This content material initially appeared on On a regular basis Well being. Republished with permission.
A big new research means that Ozempic and Wegovy don’t enhance the danger of suicidal ideas, a possible facet impact that has prompted regulatory investigations in the USA and Europe.
Each medicine include the identical lively ingredient, semaglutide, and are in a household of medicines generally known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, which might help management blood sugar ranges and scale back starvation. Regulators within the United States, Europe, and the UK have mentioned they’re investigating instances of suicidal ideas (additionally referred to as suicidal ideation) reported in some individuals who took Ozempic, Wegovy, and different GLP-1 medicine.
Within the new research of greater than 1.8 million U.S. sufferers, nonetheless, folks on Wegovy and Ozempic had a 49 p.c to 73 p.c decrease danger of suicidal ideas than people who have been taking different medicines for weight reduction or sort 2 diabetes, in accordance with outcomes printed January 5 in Nature Drugs.
“These findings sign preliminary proof for the protection of semaglutide for these with psychological well being situations, who could also be at higher danger of experiencing hurt from unwanted effects that trigger suicidal ideas,” says the senior research creator, Rong Xu, PhD, the director of the middle for synthetic intelligence in drug discovery at Case Western Reserve College in Cleveland.
Decrease Danger of Suicidal Ideas With Semaglutide
Researchers examined digital well being information over the six months after folks have been prescribed semaglutide or a unique treatment for weight reduction or for sort 2 diabetes.
Practically 1.6 million individuals took semaglutide or one other drugs for sort 2 diabetes. For these folks, 0.13 p.c on semaglutide and 0.36 p.c given different medicine skilled suicidal ideas for the primary time through the interval examined within the research.
When folks had a historical past of suicidal ideas, 10 p.c on semaglutide and 18 p.c given completely different medicines had recurrent suicidal ideas through the six months.
Amongst greater than 240,000 individuals prescribed medicines for weight reduction, 0.11 p.c of these on semaglutide had suicidal ideas for the primary time, in contrast with 0.43 p.c for people taking completely different weight reduction medicine.
When weight reduction sufferers already had a historical past of suicidal ideas, 7 p.c on semaglutide skilled recurrent issues with this, in contrast with 14 p.c of individuals prescribed completely different weight reduction medicine.
The research wasn’t designed to show whether or not or how completely different GLP-1 medicine or different medicines may immediately trigger or forestall suicidal ideas or behaviors.
Weight and Psychological Well being
It’s not precisely clear why there have been instances of suicidal ideas noticed in some folks taking medicine for weight reduction, says Nora Volkow, MD, a coauthor of the brand new research and the director of the Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse on the Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
“Some speculate that it pertains to a elimination of meals as a rewarding stimuli, or to the related adjustments in peripheral hormones linked with weight reduction,” Volkow says. “The decrease stage of danger of suicidal ideation in sufferers handled with semaglutide in comparison with sufferers handled with different anti-diabetes or anti-obesity medicines might mirror the distinct mechanism of pharmacological motion and deserves additional investigation.”
Shauna Levy, MD, the medical director of the Tulane Weight Loss Middle in New Orleans, says the brand new research outcomes mirror what she’s seen along with her personal sufferers.
“These outcomes are in keeping with what I’ve seen from my sufferers, within the sense that they really feel happier after taking GLP-1 agonists,” says Dr. Levy, who wasn’t concerned within the new research. “I’ve not had many sufferers with suicidal ideation in my apply.”
Levy agreed that the precise motive why semaglutide may imply much less danger of suicidal ideas isn’t clear. At the least initially, weight reduction could be related to improved temper, not less than partly as a result of weight problems is tied to increased charges of melancholy and nervousness.
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However extra analysis is required to pinpoint the exact motive for temper shifts related to GLP-1 medicine on the whole or with semaglutide specifically.
Within the meantime, Levy says the brand new research outcomes received’t change how she treats sufferers. “It’s nonetheless extremely essential to observe sufferers rigorously for any preexisting situations or any adjustments in psychological well being following utilization of GLP-1 agonists,” Levy says. “It is necessary that sufferers who’re taking GLP-1 agonists are adopted intently by a medical skilled.”