) compared to those on placebo (26%, 12%, and 3%).

4. Tirzepatide results in significant weight reduction compared to semaglutide in diabetes trials with up to 11.2 kg reduction. (PubMed)

In a study with over 1800 diabetes patients, they compared once-weekly tirzepatide at various doses to semaglutide 1 mg. After 40 weeks, all tirzepatide doses (5, 10, and 15 mg) led to more weight loss than semaglutide (-7.6, -9.3, and -11.2 kg vs. -5.7 kg, respectively).

It's important to note that the recommended 2.4 mg weekly dose of semaglutide for obesity wasn't used in this study.

✅ Health Tip:

Effective treatment of weight issues is crucial for reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. Explore our weight issue treatment page to discover suitable care options and gain insights into various treatment approaches.

5. Semaglutide outperformed once-daily liraglutide with lifestyle intervention, achieving 12.4% weight loss compared to 4.5%. (NEJM)

Compared with liraglutide, semaglutide demonstrated greater placebo-adjusted weight reductions at 12.4%, surpassing the 4.5% achieved with once-daily liraglutide alongside lifestyle intervention. Semaglutide's weight loss phase persisted for a longer duration compared to liraglutide.

Side Effects

The side effects of semaglutide are generally mild, particularly when contrasted with the complications linked to overweight and obesity.

People using semaglutide for weight loss might encounter symptoms such as

Among individuals starting semaglutide, gastrointestinal issues are the most common concern, but these can be minimized by commencing with a lower dose and gradually increasing it.

💡 Did You Know?

Gastrointestinal manifestations of the persistent urge to pass stool often coincide with symptoms such as irregular bowels, recurring abdominal pain relieved by passing gas or having a bowel movement, and straining during bowel movements despite urgency. Gain more insights from our article about understanding the constant urge to have a bowel movement.

But what do the statistics say about its effects?


6.
7.9% experienced severe semaglutide side effects, including one fatality. (Nature)

In a study involving 152 participants, 7.9% reported severe adverse effects for those receiving semaglutide, compared to 11.8% in the placebo group. Despite one reported death, an independent panel determined the death was not linked to semaglutide.


7. Semaglutide participants reported 10.5% COVID-19 adverse events, compared to 5.3% with liraglutide. (Nature)

From a sample of 152 participants, a more significant proportion (10.5%) of those using semaglutide reported COVID-19 adverse events compared to individuals taking liraglutide (5.3%). This disparity raises questions about a potential association between these treatments and COVID-19 events.

Cost and Prescription

To acquire a prescription for semaglutide, one must fulfill certain diagnostic criteria. However, its rising popularity for weight loss has increased difficulty obtaining medication for many individuals.

Below are statistics outlining its cost and prescription-related information.

8. In 2020, semaglutide was the 129th most prescribed drug in the US. (Clincalc)

Due to its proven weight management results, semaglutide is favored by overweight and obese patients. In fact, it has over 4 million yearly prescriptions for about 1.1 million patients.


9. The average cost per semaglutide prescription is $1,486.35 per fill. (Clincalc)

For semaglutide, the average total drug cost per prescription is $1,486.35, or $34.08 per day of therapy. The average out-of-pocket cost per prescription is $50.03, equivalent to $1.21 per day of therapy.


10. Over 90 million obese US adults are potential candidates for semaglutide 2.4 mg weight loss treatment. (Springer Link)

Based on the study, this weight management treatment could reduce the US obesity population by almost 50%. Additionally, over ten years of use, it can prevent as many as 1.5 million cardiovascular disease events.


11. In the US, Wegovy costs $1,349.02 per month as of 2022. (NYTimes)

In the US, Wegovy costs $1,349.02 per month in 2022, leading to concerns that high expenses might prevent those who need weight loss the most from accessing the drug.

In the UK, semaglutide is accessible on the NHS for diabetes and obesity, often with little or no cost to patients, but the treatment duration is limited to two years.

🗒️ Related Articles:

To learn more about weight management, check out some of our articles:

Wrap Up

Semaglutide offers a promising approach to weight management, leading to substantial weight loss.

Its effectiveness is evident across different scenarios and doses and even shows potential effects on COVID-19.

However, its high cost raises accessibility concerns. With many obese individuals eligible for this treatment, semaglutide could significantly impact obesity-related health issues.

FAQs on Semaglutide

How much weight can you lose in a month on semaglutide?

The higher the dose, the greater the weight loss potential. Some patients have lost over 15 to 20 pounds in the first month, though individual results vary.

Does semaglutide reduce belly fat?

Yes, semaglutide injections can significantly reduce overall body weight and abdominal fat, with a focus on belly fat loss.

What happens when you stop semaglutide?

Stopping semaglutide can lead to a return of body fat and previous appetite levels. Consistent use is essential for maintaining long-term weight loss effects.

How long can you take semaglutide?

You can continue using Ozempic (semaglutide) as long as it's tolerated and deemed appropriate by your healthcare provider, as it's intended for chronic use.

Is semaglutide safe for non-diabetics?

Subcutaneous Semaglutide Injection is effective and promising for non-diabetic adults, making it a viable obesity treatment even without Type-2 Diabetes.

Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
Virtual weight loss solution
A personalized GLP-1 medication program delivered to you via our partner Korb Health
Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
  • Free consultation; program starts at $269/mo
  • Checkmark Inside Circle.Customized online program and wellness coaching
  • Prescription medications and supplies shipped to your door