Semaglutide (Ozempic®) Use in Denmark 2018 Through 2023 ‒ User Trends and off-Label Prescribing for Weight Loss

Aurélie Mailhac, Lars Pedersen, Anton Pottegård, Jens Søndergaard, Torben Mogensen, Henrik Toft Sørensen, Reimar W. Thomsen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Purpose: A surge in the use of semaglutide injection (Ozempic®) approved to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) has led to a global supply shortage. We investigated contemporary user rates and clinical characteristics of semaglutide (Ozempic®) users in Denmark, and the extent of “off-label” prescribing for weight loss. Patients and Methods: Nationwide population-based cross-sectional study based on linked health registries January 2018 through December 2023. All adults who received a first prescription of semaglutide once weekly (Ozempic®) were included. We examined quarterly rates of new users and total user prevalences, using other glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists and weight loss medications as comparison. We also investigated user characteristics including T2D, glucose control, comedications, and cardiorenal disease. Results: The new user rate of semaglutide (Ozempic®) remained stable at approximately 4 per 1000 adult person-years between 2019 and 2021 and then accelerated, peaking at 10 per 1000 in the first quarter of 2023 after which it declined sharply. User prevalence increased to 91,626 users in Denmark in 2023. The proportion of semaglutide (Ozempic®) new users who had a record of T2D declined from 99% in 2018 to only 67% in 2022, increasing again to 87% in 2023. Among people with T2D who initiated semaglutide (Ozempic®) in 2023, 52% received antidiabetic polytherapy before initiation, 39% monotherapy, and 8% no antidiabetic therapy. Most T2D initiators had suboptimal glucose control, with 83% having an HbA1c ≥48 mmol/mol and 68% ≥53 mmol/mol despite use of antidiabetic medication, and 29% had established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or kidney disease. Conclusion: The use of semaglutide (Ozempic®) in Denmark has increased dramatically. Although not approved for weight loss without T2D, one-third of new users in 2022 did not have T2D. Conversely, most initiators with T2D had a clear medical indication for treatment intensification, and “off-label” use can only explain a minor part of the supply shortage.

TidsskriftClinical epidemiology
Sider (fra-til)307-318
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 2024


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