US Physicians Name Two Weight Loss Drugs as “Paradigm-Shifting,” While Cautioning on Safety and Cost

Fielded in under 24 hours, data show semaglutide and tirzepatide lead six other therapies in clinical familiarity—doctors believe nearly 30% of patients get semaglutide from non-physician environments

WATERTOWN MA September 19, 2023—Three quarters of US physicians name two prescription weight loss therapies as paradigm-shifting—tirzepatide, sold as Mounjaro, and semaglutide, sold as the brands Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus—compared to six other chronic weight management therapies on the market. Paradigm-shifting perceptions for tirzepatide (77%) and semaglutide (76%) are so high that the next prescriber-ranked therapy scored just 24%, with all others behind it. Respondents note these treatments herald “a new era for weight loss medications,” one that is changing options and giving hope.”

However, doctors rate the two leading therapies low on cost to patients and insurance coverage eligibility, with just 15% of prescribers reporting high satisfaction on these measures. In verbatim remarks, physicians also say they are worried about the lack of safety data and long-term risks, even though they are enthusiastic on the benefits of these newly-released and in-development treatments.

Data are from InCrowd, a real-time global data and insights provider to the healthcare and life sciences industry, and a brand of Apollo Intelligence (Apollo). Sourced in under 24 hours in mid-August 2023, the report is part of the InCrowd Instant Insights series that uses the global reach and real-time agility of Apollo’s next-gen life science insights platform to gather and quantify physician perceptions on timely healthcare issues—data that InCrowd shares openly without fee or sponsorship.

“With more than two-thirds of Americans either obese or overweight, according to the CDC, physicians are genuinely excited at the innovation they are observing with these weight loss therapies,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and President of Apollo. “Though the findings also tell us that physicians have concerns about costs, coverage, and limited safety data, they regard these therapies as game-changers in the fight against one of our most pervasive public health issues.”

Prescription weight loss drugs represent doctor’s top recommendation to their weight management patients, cited by 95% of respondents, followed by aerobic exercise (93%) and low-calorie diets (89%).

Among weight loss drugs, doctors had the highest clinical familiarity with semaglutide (96%) as well with liraglutide, sold as Saxenda and Victosa (94%) in addition to tirzepatide (87%). They reported less familiarity with five other weight loss drugs included in the study:

  • Phentermine (Ionamin, Sentis), familiar to 83% of respondents
  • Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia), familiar to 75%
  • Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave), at 72% familiarity
  • Orlistat (Xenical, alli), at 72%
  • Setmelanotide (Imcivree), at 11%

Over 70% of responding doctors rate semaglutide and tirzepatide highly for efficacy and dosing frequency, with slightly higher patient satisfaction for tirzepatide (77%) than semaglutide (69%). Endocrinologists rate tirzepatide higher for its efficacy (90%) compared to PCPs (72%), and also rate the efficacy of semaglutide higher than PCPs, though less pronounced (78% Endos vs 70% PCPs).

Verbatim remarks praised newly released and in-development drugs on efficacy, while raising cautionary flags on safety and side effects, as well as cost and insurance coverage.

I am very excited. New medications in the market have shown wonderful response to therapeutic weight loss management with minimal side effects. I think this is the era for weight loss medications.” —PCP

Very promising, but longer-term data and real-world data are necessary.” —Endocrinologist

“They are effective but too expensive for the majority of patients, even with insurance coverage.” —PCP

 InCrowd’s report revealed additional related findings:

  • Fewer doctors guide patients to intermittent fasting (62%) or anaerobic exercise (55%) than to prescription weight loss drugs and aerobic exercise.
  • An estimated 30% of weight management patients are believed to be receiving semaglutide from non-physician environments such as spas, according to findings.

The InCrowd Instant Insights report on weight loss medications includes data from n=100 US-based HCPs, responding within a 24-hours period on August 8-9, 2023, to a 10-minute Microsurvey on InCrowd’s next-generation healthcare insights platform. Respondents include n=50 endocrinologists and n=50 primary care physicians. Each respondent has treated 20+ weight loss patients in the past month and prescribes prescription medications for weight loss. For more information, download the report here.


About Apollo Intelligence, LLC

Apollo’s mission is to accelerate health innovation to improve life. In 2019, Apollo launched with the acquisition of InCrowd, a pioneer of real-time, automated insights for the life science industry. In 2020, Apollo strengthened its global reach, by acquiring Survey Healthcare Global, a global market leader of first-party healthcare data collection and custom survey solutions. Apollo provides access to 2 million healthcare stakeholders worldwide—including physicians, patients, caregivers, and allied healthcare professionals. Apollo’s 250+ employees support top global pharmaceutical and healthcare brands, market research agencies, and consultancies across 13 different countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Apollo is a portfolio company of Frazier Healthcare Partners. For more information about Apollo, please visit our website at




Meghan Oates-Zalesky
Chief Marketing Officer for Apollo Intelligence


Mary Kae Marinac
PR Representative for Apollo Intelligence