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Patients commonly discontinue semaglutide weight-loss treatment

Posted 19th June 2024

An analysis of nationally representative, commercial insurance data has found while prescriptions of semaglutide drugs for weight management have increased exponentially, many patients discontinued the drugs before achieving clinically meaningful weight loss.

Key findings include:

  • about half the patients who received prescriptions stayed on treatment for a minimum of 12 weeks, enough time to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss
  • 30% of patients discontinued treatment within four weeks, before reaching the targeted dose
  • patients aged 35 and older were more likely to stay on GLP-1 treatment for at least 12 weeks
  • patients who regularly visited their healthcare providers were more likely to stay on the drugs

The report notes that almost all new users of the drugs suffer some gastrointestinal side effects. Patients often stop treatment due to difficulty coping with vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Reference: Real-world trends in GLP-1 treatment persistence and prescribing for weight management. Blue Health Intelligencer Issue Brief, May 2024

Source: Consumer Health Digest #24-24, June 16, 2024

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