Ozempic may not lead to a higher risk of suicidal thoughts, study finds

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Compared to other obesity/diabetes drug, Ozempic was linked with greater mental health outcomes

Recent studies have highlighted some of the digestive risks associated with popular weight loss drugs. While some consumers may be fearful of the potential physical and mental health side effects, a new study is showing the drug in a positive light. 

According to a new study that looked at a real-world population, Ozempic and other semaglutide drugs used for obesity and type 2 diabetes may not increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. 

“We can confidently state that our analyses do not support claims of increased suicidality in patients who are prescribed semaglutide,” Dr. Nora Volkow, one of the study’s researchers and the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse told NBC News. 

“It would be vital to ensure it does not cause negative mental health effects to put an already vulnerable population at even greater risk of harmful health outcomes.” 

Mental health effects

For the study, the researchers analyzed electronic medical records from over 240,600 participants who were prescribed semaglutide for obesity between June 2021 and December 2022. When the study began, over 232,000 participants had no history of suicidal thoughts, while over 7,800 participants did. 

The team tracked participants’ physical and mental health outcomes within the first six months that they were prescribed the medication. 

Ultimately, semaglutide wasn’t associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts, both for participants with and without a history of such behavior in the past. 

The study showed that semaglutide was linked with a 0.11% risk for first-time suicidal thoughts and a 7% risk for recurring suicidal thoughts for those with a history. On top of that, semaglutide proved to have the lowest risk of suicidal thoughts compared with other popular weight loss drugs. 

Diabetes patients fare the same way

The second part of the study determined how diabetes patients’ mental health was affected by semaglutide. 

The results held up – semaglutide was linked with a 0.13% risk of first-time suicidal ideations, and a 10% risk for recurring suicidal thoughts. 

“Our analyses do not support concerns of increased risk of suicidal ideation with semaglutide, and instead show a lower risk association of semaglutide with both incident and recurrent suicidal ideation compared to non-GLIPR agonist anti-obesity and anti-diabetes medications,” the researchers wrote.

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