Ozempic and other weight-loss drug use is booming. But are Americans on board?

A new class of drugs being used for weight loss is booming in popularity, creating mixed feelings on social media as drug shortages make headlines and diet and exercise tips continue to trend.

Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro were first approved for their effectiveness in managing diabetes, and have become more mainstream in recent years after medical experts saw promising results in weight loss trials.

As use of this drug continues to climb, new data from The Pew Research Center found Americans feel differently about who should use the drugs, and seem to doubt they'll have a national impact on obesity rates.

Here’s what to know about Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro, and what Americans are saying:

What is Ozempic? 

Ozempic, a Novo Nordisk drug, was approved to treat diabetes in 2017 and has skyrocketed in use after celebrities and ordinary people on TikTok reported that their doctors prescribed it "off label" for weight loss. 

Currently, Ozempic is not approved by the FDA for weight loss as it is meant to treat type 2 diabetes, but doctors may still prescribe it for weight loss. Such prescriptions have led to shortages and frustrations among diabetes patients, FOX Business reported earlier this month

And last month, the FDA said it was aware of and investigating reports of counterfeit Ozempic being marketed in the U.S.

RELATED: Fake Ozempic shots are being sold through legitimate sources, FDA warns

What is Wegovy? 

Wegovy, an injectable prescription weight loss medicine that has helped people with obesity. (Photo by: Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Wegovy is a higher dose version of the same medication in Ozempic, called semaglutide, and has been approved for weight loss. 

It was approved for adults in 2021 and for children aged 12 and older in 2022.

RELATED: FDA approves food allergy drug to lessen severity of reactions to peanuts, dairy and more

What is Mounjaro?

Tirzepatide is the newest in the group, made by Eli Lilly and Co., and is poised to become the most potent obesity drug on the market, promising users losses of more than 30 to 50 pounds over time. 

It was first approved under the brand name Mounjaro to treat type 2 diabetes in May 2022. In November 2023, tirzepatide was approved by the FDA for chronic weight management.

How do Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro work?

The drugs are delivered through once-weekly injections. 

In short, the drugs help people feel fuller for longer by lowering blood sugar and slowing down digestion, leading them to eat less and lose weight. 

The drugs work by activating a hormone known as GLP-1, which is found primarily in the gut and kicks in after people eat. The hormones help regulate blood sugar by triggering the pancreas to release insulin, another hormone, and slowing the release of sugar from the liver. 

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) also affects a second hormone, called GIP, which developers say contributes to its increased effectiveness. 

As UCHealth reports, most patients will likely need to stay on the medications in order to keep the weight off. The drugs can also have unpleasant side effects and be very costly, as no generic brands are available.

RELATED: Ozempic side effects: FDA says drug has no link to suicide

Americans and weight loss

New data from the Pew Research Center was mixed on whom U.S. adults said they thought was the best candidate to use these drugs. 

53% of Americans said they think these drugs are good options for people who want to lose weight if they have obesity or a weight-related health condition.

By contrast, 62% said these drugs were not a good option for people who want to lose weight if they don’t have a weight-related health condition. 

Americans favoring the use of these weight-loss drugs can be attributed to the fact that many U.S. adults, 65%, believe willpower alone is not enough to lose weight and keep it off.

The groups most likely to say willpower alone was not enough were people older than 65 (73%), women (71%) and Democrats or Dem-leaning adults (71%). 

Most Americans believe diet is the top factor that affects a person’s weight, followed by exercise habits. 

Three-quarters of Americans said stress and anxiety has at least quite a bit of impact on a person’s weight, including 35% who say it has a great deal of impact.

All in all, the data found Americans only have modest expectations for these weight-loss drugs to have an impact on obesity in the United States. 

Only 16% of those familiar with these drugs think they will do a great deal or quite a bit to reduce obesity, while 35% think they will do some and 33% expect they will do not much or nothing at all to reduce obesity in the U.S. 

Obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reports about 4 in 10 adults have obesity, and there’s been a significant increase in the share of Americans with this disease over the past two decades.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.