New Weight Loss Drugs Like Ozempic Have This Surprising Side Effect

5 things we know about weight loss medications and addiction

It's no secret that certain diabetes medications are effective in helping people eat less and lose weight, but what else do these drugs do? Some users of the popular diabetes drug, Ozempic have been noticing a surprising side effect. 

An increasing number of people who use these injections to help control their food cravings say that other cravings disappear as well (1). 

Here's what else we know: 

1. Some Ozempic users have reported a decrease in cravings for substances like nicotine, alcohol, and gambling

Other compulsive behaviors, including but not limited to like skin picking also made the list. Ozempic users have changed the way researchers look at and study the drug, since the anecdotal evidence has been abundant. Now researchers are asking the question: can Ozempic and similar weight-loss drugs serve as a basis for anti-addiction treatments? 

2. these weight loss drugs weaken the brain's association between food and pleasure

Drugs like Ozempic target the hormone that tells the body when it's full, while weakening the brain's association between food and pleasure. These mechanisms are not fully understood yet. Ozempic is one of the brand names for the drug semaglutide, and seems to use similar brain pathways as addiction, whether it's linked to drugs or alcohol. Animal studies suggest these types of drugs can help treat it. 

3. Researchers set out to conduct human studies on Drug's ability to treat drug & alcohol addiction 

For the time being, human trials are scarce. Companies like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, both developers of weight loss drugs are not currently running or planning trials to investigate the treatment of addiction. That's why other addiction researchers have decided to directly test whether these drugs, and newer generations of them, will safely and effectively treat drug and alcohol addiction, just like the drugs have done for weight loss. As part of these studies, researchers also want to investigate ways to aid scientists in discovering whether or not the drugs affect the brain, and in what ways. 

4. The drug Releases a Hormone that lowers dopamine levels and makes food less pleasurable

Dopamine, often called the "feel-good" hormone, also plays a major role in addiction. When someone takes Ozempic, the pancreas releases a hormone called a glucogonlike peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is normally produced in response to food. As GLP-1 levels increase, the body, realizing it has had enough to eat, reduces its hunger cravings. People who are overweight or have diabetes can have disrupted levels of GLP-1, and as a result, the body consumes more than it needs instead of realizing that it is full. Raising these hormone levels the correct hormone balance can restored, though the effects of semaglutide and similar GLP-1 drugs seem to end if people stop taking the drug. 

5. semaglutide might be too good at dampening pleasure and reward pathways

That's one of the major concerns of weight loss drugs like semaglutide—that these drugs are too good at making things less pleasurable. Animal studies so far suggest that GLP-1 agonists don't affect overall mood, but further research is needed to determine if they work differently for people who already have mood disorders. Since Ozempic and similar drugs are so widely popular, even a rare side effect could affect a large number of people. 

While Ozempic and other weight loss related drugs may be effective in treating addiction, there's not enough substantial evidence that these would help treat drug and alcohol addiction. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved them for this purpose yet, and it will be some time before some of the trials that would support using these medications off-label are in place. 

Know what's on your own "food" label

You are not a food label or a prescription bottle, but you are made up of unique parts that make you who we are, and knowing those parts can help you stay equipped for life's challenges. There are many genes and health reports that can help inform about your health-related strengths and vulnerabilities

Want to find out what your genes say about you?

If you're already a CRI Genetics customer and want to jump straight to these reports, the links are listed below:

Keep in mind, there are different categories of reports, and you must have purchased a report or report category in order to view it, which depends on the package that you bought. 

🍩 Food Cravings  

⚖️ Fat Diet & Weight Loss

🏋️ Overall BMI 

🍬 Sweet Tooth 

😕 Weight Gain Factors

😈 Impulse Control 

🍟 Salt Sensitivity (Blood Pressure) 

💉 Insulin Resistance Risk

For more information concerning DNA testing and how to select the best form of testing for your needs, click HERE. 

There is a treasure trove of information waiting to be uncovered.