There is growing concern among American doctors that Ozempic and similar weight loss drugs may be linked to suicide.
European regulators launched an investigation this week after three patients in Iceland reported suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm.
And now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has received at least 60 reports of suicidal thoughts in patients taking the weight-loss drug or its sister drug Wegovi.
More than 5 million prescriptions for weight loss drugs were written in the United States in 2022 alone, and it is feared that many more cases go unreported.
A Reddit group for drug users shows how dozens of patients suffering from depression after receiving weekly injections say they feel ’empty’ and ‘rarely do anything make me happy’.
Another poignant post came from Canadian user Ozempic, which read: ‘I never understood why someone would commit suicide, now I do. I’m not on my third week of injections but I can still feel the side effects.’
Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic, says in its warning leaflet that patients on the drug may also experience suicidal thoughts.
In 2022, more than 5 million prescriptions were written for Ozempic, Mounjaro, Rybelsus, or Wegovy for weight management, compared to just 230,000 in 2019. That marked an increase of more than 2,000 percent, according to market research firm Comodo Health
The figure above shows two patients who developed mood swings while taking similar medications using ozempic or semglutide. The patient on the left said she felt ‘s***’ three weeks after taking the drug while the patient on the right said: ‘Sometimes being skinny isn’t something to be sad about’
Users have also taken to TikTok to warn others about weight loss drugs, saying they struggle with low mood and anxiety.
One user on Wegovi said it made their anxiety ‘level 1,000’.
‘It stops at the end of the week, right when I start taking my other shot, and then I take my shot, and then it’s happening again,’ they explained.
Dr. Florence Committ, an endocrinologist in New York City, said patients taking weight-loss drugs are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.
Novo Nordisk acknowledges that suicidal thoughts can be a rare side effect of the drug and says patients should be monitored and the drug discontinued if it occurs.
Doctors aren’t sure how the drugs interact with mood, but theories suggest it may be linked to low blood sugar due to lack of food, which can raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing anxiety.
Others have also suggested that the drug can trigger negative emotions by taking away the enjoyment from food. Last month, a scientist who helped develop the drugs said they made life ‘miserably boring’.
A spokesperson for Novo Nordisk told DailyMail.com that patient safety is a ‘top priority’ and that all reports of suicidal thoughts are taken ‘very seriously’.
Writing in the Reddit group on ozempic and suicidal thoughts, one US-based user – who goes by the name mmsantiago68 – said: ‘I wanted to thank you because you perfectly describe how I feel about this. hollow
‘I’m in my second month and will try to carry on but today I felt extra bad, and wanted to see if anyone else had experienced this. I hope you are doing better.’
Another user in Canada – who used the handle boobies – said: ‘Yes, I had to leave it because it was unbearable.
‘I never understood why someone would commit suicide, now I do. I’m not on my third week of injections but I can still feel the side effects.’
And a third — using the name drBiGi who appears to be based in Europe — said: ‘Since Ozempic (now at 0.5mg)… hardly anything makes me happy.
‘I [was] A highly dopaminergic person, always striving for more — the good life, good food, alcohol, women, etc.’
TikTok users have also expressed concerns about drugs.
A New York City patient, who uses the handle thereselee6, said she only lasted three weeks on Ozempi because it made her feel like ‘s***.’
‘With weekly injections, you feel like s*** for five or six days,’ she said, ‘and then on the sixth night right before the seventh day, you’re like, “Oh, I start feeling OK”. But then, boop, time for the shot.’
She said the side effects of the medication, such as vomiting and feeling sick, were leaving her feeling horrible.
A second US-based user – who goes by the name whit.toks on TikTok – said the drug took so much away from his anxiety that he gave up the drug, quipping: ‘Sometimes being skinny isn’t the same as being sad’.
Another patient in the US said: ‘I’m giving up Wegovi because… since the first time I had my first Wegovi shot, my anxiety has gone up to 1,000 levels.’
Dr. Florence Committ, an endocrinologist at the Committ Center for Precision Medicine and Health in New York City, said patients taking weight-loss drugs can experience suicidal thoughts and depression — though she hasn’t seen it in hundreds of patients. He prescribed the medicines.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘There is no direct line between hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar – and depression.
‘But when your sugar is low you can experience symptoms such as fatigue, lightheadedness and generally not feeling well.
