Patients taking the successful weight-loss drug Wegovy are reporting an unusual added benefit that they are free from other addictions that used to rule their lives.
Users across the country say their cravings for cigarettes and alcohol became less intense when they started taking the weight-loss shot. Others say that bad habits like nail biting, skin picking and compulsive shopping have also disappeared.
The drug helps people lose weight by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which curbs hunger and slows the rate at which a person’s stomach empties, leaving them fuller for longer.
But experts say it may also smooth out the brain’s dopamine reward pathway, reducing the chemical hit and thus the “feel good” element of giving in to unhealthy cravings.
Some researchers are thrilled that they have accidentally stumbled upon an anti-addiction drug. It is estimated that one in 60 US adults have a prescription for Wegovy, Ozempic or Mounjaro.
Henry Webb, of North Carolina, finished a two-month course of Wegovy after hitting his goal weight. In the past, he always had a couple of drinks in the evening, but he said: “With the meds I didn’t feel like it”
Wegovy was originally developed for type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar
Henry Webb, of North Carolina, finished a two month Wegovy courseafter you’ve reached your goal weight.
In the past, he always had a couple of drinks in the evening, but he said: “With the meds, I didn’t feel like it.”
She added, “This could be a game changer for people struggling with addiction.”
Jim Melloan, of New York, She said he had a “total aversion to alcohol” for drugs, which barely affected his weight.
He said, ‘I didn’t sign up for that. I’ve been there for almost four months and I’m out. I want to be able to drink together again.”
Ashley, from Texas, who takes Mounjaro, another diabetes drug expected to be approved for weight loss in the US, said she has noticed she has stopped picking her nails as a nervous habit.
She She said: ‘I took some biotin [vitamin B] when I first started and my nails have literally never looked better. There is definitely something to be done.’
Dr. Shauna Levy, an obesity medicine specialist at Tulane University, New Orleans, told DailyMail.com: ‘I’ve noticed that people want to drink less alcohol. I’ve also noticed a decrease in binge eating behavior. of the GLP-1 receptor reduce the reward that the brain perceives from addictive behaviors such as eating, drinking, smoking, shopping, etc.
‘It was a really interesting discovery. These drugs can treat so many different problems.’
He added: “We need to do more research to understand the mechanism.”
Victoria Rutledge was addicted to alcohol. When she got sober in her early 30s, she was consumed with food and shopping instead.
She spent $500 on organic groceries, but then left them to go moldy in her fridge.
He told The Atlantic, “I couldn’t stop going to that extreme.”
When shopping at Target, she couldn’t help but add dozens of extra items to her cart.
Earlier this year, Ms. Rutledge started taking Wegovy for weight loss and found herself thinking less about food and losing weight.
She also made trips to Target and only walked away with the items she intended to buy.
“I’ve never done that before,” she said. Her cravings for shopping and food had magically vanished.
In 2022, more than 5 million prescriptions were written for Ozempic, Mounjaro, Rybelsus or Wegovy for weight management, up from just over 230,000 in 2019. This marks an increase of more than 2,000%, according to the research firm market Komodo Health
A UK study found that people who used Wegovy experienced rapid weight loss, losing 18% of their weight in 68 weeks. They regained two-thirds of that weight, or 12% of their original body weight in the year after stopping the weekly injections. Experts say that the drug must be used for life to keep the extra pounds off
Another patient, Mary Maher, obsessively picked at the skin on her back and it bled so badly that she avoided wearing white.
Two months after taking Wegovy, the urge to harvest had disappeared and her back had healed and she had also stopped biting her nails.
Clinical trials are underway at the University of North Carolina to see if semaglutide can help people quit drinking and smoking.
Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, mimics glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone in the brain that prompts the body to make more insulin and lower blood sugar levels, regulating appetite.
Originally created for diabetes, semaglutide stimulates the pancreas to release insulin by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).
The hormone also curbs hunger and slows the rate at which a person’s stomach empties, causing them to lose weight.
It also appears to affect the brain. GLP-1 affects dopamine pathways in the brain, the reward pathway that is key to addictions.
Things like food and sex release dopamine in the brain, and the positive feeling we experience motivates us to repeat the behaviors.
In drug addicts, this mechanism can change. They may have fewer dopamine receptors in the brain, meaning the same reward may provide less pleasure.
Other types of GLP-1, such as exenatide, also used to treat diabetes, have shown results in reducing addictions.
Mice that took a form of exenatide got less dopamine from alcohol, and mice that took the drug craved less cocaine.
The researchers said they expect many studies with semaglutide showing positive results to be published soon.
The long-term effects of semaglutide are still unknown.
Dr. Christopher McGowan, a North Carolina-based weight loss expert, told DailyMail.com that using the weight-loss drug is a “lifelong commitment.”
One study found that patients gained two-thirds of the weight they lost on the drugs within months of stopping them, and most would have to keep taking the injections forever to maintain the results.
Users of the drug have also found that they experience rapid muscle loss, tending to lose more muscle than fat while taking the drug.
Other people reported feelingdisgusted by their favorite foods and some items they never gave a second thought to.
Staci Rice, 40, from Georgia, lost nearly 50 pounds when she joined Ozempic and can now fit into the jeans she last wore 16 years ago.
But the marketer was also surprised to find that he had developed an aversion to ground beef and Chick-fil-A while under the influence of the drug.
The ground beef has now been pulled from dinner parties, to the frustration of her husband and son, she told Insider. And now she’s also eating Chick-fil-A coleslaw instead of her standard “Number 1” her.
She was also a lifelong coffee drinker, drinking a cup every day since seventh grade. But now, she can’t touch it.
“Every morning, I would try to make coffee, thinking that one day it would be good for me again,” Ms. Rice said.
Patients also face sagging skin, doctors warn, which has been dubbed “Ozempic’s face” and “Ozempic’s body.”
It is caused by rapid weight loss that occurs so quickly that the skin does not have time to adjust to the new body size. As a result, it hangs in folds.
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