The New Drugs and Unforeseen Consequences, Continued

Death and drinking are two more areas that interact with GLP-1 drugs and their cousins. This article by Tyler Durden is very thorough about what happened and when, in the history of tracking a particular problem. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which catalogs adverse event reports, recently analyzed a lot of data and found…

[…] 6,253 serious adverse reports, including 163 deaths, tied to Ozempic since 2018. Wegovy has been linked to over 460 serious cases, with 6 fatalities since 2021, while Saxenda is associated with nearly 2,000 serious reports and 49 deaths since 2015. An analysis of around 150 cases linked self-injury and suicidal ideation to these drugs soon after patients started taking them.

Over half the reports make references to suicidal thoughts. According to the analysis, “About 40 percent found relief after quitting the meds or taking a smaller dose.” In other words, of people who were affected in this alarming way, fewer than half were able to feel better after discontinuing the medications.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Of course, failing to treat obesity can also lead to suicide. In 2020, a paper was published about whether childhood obesity leads to an increased mortality risk in young adulthood. A team of researchers based a study on data concerning 41,359 children and teens from the Swedish Childhood Obesity Treatment Register, which is known for the high quality of its information. It has been compiling facts since 1997 and even includes fatalities that take place outside the country’s borders. The findings were:

Both the risk of death due to diseases and the risk of death due to suicide were higher among those who had obesity in childhood… Individuals who had undergone obesity treatment in childhood had an increased risk of death from suicide and self-harm and death from endogenous causes, compared to the comparison group.

Now, what about alcohol?

Tirzepatide can bring along some uncomfortable side effects and, as we have seen, combining it with alcohol can increase the risk of hypoglycemia, and at the same time, mask the warning signs. Some consequences are all too foreseeable. When withdrawal from addictive substances is undertaken, Dr. Pretlow always stresses the importance of avoiding “trigger situations,” or environments that will cause stress, like hanging out in a bar when trying to eject alcohol from one’s life.

Dr. Pretlow once received a letter from a pediatrician — a medical professional! — in her forties who had been an over-eater all her life. When office staff left a plate of brownies in the break room, she resisted until she suddenly consumed the entire dozen. “At that point, she said, she realized that she was just like an alcoholic, an addict in the gutter. It was a stark realization to her, what was going on.”

Point being, it is extremely doubtful whether all the people who take tirzepatide will be able to avoid trigger situations involving alcohol for the rest of their lives. And if they drink, consequences lie in wait for them — some known and some as yet unknown.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Over 200 Cases Of Suicidal Thoughts After Taking Weight Loss Drugs: New Analysis,”, 19/03/23
Source: “Association of childhood obesity with risk of early all-cause and cause-specific mortality,”, 03/18/20
Image by Ed Bierman/CC BY 2.0 DEED

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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