‘And if life doesn’t treat you well, you can start to think: “Is it worth doing?”.’
Shown above is a package of Wegovy. Taken as a weekly injection, it is in short supply in the United States for its potential to help with weight loss
A UK study found that people who used Wegovi lost weight faster, losing 18% of their weight over 68 weeks. After eliminating the weekly injections they regained two-thirds of that weight, or 12% of their original body weight. Experts say the drug needs to be used for life to keep the pounds off
Asked whether disruption to comfort eating can also lead to mood swings, she says: ‘If you’re used to going to comfort food, but now you don’t want to eat, it can undermine your sense of well-being and make you feel tired. . out
Dr Committ, who has taken weight loss drugs in the past, said: ‘It was amazing. I couldn’t believe the effect on my brain and GI tract and as such, I wasn’t hungry, I had no desire and no interest. [in eating].’
Dr. Commit has prescribed Ozempic, Wegovi and other weight-loss drugs to hundreds of patients over the years — Ozempic first became available for diabetics in 2017 while Wegovi was approved in June 2021.
He told DailyMail.com that none of these patients had developed suicidal thoughts or concerns, but all were screened before medication to ensure mental health issues were closely monitored.
Ozempic and Saxenda work by mimicking hormones in the body that make people feel full, suppressing appetite.
They can also slow stomach emptying, ensuring more food for longer.
The drugs have taken America by storm, with prescriptions for Ozempic and Wegovy — which both use the drug semaglutide — rising 2,000 percent since 2019. An estimated 5 million prescriptions were written for Ozempic and similar drugs in 2022.
Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Saxenda, already notes suicidal thoughts as a potential side effect of the drug.
It wrote in the warning: ‘Suicidal behavior and ideation have been reported in clinical trials with other weight management products.
‘Observe patients for depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.
‘Discontinue Wegovi in patients experiencing suicidal thoughts or behavior and with a history of suicidal attempts or active suicidal ideation.’
Their clinical trials excluded patients with depression or recent suicidal thoughts because of concerns about how the drug might affect them.
Doctors are warned to think twice before prescribing drugs for depressed patients or those experiencing suicidal thoughts — but that warning may be ignored as drugs are handed out liberally in America.
The FDA says there have been at least 60 reports of suicidal thoughts in patients on drugs that use semaglutide — including Ozempic, Wegovi and Rybelsus.
The reports come from the Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), which was used during the Covid pandemic to alert scientists to rare side effects of the vaccine, such as blood clots.
Cases were self-reported and not verified by the agency. They were reported from 2018, the year after Ozempic was approved for weight loss in the United States.
The FDA said it has received at least 70 such reports since 2010 for sexander patients using liraglutide.
A link to depression and suicidal thoughts caused by Ozempic could be serious for the company.
The European Medicines Agency was revealed yesterday to investigate the risk of weight loss treatment triggering suicide or self-harm.
A safety committee is looking into adverse events raised by the Icelandic Medicines Agency, Reuters reported.
Two cases were associated with suicidal thoughts, one patient using Ozempic and the other using Sexenda, while one case in a Saxenda patient was associated with thoughts of self-harm.
Novo Nordisk said at the time that patient safety was a ‘top priority’ and that it took all reports of adverse events very seriously.
Sanofi’s Acomplia, another weight loss drug, was recalled in Europe in 2008 after being linked to suicidal thoughts.
Penny Ward, a visiting professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London and an expert on EU drug safety monitoring, said the most likely result of the investigation would be to carry warnings about the possible direction of drug labeling changes in the EU. Effects of suicidal thoughts.
Another drug safety expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the small size of Iceland’s population meant regulators could consider only a few adverse events a significant proportion and worthy of investigation.
A spokesperson for Novo Nordisk said: ‘Patient safety is a top priority for Novo Nordisk, and we take all reports of adverse events from the use of our medicines very seriously.
‘GLP-1 receptor agonists have been used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes for over 15 years and for the treatment of obesity for 8 years, with Novo Nordisk products such as semaglutide and liraglutide on the market for over 10 years.
‘In the US, the FDA requires drugs for chronic weight management that act on the central nervous system, including Wegovi and Suxenda, to carry warnings about suicidal behavior and thoughts.
‘This phenomenon has been reported in clinical trials with other weight management products.’