Should Ozempic issue a warning about mental health side effects?

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Semaglutide is the active ingredient in both Ozempic and Wegovy, yet only one of the two prescription drugs currently lists mental health side effects on its label. Cavan Images/Getty Images
  • Ozempic does not list anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts on its label, but Wegovy’s label does.
  • The active ingredient in both Ozempic and Wegovy is semaglutide, which is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.
  • If you feel like your mental health has changed while taking a GLP-1 like Ozempic or Wegovy, contact your doctor immediately.

Although many people know about Ozempic and Wegovy, they may not know the difference in the possible mental health side effects of these medications.

The Wegovys label lists harmful mental health side effects, but the Ozempics label does not. But both drugs contain semaglutide, which, according to Wegovy’s warning label, may increase the risk of:

  • worry
  • depression
  • suicidal ideation and attempts

There’s good reason, according to Dr. Sethu Reddy, president of the American Society of Clinical Endocrinology. Not the FDA or [drug company] are lying to the public or hiding things,” he told Healthline.

Reddy explains that when pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials to get FDA approval, they must collect and report all side effects that occur in patients who take the drug more than in the placebo group. .

However, mental health side effects should not be ignored or minimized, notes Dr. Raafat Girgis, psychiatrist and clinical director at Moment of Clarity. Girgis told Healthline that consumers should always have the right to know the consequences and benefits of using any drug or product.

The active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy is semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.

Semaglutide mimics the GLP-1 hormone released in the digestive tract in response to eating. GLP-1 prompts the body to produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels. This is why Ozempic is used for diabetes.

Additionally, GLP-1 in higher amounts also interacts with parts of the brain that reduce appetite and signal satiety. This is the wayThe active ingredients in Wegovy help people lose weight.

The higher amount of semaglutide in Wegovy compared to Ozempic may be why there were more adverse mental health effects reported in clinical trials for Wegovy, Reddy said.

When [medications] Try suppressing your appetite, he says. A number of other things also happen in the brain, from depression to anxiety. You may see less of that effect with GLP-1 like semaglutide, however, with drugs that affect the brain, you should always be on the lookout for any CNS side effects.

Reddy noted that the psychological and mental state of patients taking Wegovy for weight loss compared to patients taking Ozempic to control diabetes may also affect mental health.

Mental health is obviously very important for weight management because when you think about all the mental health factors that cause people to eat, stress over things that are not good or fun tend to stimulate people to eat, anxiety is a big part of that, social attitudes toward weight gain, coping mechanisms for emotional and physical abuse, Reddy said.

Girgis added that a common side effect of Ozempic and Wegovy can cause mental health side effects. Including:

I think the worst side effects are the gastrointestinal side effects of the shot, Girgis said.

When the body cannot eliminate waste in the normal way, it refuses to respond and tries to self-regulate, causing confusion in your natural state of functioning. The mental aspect of anxiety and worry can worsen the way your body reacts to the procedure.

Dehydration, which affects the digestive tract, can also affect mental health, Girgis notes.

If you feel like your mental health has changed while taking a GLP-1 like Ozempic or Wegovy, contact your doctor immediately.

If you can’t reach them, go to an emergency room or urgent care facility, Girgis says.

Rest assured that there are alternative medications and treatments for diabetes and weight loss. Typically, doctors will initially reduce the dosage to see if it helps lessen the mental health effects.

Any medication has what we call a therapeutic window, so if you take too much aspirin, it will cause ulcers or stomach bleeding, etc. Your doctor will try to figure out what dosage is effective. but causes no side effects, Reddy said.

After trial and error, they may stop taking the medication for a few weeks to see if mental health improves and then you start taking the medication again.

If your mood changes again, you already have your answer, says Reddy, and often try a lower dose or try a different medication.

The type of hormone, the intended use, and a person’s gender all factor into whether hormones can cause mental health effects.

For example, Reddy said insulin is a hormone that, when taken in appropriate amounts, does not cause changes in mental health.

Other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen are circumstantial.

For example, Girgis said testosterone can cause a number of mental health problems, such as rage, agitation and aggressive reactions.

However, Reddy notes that when administered to men with low testosterone, it can improve their outlook on life, energy, and exercise tolerance.

If a woman is going through menopause and has changes in her mental health, sometimes depression and anxiety improve when she takes oral estrogen, says Reddy.

Girgis said it is important to know and be aware that depression, mood swings, anxiety and sadness can occur at any time for both sexes when hormones are injected into the body.

Once a drug is approved by the FDA and made available to the public, doctors must continue to report side effects they witness in patients until FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS).

You may experience some of these side effects when using a certain product on millions of patients. Although 1 or 2 in a million people experience a side effect that will appear, it will not appear in the initial FDA-approved studies, which were conducted on smaller numbers of patients, Reddy said. much.

That doesn’t mean the industry is hiding side effects from the public; that’s really the nature of how data is collected.

Because side effects are noted as the drug becomes more widely used, research is often conducted and side effects are sometimes added to the label.

The fact that the Ozempics label does not mention anxiety, depression or suicide on its label but the Wegovys label does may be because Wegovy has higher levels of semaglutide.

This disparity may spur more research on this topic.

If you think you are experiencing mental health effects from taking Ozempic, Wegovy or other GLP-1, contact your doctor immediately.

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