Semaglutide, a medication commonly used to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes, has been found to have a lower risk of suicidal thinking compared to other medications, according to a recent study. The medication works by targeting glucagon-like peptide 1 receptors (GLP1R) in the body, helping to regulate appetite and insulin levels.
The study was prompted by anecdotal reports of suicidal thoughts in patients prescribed semaglutide. To investigate this further, researchers analyzed electronic health records of over 240,000 obese or overweight patients and over 1.5 million patients with type 2 diabetes who were prescribed either semaglutide or other medications.
The results of the study revealed that patients prescribed semaglutide had a significantly lower risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts for the first time or recurring, compared to their counterparts on other medications. These findings contradict the claims made in anecdotal reports, suggesting that semaglutide does not increase the risk of suicidal thinking.
The study’s authors have emphasized the need for further evaluation of reported cases and have recommended future studies to explore potential associations between semaglutide and suicide attempts. The research, co-led by scientists at Case Western Reserve University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, was published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Medicine.
Funding for the study was provided by various institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Cancer Institute. The NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting medical research to investigate the causes, treatments, and cures for diseases.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the NIH, specializes in researching the health aspects of drug use and addiction. In addition to supporting studies on addiction, NIDA provides important resources for suicide prevention.
These findings offer valuable insights into the safety profile of semaglutide and provide reassurance to patients and healthcare professionals alike. Further research and collaboration between different organizations, such as the NIH and NIDA, will be crucial in advancing our understanding of the relationship between GLP1R-targeting medications like semaglutide and mental health outcomes.