Do The Weight Loss Drugs Wegovy, and Zepbound Help Depression and Anxiety?

Weight Loss Drugs & Depression and Anxiety

According to research published by Epic Research weight loss drugs were linked to a lower likelihood of depression and anxiety diagnoses,

The researchers looked at over three million diabetic patients and nearly one million non-diabetic patients taking GLP-1 medications, which is the class of drugs representing popular name brands such as Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and  Zepboun in the study that was just published .

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1) medications for diabetes  are not new. They have been prescribed for diabetes for a number of years. More recently, however,  the FDA approved some GLP-1 medications, –  semaglutide (Wegovy), and tirzapatide (Zepbound) , for weight management.1

This massive study which was just published, was done to elucidate possible mental health benefits in diabetics  from taking the GLP-agonist medications.They studied over 3 million diabetic patients and over 900,000 no- diabetic patients who were prescribed these medications. To assess the effects in diabetic patients,they compared those prescribed the GLP-1 type diabetes medications to diabetics prescribed other types of medications for their diabetes.To assess non diabetic patients they compared patients prescribed GLP-1 medications for weight loss, to patients on other weight management solutions.

Semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic ) and Tirzepatide (Mounjaro,) both showed a mental health benefit.

The data made it very clear that diabetic patients prescribed either semaglutide or tirzapatide had a lower likelihood of being diagnosed with depression compared to those who were not prescribed this class of medication. Tirzepatide had the greatest result resulting in a 65% reduction in likelihood of being diagnosed with depression. Among non-diabetic patients, those prescribed semaglutide for weight reduction also had a lower likelihood of depression than those not prescribed the medication.

Along with the evaluation regarding depression, they evaluated if there was a relationship between taking the GLP-1 medications and anxiety. Similar to depression, diabetic patients prescribed the GLP-1 medications had a lesser chance of being diagnosed with anxiety after taking the medication compared to those who were not given these  medications. Tirzepatide again showed the greatest effect , with a 60% reduction, in receiving an anxiety diagnosis in diabetic patients, and those prescribed semaglutide also had  a lower likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of  anxiety.

Semaglutide  is the active ingredient found in Ozempic, which is approved for type 2 diabetes but being used “off label ” for weight loss. Wegovy has been approved by the FDA for weight loss. Recently Tirzapatide, with the brand name   Mounjaro for diabetes,  was approved for weight loss under the name  Zepbound.

This massive study used electronic patient records.

Because of the medication’s success in helping people achieve weight loss there has been an enormous surge in prescriptions being written for these medications. Many celebrities’ who carefully manage their appearance have been  using these medications adding to their popularity .

Oprah Winfrey has confirmed she has used one of the medications (she had not revealed which one).

And she is letting everyone know that for the past two years she is using a medication to help her maintain her weight loss successfully.

People magazine entitled their story about Oprah this way:

Oprah Winfrey Reveals She Uses Weight Loss Medication as a maintenance tool, saying ” I am absolutely done with shaming”.

Oprah further explained how she uses of the medication to maintain her weight loss. “I now use it as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing.”She told People , the fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for. I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people, and particularly myself.”

It is not really understood as of yet whether the medications have any actual antidepressant or anti -anxiety effect. Perhaps people are diagnosed less often with these conditions as they use the medications because their success with weight loss is beneficial to their mood. Researcher Kersten Bartelt explained to ABC News, “These results show that these medications may serve a dual purpose for patients, but we do not understand them well enough yet to say these medications should be given as a treatment for anxiety or depression outside of diabetes or weight management.”

It is important to note that after a review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they that found no evidence linking weight loss drugs to suicidal thoughts, which had been previously reported as a possibility and garnered alot of attention.


In the FDAs official approval of Wegovy (semaglutide) for weight loss they stated

” Approximately 70% of American adults have obesity or overweight. Having obesity or overweight is a serious health issue associated with some leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and is linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Losing 5% to 10% of body weight through diet and exercise has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in adult patients with obesity or overweight.”

They explain how Wegovy works this way…”by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake.” It is suggested that the medication dose must be increased gradually over 16 to 20 weeks once weekly, to reduce gastrointestinal side effects.

The FDA stated , “Wegovy’s safety and efficacy were studied in four 68-week trials

…” More than 2,600 patients received Wegovy for up to 68 weeks in these four studies and more than 1,500 patients received placebo.

The largest placebo-controlled trial enrolled adults without diabetes. The average age at the start of the trial was 46 years and 74% of patients were female. The average body weight was 231 pounds… Individuals who received Wegovy lost an average of 12.4% of their initial body weight compared to individuals who received placebo. Another trial enrolled adults with type 2 diabetes. The average age was 55 years and 51% were female. The average body weight was 220 pounds (100 kg) and average BMI was 36 kg/m2. In this trial, individuals who received Wegovy lost 6.2% of their initial body weight compared to those who received placebo.

They list some of the most common side effects of Wegovy- nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal (stomach) pain, headache, fatigue, and  (indigestion).

Others that have been reported include dizziness, abdominal distension, belching, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes, flatulence , gastroenteritis and gastroesophageal reflux.

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