Does Ozempic cause depression? Before you take any over-the-counter or prescription medication, it is important to fully explore the possible benefits and potential drawbacks of using the drug. In the case of Ozempic, this includes researching its physical effects as well as the impact that it may have on your mental health.
What Is Ozempic?
Before we answer the question, does Ozempic cause depression, let’s take a moment to discuss what this drug is and why people are using it. Here are a few fundamental facts about Ozempic:
- Ozempic is the brand name of a prescription medication that is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. The primary active ingredient in this drug is semaglutide.
- Ozempic earned approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2017. This approval authorized healthcare providers to use Ozempic to treat people who have Type-2 diabetes, which is also referred to as diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes.
- Ozempic is administered via injection, typically on a weekly basis. Its intended effects include lowering blood sugar levels and helping the pancreas produce insulin.
- Many people who took Ozempic for Type-2 diabetes lost weight while on the drug. This prompted physicians to begin prescribing it on an off-label basis as a weight-loss medication.
As we will discuss in greater detail in the next few sections, the increased use of Ozempic for weight loss purposes has been accompanied by news reports that investigated potentially serious side effects. Some of these reports focused on answering the question, does Ozempic cause depression?
Is Ozempic Dangerous?
Virtually every medication can cause negative side effects. Ozempic is no exception to this general rule.
According to Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic website, the most common side effects that people may experience when taking this medication include:
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting and diarrhea
The Ozempic site also reports that some people may be at risk for more serious physical side effects, such as:
- Thyroid tumors
- Thyroid cancer
- Kidney failure
- Gallbladder damage
- Hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar)
- Racing heart rate
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Severe skin rash
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
- Dizziness and loss of consciousness
Novo Nordisk advises patients to avoid Ozempic if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, are allergic to semaglutide, have a history of pancreas or kidney problems, or have a personal or family history of either medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
Does Ozempic Cause Depression?
In addition to the physical side effects that we listed in the previous section, does Ozempic cause depression or pose other mental health risks?
While there is no clear evidence that Ozempic causes depression, there are indicators that it may be linked with this an other mental health concerns. For example:
- In August 2023, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) revealed that it is investigating the possibility that Ozempic may increase a person’s risk of suicidal ideation and thoughts of self-harm.
- The EMA statement indicated that the organization is also looking into the likelihood that two other diabetes and weight-loss medications (Saxenda and Wegovy) may also have a similar effect on users’ mental health.
- An August 2023 NBC News article included anecdotal reports linking Ozempic with symptoms of depression as well as thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
- In July 2023, the news agency Reuters reported that Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was studying the potential negative mental health impact of Ozempic, Saxenda, Bydureon, and other medications that fall into the category of GLP-1 receptor agonists.
To summarize: Does Ozempic cause depression? At the time that this post was written, researchers had not established a definitive cause/effect relationship between Ozempic and any depressive disorders. However, the link between Ozempic and depression had not been conclusively ruled out, either.
What Are the Signs of Depression?
Depressive disorders are among the most common mental health conditions throughout the world.
Whether or not someone is taking Ozempic, it is important to be aware of the following signs, which could indicate that they have developed a depressive disorder:
- Overwhelming sadness
- Diminished energy and motivation
- Significant changes in appetite and sleep habits
- Unintentional weight gain or loss
- Unprovoked outbursts of anger or irritability
- Dramatic mood swings
- Loss of interest in events or activities that had previously been important to them
- Pulling away from family and friends
- Thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide
Important note: If you believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger of suicide, please get immediate help. If you are in the United States, you can contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 from any phone.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by trained professionals who can assess your needs (or those of your loved one) and connect you with appropriate resources in your area.
Begin Treatment for Depression in Atlanta, GA
Anyone who exhibits the signs and symptoms of a depressive disorder may be in crisis and could need professional help. Untreated depression can be devastating, but when a person receives appropriate care they can learn to manage their symptoms and achieve improved quality of life.
For adults in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, who have developed depression, Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry is here to help. Features of care at our depression treatment center include integrative therapies, dynamic programming, personalized services, and comprehensive personal support. The day you begin to receive treatment at Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry, you take an important step toward improved health and a more hopeful future.
To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our appointment page or call us today.