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Weight loss drugs linked to lower likelihood of depression and anxiety diagnoses: Study

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(NEW YORK) — Most weight loss drugs were linked to a lower likelihood of depression and anxiety diagnoses, according to research published by Epic Research.

The researchers looked at over three million diabetic patients and nearly one million non-diabetic patients taking GLP-1 medications, which is the class of drugs representing popular name brands such as Ozempic, Wegovy, Zepbound, and Mounjaro in the study that was published Tuesday.

Semaglutide is the active ingredient found in Ozempic, which is used for type 2 diabetes, and Wegovy, which is used for weight loss.

Diabetic patients taking Semaglutide were 45% less likely to be diagnosed with depression and 44% less likely to be diagnosed with anxiety, according to the study.

Tirzepatide is the active ingredient found in Mounjaro, which is used for type 2 diabetes, and Zepbound, which is used for weight loss.

Diabetic patients taking Tirzepatide were 65% less likely to be diagnosed with depression and 60% less likely to be diagnosed with anxiety, according to the study.

The drugs approved to treat type 2 diabetes may be prescribed “off-label” for weight loss.

“These results show that these medications may serve a dual purpose for patients, but we do not understand them well enough yet to say these medications should be given as a treatment for anxiety or depression outside of diabetes or weight management,” researcher Kersten Bartelt told ABC News.

These results come weeks after a preliminary review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that found no evidence linking weight loss drugs to suicidal thoughts.

The study used electronic patient records, meaning patients needed to be diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression — which may exclude those that had symptoms of the mental conditions but never received a diagnosis.

It remains unclear if the lower diagnoses of depression and anxiety were a direct result of the medications, weight loss in general, or a potential combination of both.

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