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The EMA studies the possible link between weight loss injections and “suicidal thoughts”

Drugs such as Ozempic or Saxenda are used to treat type 2 diabetes, but they have gone viral because their side effects, to a greater or lesser extent, include decreased appetite and weight loss. There are many celebrities who claim on social networks to use them to lose weight and they have also been in the news due to their shortage in pharmacies.

Now, these injections are in the crosshairs of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for very different reasons. The EMA’s safety committee, the PRAC, is reviewing the safety of the active ingredients of these injectables, the so-called GLP-1 analogues, after receiving notifications from the Icelandic Medicines Agency of patients who, using liraglutide medicines (present in Saxenda) and semaglutide (present in Ozempic), had had suicidal thoughts or had engaged in self-harm. 150 possible cases have been reported.

Specifically, the EMA began the review of the drugs Ozempic, Saxenda and Wegovy on July 3. Of these, only the last two – Saxenda, whose active ingredient is liraglutide, and Wegovy, whose active ingredient is semaglutide – are authorized by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of obesity and overweight, “along with diet and physical activity, in obese or overweight people in the presence of at least one weight-related health problem,” as this organization points out.

Meanwhile, other medications, also subject to this review because they contain semaglutide, liraglutide or other active ingredients analogous to GLP-1, such as Ozempic, Rybelsus, Victoza, Lyxumia, Trulicity and Byetta, are used to reduce sugar (glucose) levels. in blood and improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

So far, suicidal behavior is not listed as a side effect in the package insert for these medications. If the investigation initiated by the EMA, which is expected to end in November 2023, concludes that, indeed, suicidal ideation and self-harm are possible adverse effects of these medications, new recommendations will be issued for their use, as clarified by the OCU.