A lady who smoked as much as a pack of cigarettes a day discovered them 'disgusting' when she began taking Ozempic. Now she hasn't smoked in 6 months.

  • Ashlee Wright went on Ozempic six months in the past to handle her insulin resistance and different points.
  • The mother of 4 additionally unexpectedly give up smoking since Ozempic made cigarettes style “disgusting.” 
  • Researchers are learning how GLP-1 receptor agonists might be repurposed for preventing addictions. 

Ashlee Wright has 4 boys underneath age 16, a house, a husband, and a demanding job as a mining coordinator in Utah. Generally, she wants a break; and for years, smoking cigarettes supplied it. 

“Smoking can be type of my ‘day out’ at dwelling,” mentioned Wright, 35, who smoked between a half pack and a pack a day, normally on her porch. 

Then about six months in the past, Wright began taking Ozempic, a type of semaglutide used to deal with diabetes and more and more prescribed off-label for weight reduction.

Wright mentioned she and her physician determined to attempt it off-label to handle her insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and cut back her heart-disease danger. The potential for weight-loss was interesting, too 

Wright says the drug, which she pays for out-of-pocket, lowered her blood strain and ldl cholesterol, lightened her intervals, and led to her dropping 45 kilos. It additionally got here with an surprising facet impact: She could not end a single cigarette. “I give up smoking inside a number of weeks as a result of each time I smoked, it was simply disgusting,” Wright mentioned. 

Wright turned to nicotine gum to handle withdrawals and ice cubes for a tactile substitute. She’s additionally provide you with video games that problem her youngsters to bike to the park to offer her a break. “I needed to discover artistic methods to have a little bit reset as a substitute of going out on the porch and hiding,” she mentioned.

Others have reported related experiences. “I used to be a causal smoker years! Nevertheless as soon as I moved to the upper dosage of Ozempic, I had zero urge to smoke and really have not smoked in 9 months,” one poster wrote on Reddit. 

Medical doctors and scientists aren’t shocked. GLP-1 receptor agonists, the category of medication semaglutide belongs to, are recognized to boring the need for extremely rewarding substances, be it extremely processed meals, alcohol, or cocaine. Nicotine appears to be no completely different: Research have proven that the medication cut back nicotine consumption in rats. 

Whereas extra analysis must be achieved in people, College of Pennsylvania neuropharmacologist Heath Schmidt instructed Insider he would not be shocked if a configuration of semaglutide is authorized to deal with substance use problems inside about 5 years.  

person injecting semaglutide into their belly

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Semaglutide might be preventing towards smoking on 3 fronts 

Researchers say there are a number of methods GLP-1 receptor agonists could also be disrupting the need to smoke. For Wright, it is the style. Now cigarettes are “tremendous, tremendous bitter,” she mentioned.

Different folks on the drug beforehand instructed Insider additionally they discovered their style buds modified, making french fries style like “metallic chunks” and doughnuts style “bitter.” 

This impact might be associated to the truth that each style cells and the nerve fibers woven by them launch GLP-1, the hormone that semaglutide mimics, Lynnette McCluskey, a neuroscience professor at Augusta College who research style regeneration, beforehand instructed Insider. 

“So that you’re actually messing with the indicators which might be going to the mind, telling you what is in your mouth,” McCluskey mentioned. “When you begin messing with all these indicators — and it could be completely different from each day, or if you took the drug — you actually have a number of potential for dysgeusia, or style distortions.” 

Semaglutide additionally tends to make folks nauseous, and an excessive amount of nicotine can have the identical impact, mentioned College of Pennsylvania psychiatry professor Matt Hayes. So it follows {that a} people who smoke on the drug comparatively effortlessly grow to be nonsmokers as to not exacerbate an already queasy abdomen. 

After which there’s the way in which semaglutide appears work within the mind’s reward system to suppress some “extremely motivated” behaviors, like cigarette smoking. 

“This identical system that regulates consumption of meals, medication of abuse, hijacks this technique too,” Schmidt mentioned. “So it appeared like a pure speculation to say, ‘If we have interaction the GLP-1 system, we are able to cut back drug taking and looking for behaviors as effectively.’” 

Ashlee Wright before Ozempic

Ashlee Wright (left) a couple of yr in the past, earlier than she began taking Ozempic.

Courtesy of Ashlee Wright



The drug may assist stop weight acquire when people who smoke give up  

GLP-1 receptor agonists might be an particularly “pure match” for people who smoke who wish to give up, Schmidt mentioned, since they buffer towards one factor that may preserve folks puffing: Concern of weight acquire. 

He and colleagues just lately discovered that liraglutide, a sister of semaglutide, not solely lowered rats’ curiosity in nicotine and chance of “relapsing” after they had been addicted, but it surely additionally helped stop weight acquire and extreme consuming throughout withdrawal.

However extra analysis must be achieved earlier than semaglutide can authorized and marketed for smoking cessation. Researchers on the College of North Carolina are recruiting people who smoke for such a examine now. 

And if a semaglutide-like drug does hit the market, it is going to probably be simplest used along side different smoking cessation strategies like nicotine patches or gum, Hayes instructed Insider. 

The most important problem for the sector, Hayes mentioned, “goes to be getting the insurance coverage firms to say, ‘OK,we’re gonna reimburse this.” 

A woman in a white shirt breaking a cigarette in half

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Researchers are learning different addictions semaglutide might assist beat 

Hayes mentioned he suspects scientists will finally work out which varieties of addictions are finest handled with which varieties of GLP-1 receptor agonists. 

“I would not be shocked if we begin to discover that that is actually good for cocaine and nicotine, it is OK for substance X, Y, or Z, however this different one, we have to preserve engaged on one thing else,” mentioned Hayes. The extra they find out about that reward system, “the extra we’re discovering the satan’s within the particulars,” he added. 

However the class of medication is especially thrilling to researchers largely as a result of it does not appear to work by suppressing all motivation, however simply by dulling the need for synthetic rewards. On-line, folks report dropping curiosity in porn, for instance, however analysis suggests there isn’t any lack of curiosity in intercourse. “It is not ubiquitous in its nature of suppressing pleasure,” Hayes mentioned. 

Plus, the negative effects — albeit generally extraordinarily uncomfortable — do not appear to have an effect on the center or different important organs in life-threatening methods. 

“This kind of drug is that this present that retains on giving,” Hayes mentioned. 


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