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Ozempic could be an accidental treatment for addiction: report

Health

May 23, 2023 | 1:26 PM


Wonder drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, which have recently exploded in popularity for their incredible weight-loss side effects, can also quiet the addictive nature of a person’s mind, experts say.

Patients who have taken these type 2 diabetes treatments with semaglutide have confessed to controlling their impulses especially when it comes to buying and eating junk food.

Last year, many on semaglutide drugs reported having fewer cravings for fast foods like Chick-fil-A and caffeine-filled coffee.

Such is the case for Victoria Rutledge, who told The Atlantic she often left $500 organic groceries rotting in her refrigerator and preferred to snack on hastily purchased sweets from Target.

I couldn’t stop going to that extreme, she said.

But after starting Wegovy treatment, she no longer felt such urges, particularly with impulse buying.


Drugs like Ozempic can also reduce addiction in people.
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I’ve never done that before, Rutledge said.

Obesity medicine specialist Shauna Levy of Tulane University has also observed this tendency in her patients, but not just to suppress their appetites.

I’ve noticed that people want to drink less alcohol. I’ve also noticed a decrease in binge eating behavior, she told the Daily Mail.

Tar Heel scientists at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill are currently researching whether drugs like these can suppress the urge to drink and smoke as well.

Specifically, these drugs act as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which regulates hunger by communicating with the brain to produce certain levels of insulin and lower blood sugar.


Drugs like Ozempic have shown the potential to work on other health issues like addiction.
AFP via Getty Images

GLP-1 receptor [medications] decrease the reward the brain experiences from addictive behaviors such as eating, drinking, smoking, shopping, etc., Levy added.

It was a really interesting discovery. These drugs can treat so many different problems that we need to do more research to understand the mechanism.

Research prior to 2021 on the subject has shown a potential downside of the drugs; people who have taken drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy are immediately derailed when they seize the use of the drugs.


People who stopped using semaglutide medications often saw the negative impacts right away.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Wegovy users commonly regained two-thirds of their lost weight and appetite returned with a vengeance.

When you’re at that peak weight loss, your body hunger hormones are at their highest, Dr. Holly Lofton, director of the weight management program at NYU Langone Health, told NBC.

So if you lose 50 pounds and regain 25, your hunger is greatest when you’ve lost the 50. And even when you regain the 25, it doesn’t go back to baseline; your hunger is higher than before losing weight.




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