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Weight loss pills, anti-depressants and acne medication all see spike in prescription refills

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Posted at 6:02 AM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 08:19:35-04

SHOREWOOD, Wis. — Weight loss pills, anti-depressants, and acne medication all saw a spike in refills recently. Experts believe the data shows people seem to be prioritizing their mental and physical health.

GoodRx, a popular prescription savings company, reports fills for Sertraline, the generic form of Zoloft that is a medication for anxiety and depression, are higher than they've been in years.

Compared to 2019, Zoloft is up as much as 8 percent throughout last year and this year.

"We looked at all SSRIs -- all medication that treat depression and anxiety -- and all of those are elevated as well," said Tori Marsh, Director of Research at GoodRx.

Marsh reports acne medication is up by 25 percent and weight loss prescriptions by 35 percent when compared to 2019.

"Thirty-two percent of the population is considered obese in the state of Wisconsin," said pharmacist Jon Phillips with Sage Specialty Pharmacy in Shorewood.

Phillips says more of his clients are interested in a new weight loss drug called Wegovy, and the popularity is impacting supply.

"We have situations right now where we've got people on a waiting list to get the drug," he said.

"It's being rationed out across the country," he adds.

Besides that medication, overall Phillips hasn't noticed a major uptick in other prescription fills at his specialty pharmacy, but stresses other mainstream pharmacies likely are experiencing what the national research shows.

Phillips says at this point, COVID-19 vaccines and tests are consistently in demand.

If you don't have insurance or even if you do have it and your prescription still isn't affordable, there are what's called patient assistance programs you can look into. Most are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. If you qualify, sometimes the medication is even free.

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