March 14, 2024

Ozempic: Is It Scarier Than We Thought?

by Science Vs

Background show artwork for Science Vs

We looked at this class of weight loss drugs a year ago, and they've only gotten more popular — and more controversial. We’re hearing that these kinds of drugs can be tough on your stomach, and that the weight loss comes with worrisome loss of muscle. We’ve also heard claims that they might increase your risk of suicide. So — should we be freaking out here?? We talk to endocrinologist Dr. Vibha Singhal, neuroscientist Dr. Nora Volkow, and gastroenterologist Dr. Michael Camilleri.  

This episode does deal with depression and suicidal thoughts. Here are some crisis hotlines: 

United States: US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Dial 988 (Online chat available); US Crisis Text Line Text “HOME” to 741741

Australia: Lifeline 13 11 14 (Online chat available)

Canada: Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (See link for phone numbers listed by province)

United Kingdom: Samaritans 116 123 (UK and ROI)

Full list of international hotlines here 

Find our transcript here: 


In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) What are the fears around these weight loss drugs? 

(04:46) Do these drugs melt your muscles?

(11:49) Do these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts? 

(16:15) Can they really paralyze your stomach?

(30:25) Some good news!

(33:36) How Did You Find the Bezoar?


This episode was produced by Rose Rimler, with help from Wendy Zukerman, Meryl Horn, Michelle Dang, and Joel Werner. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Erica Akiko Howard. Recording assistance from Selena Seay-Reynolds. Mix and sound design by Bobby Lord and Peter Leonard. Music written by Bumi Hidaka, Emma Munger, Peter Leonard, So Wylie and Bobby Lord. Thanks to all of the researchers we spoke to for this episode, including Dr. Kristen Beavers, Dr. Ellen Fallows, Dr. Joseph Henson, Dr. Dimitrios Papamargaritis, Prof. Roger McIntyre, Prof. Russ Waitman, Dr. Sahib Khalsa,, Dr. Travis Masterson, and Dr. Etienne Wang. Thanks also to Bryant Smith and Lori Segal. And special thanks to the listeners on these medications who checked back in with us.   

A special thanks to the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.

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