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More Studies Show Positive Impacts From GLP-1 Agonist Drugs

National Geographic has joined the chorus of media outlets singing the praises of GLP-1 agonist drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro. Last week, science writer Rachel Fairbank bylined a story about unexpected results experienced by patients prescribed GLP-1 agonist drugs and new studies that continue to amaze healthcare researchers.

Fairbank reports on a clinical trial examining “the potential of GLP-1 agonists as a treatment for smoking addiction.” She interviews a 55-year-old woman who successfully broke a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit during that trial. The results were “totally opposite” of her previous attempts to quit which had caused anxiety and cravings. This time, she was calm.

In another study of GLP-1 drugs combined with nicotine patches, the percentage of people successfully quitting was nearly double with the GLP-1 group over the placebo group. One factor participants cited was that they didn’t experience weight gain as they previously had when quitting smoking.

Fairbank also points to a recent study written up in the New England Journal of Medicine on the use of semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist, for the treatment of heart failure in people with obesity. Doctors randomly assigned 529 patients to 2.4 mg of semaglutide or a placebo, once a week for 52 weeks. Weight loss for those receiving the semaglutide averaged 13.3% of body weight. For the placebo group, weight loss was 2.6% of body weight.

One measure of cardiac capability is the distance covered in a six-minute walk. Patients on semaglutide improved by 21.5 meters and the placebo group by 1.2 meters. Another measure is the C-reactive protein level, which improved by 43.7% in the semaglutide patients and by 7.3% in the placebo group. The study contains a cautionary note:

Serious adverse events were reported in 35 participants (13.3%) in the semaglutide group and 71 (26.7%) in the placebo group.

Fairbank quotes Cleveland Clinic cardiologist, Amanda Vest, that GLP-1 agonists are “cardioprotective and reduce inflammation.” The reduction of inflammation has been noted in a number of studies using GLP-1 agonists to treat severe kidney disease. One doctor noted, “They have a profound anti-inflammatory effect. Our field is really under-recognizing the importance of inflammation, particularly in kidney damage caused by diabetes.”

The National Geographic article looks at “Ozempic baby” syndrome, which is being well-covered by our own Tatyana Meshcheryakova at our sister site, Childhood Obesity News. In her latest post, Meshcheryakova explains how weight loss can lead to increased fertility and how the interaction between GLP-1 agonist drugs and birth control is largely unknown.

Unfortunately, there was nothing in the National Geographic survey about GLP-1 agonist drugs and substance use disorder. We’re interested in everything we can learn about that here at AddictionNews, where we have reported on studies that show promise in the use of liraglutide and other GLP-1 agonist drugs in the treatment of opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.

Written by Steve O’Keefe. First published April 22, 2024.


“The unexpected health benefits of Ozempic and Mounjaro,” National Geographic, April 18, 2024.

“Semaglutide in Patients with Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction and Obesity,” New England Journal of Medicine, August 25, 2023.

“Understanding the ‘Ozempic Baby’ Phenomenon,” Childhood Obesity News, April 17, 2024.

Image Copyright: ciklocentar used under Creative Commons license.


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