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GLP-1s

Does Wegovy cause anxiety and depression?

Robbie Puddick
Written by

Robbie Puddick

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

4 min read
Last updated June 2024
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Jump to: Obesity and mental health | Take home message | Second Nature’s medication programmes

Based on analyses of real-world data investigating the link between Wegovy and mental health, Wegovy doesn’t appear to cause an increase in the risk of developing anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, or other mental health conditions.

The study analysed data from the European Medicines Agency, where it investigated over 30,000 patients on GLP-1 medications like semaglutide to determine how many adverse psychiatric events were recorded while on the drugs.

The results showed that just 1.18% of patient records showed an adverse psychiatric event – like a diagnosis of depression – while taking the drugs.

Interestingly, this is lower than the prevalence of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression in the UK general population.

Data from the mental health charity Mind suggests that around 6% of people in the UK are living with anxiety, while around 3% are living with depression.

Similarly, a randomised controlled trial in over 1,900 participants investigating the impact of semaglutide (Wegovy) on weight loss suggested that the prevalence of adverse psychiatric events was lower in those on semaglutide compared to placebo.

The results showed that 9.5% of participants on semaglutide reported an adverse psychiatric event compared to 12.7% in the placebo group (not taking semaglutide).

Additionally, some researchers are investigating the potential role of GLP-1 medications like semaglutide as a possible treatment for depression and other psychiatric disorders.

GLP-1 medications have several effects that may be beneficial in treating depression, such as lowering inflammation through reduced fat cell size, lowering blood sugar levels, and potential properties that benefit brain function and health.

In sum, there’s no clear evidence that semaglutide and other GLP-1 medications cause or increase the risk of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Some individuals may react differently to Wegovy and experience higher levels of anxiety or other symptoms related to depression or other mental health conditions. However, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule.

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Obesity and mental health

Much of the media attention related to the link between GLP-1 medications and mental health came from anecdotal reports from people who noticed an increase in anxiety or depressive symptoms after taking the drug.

However, it’s well established that people living with obesity already have an increased risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

The relationship between obesity and mental health is believed to be bi-directional, which means that poor mental health and psychological trauma can cause obesity, and obesity can contribute to the development of low mood and mental health conditions.

People living with obesity would be defined as a ‘high-risk’ group. Some individuals may experience a decline in their mental health while taking Wegovy, which is completely unrelated to the medication.

Still, it’s entirely plausible that some people will experience an adverse effect on their mental health after taking Wegovy or other GLP-1 medications. But again, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule.

Take home message

The findings from the large-scale analyses of real-world data and clinical trials provide compelling evidence that Wegovy (semaglutide) doesn’t increase the risk of developing adverse psychiatric events or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.

On the contrary, the data suggest a potential protective effect against the development of specific psychiatric disorders, and GLP-1s are actively being investigated for their potential role in the treatment of depression.

We believe there’s no point in taking medications without changing habits

Weight-loss injections are designed as additional tools for healthy lifestyle change and shouldn’t be considered lifelong medications.

Instead, they should be used to help you kickstart your weight-loss journey whilst you focus on building new, healthy habits.

Consider the use of antidepressants for people living with depression. They’re not designed to cure the condition. Instead, they’re designed to allow room for therapy to treat the condition’s underlying cause.

Mounjaro and Wegovy are similar. These medications can help silence food-related thoughts and also give you a boost of confidence with more immediate weight-loss results.

This helps to buy you the time and headspace to understand why your body may have struggled to lose weight previously, and to build new long-term healthy habits.

The core focus of our medication programmes is to calm down the feeling of food noise, lower your cravings, and allow you to build healthier habits to keep the weight off for good.

The ultimate goal is to make losing weight feel second nature.

Second Nature’s medication programmes

Second Nature has two medication-supported programmes: a Wegovy weight-loss programme and a Mounjaro weight-loss programme.

If you’ve decided to try Wegovy or Mounjaro (assuming you’re eligible), why should you choose Second Nature over other medication providers?

For peace of mind.

Second Nature has worked with the NHS for over 6 years providing weight-loss programmes across the UK.

While our Wegovy and Mounjaro weight-loss programmes are private and not currently used by the NHS, we’ve built the programmes with a focus on scientific evidence, patient safety, and data security.

We hope that our 6+ years of working with the NHS and building a track record of effective weight-loss results will give you peace of mind to give us a try.

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