Ozempic, the happy drug? Study suggests weight-loss medications could reduce depression, anxiety

For millions of people using Ozempic and Wegovy. weight loss is the most well-known result, but new research suggests the drug may also help tame depression.

Researchers at Epic Research, a Verona, Wisconsin-based health analytics company, found that: diabetic patient People prescribed glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1) drugs were less likely to develop depression than those not taking the drugs.

GLP-1 drugs include semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy), tirzepatide (Mounjaro), dulaglutide (Trulicity), and exenatide (Byetta and Bydureon).

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“The likelihood of anxiety in patients with diabetes was lower in patients taking all five GLP-1 drugs studied,” the researchers wrote in a release on Epic’s website.

For people without diabetes, semaglutide was associated with a lower likelihood of depression and anxiety, whereas liraglutide had no statistically significant effect.

Ozempic and Wegovy’s best-known perk is weight loss, but new research suggests the drugs may also help reduce depression. (St. Petersburg)

This study analyzed GLP-1 drugs, mental health 3,081,254 diabetic and 929,174 nondiabetic diagnoses.

Dr. Brett Osborn, a Florida neurologist and founder of longevity company Senolitics, wasn’t surprised to hear the Epic Research findings.

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“The potential of Ozempic antidepressant effect “We’re seeing interest from both the scientific community and people who are looking for holistic ways to manage their mental health alongside their physical conditions,” he told FOX News Digital.

Weight loss often leads to improved mood and overall outlook for Osborn patients, he noted.


GLP-1 drugs include semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy), tirzepatide (Mounjaro), dulaglutide (Trulicity), and exenatide (Byetta and Bydureon). (Getty Images)

“Losing weight can have a significant impact on an individual’s self-esteem and overall mood, leading to a positive outlook on life,” the doctor said.

“The increased confidence that comes from achieving weight loss goals is transformative, reducing depression and increasing mental well-being.”

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Dr. Jennifer Bourgeois, PharmD, Dallas-based pharmacy; health experts A joint study with SingleCare, a prescription discount service, found that none of the companies producing GLP-1 drugs had studied their effects on depression in initial clinical trials.

“Currently, none of the GLP-1 drugs used to improve blood sugar control or chronic weight management in adults with type 2 diabetes claim to suppress depression or anxiety,” she told Fox News. told Digital.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, experts say.

uplifts physical and mental mood

Previous studies have shown that Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs have antidepressant-like effects in type 2 diabetic mice, suggesting that the drugs directly affect brain chemistry and connectivity. Osborn said it suggests giving.

“This is thought to be due to GLP-1’s influence on the release of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin in a deep brain region known as the hypothalamus,” Osborn said.

men's health food

Weight loss often leads people to adopt healthier lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise and improved dietary choices, experts noted. (St. Petersburg)

GLP-1 drugs also modulate the release of dopamine in the amygdala, the brain’s “emotional center,” which is involved in regulating mood, Osborn said.

While Dr. Bourgeois agrees that these medications can affect mood through changes in the brain, the reason depression and anxiety are likely to be reduced is due to mental and physical He said that it is important to be positive. Health effects of weight loss.

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Weight loss caused by GLP-1 drugs causes biological changes that positively impact mood regulation, Bourgeois said.

“Reducing excess adipose tissue (body fat) reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines, leading to a reduction in systemic inflammation,” she said.

“Research shows that chronic inflammation can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, as well as gut bacteria, potentially causing mood imbalances.”


A pharmacist holds a box of Eli Lilly & Co.’s Maunjaro brand tirzepatide medication at a pharmacy on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, in Provo, Utah. (Getty Images)

Improved self-esteem and body image can also keep depression and anxiety in check, leading to an overall more positive outlook, Bourgeois noted.

“People who achieve weight loss with GLP-1 receptor agonists may experience a sense of accomplishment and confidence, which can have a positive impact on their mental health,” she said.


There can also be a “trickle-down” effect, and weight loss often leads people to this diet. healthier lifestyle habits — including regular exercise and improved dietary choices, experts said.

“These lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on mental health,” she says.

female weight scale

Experts say the improvements in self-esteem and body image that come with weight loss may also reduce depression and anxiety. (St. Petersburg)

“Physical activity is known to stimulate the release of endorphins, which promote feelings of happiness and euphoria. nutritious diet It can provide essential vitamins and minerals that support brain function and mood regulation. ”

Further research required

While Epic’s data are “promising,” “further research is needed to determine whether the drug itself is responsible for the reduction in depression and anxiety diagnoses,” Bourgeois said.

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“Other factors such as physical activity, diet, and sleep are not controlled and may contribute to the mood-altering effects.”

Osborne added: “I’m not saying Ozempic is a first-line treatment for depression, but it does highlight the interconnectedness of physical and mental health.”

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