Ozempic has been proven to help treat those with type-2 diabetes and shows extremely promising results for weight management. But can it help those struggling with addiction, particularly nicotine?
In this article we’ll cover:
- What Ozempic is
- The benefits of Ozempic for those who smoke
- How Ozempic works to treat type-2 diabetes
- Known interactions between smoking and type-2 diabetes
- The effects Ozempic and smoking may have on those with type-2 diabetes
- How Ozempic may help those suffering from addiction
- What you need to know about smoking and MTC
- Frequently asked questions.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get into it!
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a medication developed in 2012 by Novo Nordisk. It is primarily prescribed for treatment of adults with type-2 diabetes, but has also been able to greatly assist those who need weight management intervention, for which it has gained increasing popularity and attention. Health Canada has approved Ozempic for this use in those with a BMI of 27 or over.
While your health insurance may be able to cover part or all of the cost of Ozempic for weight management, you may need to meet other criteria, such as suffering from at least one other weight-related condition in order to be eligible.
Ozempic’s main ingredient is a drug called semaglutide. You may see it marketed under other names, including Wegovy and Rybelsus. It is intended to be used alongside lifestyle intervention, including a healthy diet and regular exercise. When used in this way, Ozempic may greatly aid with weight management.
Semaglutide is part of the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists drug class, and provides a range of benefits that aid in the symptoms of diabetes and contribute to significant positive weight management.
It does this by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone — naturally released in the gut after eating — and recreating the effects of this hormone at an increased rate. These effects include:
- Blood glucose control
- Increased insulin production
- Lowered A1C levels
- Appetite suppression
- Delayed gastric emptying.
Ozempic has also been shown to greatly reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events. This may include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and death.
Benefits of Ozempic for Smokers
Research on how Ozempic may be able to curb addiction is only just beginning and as of right now, the only evidence we have of this phenomenon is anecdotal.
That being said, the GLP-1 receptors Ozempic targets have also been linked to addiction, and researchers and their colleagues are hypothesizing that this may indicate that the drug could help treat addiction.
Aside from treating the addiction itself, there are a range of other benefits that Ozempic can provide for smokers with type-2 diabetes.
Weight Loss Benefits of Using Ozempic for Smokers With Type 2 Diabetes
A clinical trial of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, found a significant, sustained reduction in body weight in type-2 diabetes patients who were administered weekly semaglutide injections.
Participants who were administered a 2.4 mg dose of semaglutide along with lifestyle changes were able to lose a significant amount of body mass, compared to those who were given a placebo.
For this reason, Ozempic is increasingly being used to combat obesity and high cholesterol.
Potential Blood Glucose Level Reductions From Using Ozempic for Smokers With Type 2 Diabetes
The ability to reduce and control blood sugar levels is one of the advantages for which Ozempic is most frequently recommended.
Studies have shown that semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, is able to significantly lower blood glucose levels and improve glycemic control in patients with type-2 diabetes.
This could be particularly useful to type-2 diabetes patients who are also smokers, as smoking has been known to raise blood glucose levels.
Improved Insulin Sensitivity From Using Ozempic For Smokers With Type 2 Diabetes
Ozempic is also able to increase insulin production and improve insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2 diabetes.
Semaglutide, the medication’s active component, targets pancreatic proteins. This causes the synthesis of insulin to rise when blood sugar levels are high. The insulin that it generates can then attack this elevated blood sugar and bring it down to a healthy level.
With nicotine being a substance known to prevent cells from responding to insulin, this effect of Ozempic could be of great help to type-2 diabetes patients who are smokers.
How Ozempic Works for People with Type 2 Diabetes
Ozempic is able to provide a range of benefits to those suffering from type-2 diabetes.
Since the active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, this medication is able to target several pathways that affect several different areas of the body.
Ozempic’s Role in Blood Glucose Regulation
When blood sugar levels are too high, Ozempic is often used to decrease them.
The active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, alters pancreatic proteins that are involved in insulin production. In the presence of high blood sugar, Ozempic promotes the synthesis of insulin, which in turn decreases high blood sugar.
