Weight loss drugs tied to fewer anxiety, depression cases: Study

Patients who take Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy are less likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression compared to those who don't receive the popular diabetes and weight loss drugs, according to a new study

A review of more than 4 million patient records conducted by Epic Research found that diabetic patients are less likely to have anxiety if they are taking any glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist. 

The researchers analyzed five different GLP-1s: tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound), semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus), dulaglutide (Trulicity), liraglutide (Saxenda, Victoza) and exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon). 

The patients taking GLP-1s for weight loss were compared with those receiving another kind of weight loss medication, and diabetic patients were compared with people not taking a GLP-1.

Among nondiabetic patients, semaglutide was correlated with a lower likelihood of depression and anxiety. No significant difference was found among those taking liraglutide. At the time of the study, only semaglutide and liraglutide solutions were approved for chronic weight management. In late 2023, the FDA approved Eli Lilly's Zepbound as another weight loss GLP-1.

Among diabetic patients, those taking all drugs except liraglutide showed decreased levels of depression, and all drugs showed a positive effect on anxiety levels. Diabetic patients on tirzepatide showed the lowest levels of both anxiety and depression.

It's unclear if the lower diagnoses of depression and anxiety are because of the medications, weight loss results or both. 

The research follows the FDA's preliminary review of a link between GLP-1s and a potential increased risk of suicide ideation. The agency said it has not found evidence but is continuing to investigate.

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