Ozempic can help people manage their weight significantly in three different ways:
- By lowering hunger and appetite
One of Ozempic’s most notable effects is often a decrease in hunger and appetite, which might inspire a dietary adjustment and result in better weight management.
- By delaying stomach emptying
Ozempic’s gastric emptying delay, which slows the rate at which glucose enters circulations and prolongs the time that food remains in your stomach, may also affect positive weight management by making you feel fuller for longer.
- By raising feelings of satiety
Ozempic can give you a greater sense of satisfaction after eating. Increased satiety can aid in diet plan adherence and help you refrain from mindless snacking and overeating.
Interactions Between Smoking and Type 2 Diabetes
If you are a smoker who is also suffering from type-2 diabetes, it’s important to be aware of the interactions that can occur. There are several ways that smoking can negatively impact type-2 diabetes patients, and it can sometimes lead to serious health risks.
How Does Smoking Affect People with Type 2 Diabetes?
Smoking has been proven to negatively impact those suffering from type-2 diabetes in a variety of ways. In fact, smoking increases your chance of developing type-2 diabetes in the first place.
Nicotine alters the cells in your body and causes them to not respond to insulin, which raises your blood sugar levels. This can be extremely dangerous, particularly to those with type-2 diabetes.
Short-Term Complications from Cigarette Smoking & Ozempic Use in Type 2 Diabetes Patients
One of the toughest parts of starting a new medication are the potential side effects. When it comes to Ozempic, there are a few things to expect when taking this medication, which could affect everyone, regardless of your personal circumstances.
- Abdominal pain
- Skin irritation at injection site.
As for smoking, if you smoke and have type-2 diabetes, some short term complications or effects you may notice are:
- Increased blood sugar
- Lung problems
If you have any concerns regarding the ways that you are responding to smoking as a type-2 diabetes patient, be sure to consult with your medical team.
Long-Term Complications from Cigarette Smoking & Ozempic Use in Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Both Ozempic and smoking can have some long-term complications or side effects on patients with type-2 diabetes.
For Ozempic, some long-term side effects or complications include:
- Thyroid tumors
- Vision problems
- Gallbladder problems
- Kidney problems.
If you experience any of the above side effects, discontinue your use of Ozempic and contact your medical team, or go directly to your local hospital’s ER.
When smoking as a type-2 diabetes patient, some potential long-term complications include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Poor blood flow in the legs and feet that can lead to infection
- Peripheral neuropathy.
If you believe you are experiencing any of these long-term complications, it is recommended that you contact your medical team immediately, or go directly to your local ER.
Effects of Ozempic and Smoking on People with Type 2 Diabetes
We know that both Ozempic and smoking can individually pose some risks for patients with type-2 diabetes, but are there any specific risks or effects that come along with combining them?
Is There a Risk of Ozempic and Smoking Interacting Negatively?
Combining smoking with Ozempic can result in a variety of negative side effects that may pose some serious health risks.
The effects of smoking while taking Ozempic may include:
- Cardiovascular risks
Both Ozempic and smoking can independently lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in certain patients. Combining the two can cause this risk to be heightened even further, leading to serious negative cardiovascular impacts, such as a heart attack or stroke.
- Impaired lung function
Smoking is notorious for impairing lung function and causing breathing issues. This can impact the effectiveness of Ozempic, and make it difficult for your body to utilize the benefits that this medication can provide.
Risks Associated With Cigarette Smoking and Ozempic Use in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
When it comes to patients with type-2 diabetes, by far the most severe risk that comes along with combining Ozempic and smoking is the way that it can affect blood sugar levels.
Ozempic works hard to control blood sugar by increasing insulin production, whereas smoking causes your cells to not respond to insulin.
For this reason, smoking while on Ozempic for blood sugar control is extremely counter-productive, as it essentially works directly against the benefits that the medication is attempting to provide.
Potential of Ozempic in Assisting with Addiction
Research on the connection between Ozempic and addiction has only just begun. All evidence thus far is purely anecdotal, and no clinical trials have been completed yet, nor is this medication approved for combating addiction.
That being said, this is likely to change soon as more and more researchers are taking an interest in this potential connection.
How Could Ozempic Help With Addiction?
It is thought that Ozempic may be able to help curb addiction due to the way it targets GLP-1 receptors.
These receptors are located in a part of the brain that is also known for regulating addictive behaviors and the way that the body responds to drugs.
By targeting these pathways, it is possible that Ozempic may alter the way that you respond to different substances, and can help to curb addiction whether this be smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.
Researchers conducted a study in which they gave semaglutide to mice and rats, where it was found that the drug “reduced alcohol intake and prevented relapse-like drinking.” Scientists are hypothesizing that this drug may help to eliminate the desire to consume addictive substances altogether.
Ozempic and Its Impact on Craving Reduction
There have been reports that Ozempic can result in reduced cravings for different addictive substances.
One Australian mother reported that starting Ozempic caused her to inadvertently kick her smoking addiction, as the medication completely stopped her cravings.
Thus, it’s hypothesized, that the changes in taste and cravings that come along with Ozempic may be able to aid patients who are looking to quit their addictions.
Addressing Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC) in Smokers
MTC is a cancer formed inside the thyroid gland. This is a fairly common type of cancer, and there is no specific cause known. There are various treatment options when it comes to MTC, with the most common route being surgical.
Treatment Options For Those Who Smoke and Have Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC)
There are a variety of ways to go about treating MTC, though each of these methods may be impacted differently by smoking. These include:
- Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy is one potential treatment option for MTC, but this is something that can be negatively affected by smoking. Smoking has been known to cause hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in the body. This can negatively impact the results of radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy is another common treatment method for MTC, but can also be impacted by smoking. It has been observed that the effectiveness of chemotherapy can be negatively impacted by smoking nicotine.
- Targeted DNA-related therapies
There are some targeted therapies that may be used to treat MTC, depending on personal circumstance. These can differ depending on the way that the cancer is manifesting, and whether or not these treatments are impacted by smoking is dependent on the type of treatment.
Exploring Surgical Procedures for Treating MTC
The most common treatment method for TMC is a surgical procedure that removes your thyroid gland in order to eliminate the cancer. If the cancer is also present in your lymph nodes, it is likely that your surgeon will also remove the affected lymph nodes during this surgery.
If you have MTC and are exploring your options, be sure to talk to your medical team for further advice.
Ozempic is a medication that can provide a range of benefits for those suffering from type-2 diabetes or who need assistance with weight management. That being said, this is a medication that may not react well with smoking.
Smoking cigarettes while taking Ozempic can negate many of the positive effects of the medication and pose some serious health risks.
If you are smoking while taking Ozempic and are concerned about any symptoms or side effects that you are experiencing, be sure to consult with your medical team as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Ozempic be used as a smoking cessation aid?
Since research is still being done on the connection between Ozempic and addiction, it is not recommended that you rely on this medication as a way to curb your smoking addiction.
While it is believed that Ozempic could help you quit smoking, it is a good idea to prioritize other methods of quitting smoking until reliable research and clinical trials have been released.
What precautions should a smoker with type 2 diabetes take when using Ozempic?
If you are a smoker with type-2 diabetes who is also taking Ozempic, it’s important to monitor your body responses closely. Check your blood sugar levels regularly, and be aware of your lung capacity or any other notable changes in your body.
If you find that you are responding negatively to Ozempic, there are many alternative products and medications that your doctor may suggest to you. Some of these may include:
- Liraglutide (brand names: Saxenda or Victoza)
- Sitagliptin (brand name: Januvia)
- Linagliptin (brand name: Tradjenta)
- Canagliflozin (brand name: Invokana)
- Dapagliflozin (brand name: Farxiga)
- Empagliflozin (brand name: Jardiance).
When it comes to diabetes and weight management medications, there are many others that may be a better fit for you.
Are there specific dietary considerations for Ozempic users who smoke?
While there are no specific dietary requirements for Ozempic users who smoke, there are some dietary considerations that may help to lessen the gastrointestinal side effects that can often come along with both smoking and Ozempic use, eg, nausea.
Limiting high-fat foods, such as fried or greasy food, may help to prevent the intense feelings of nausea that often come along with this medication. This also helps cut out excess triglycerides which could cause weight gain and affect your overall heart health.