People on Ozempic or Wegovy are more likely to develop gastrointestinal complications compared to those not using the weight-loss drugs, a new study reveals.
Prior studies have found that individuals taking drugs for diabetes were more likely to develop these gastrointestinal problems compared to those without the condition.
Chief author Mohit Sodhi said: “People who are otherwise healthy may be less willing to accept these potentially serious adverse events.”
During the investigation, the team of researchers examined the health insurance claim records of 16 million people who had been using semaglutide or liraglutide – another drug that triggers weight loss.
They discovered that people using semaglutide were more than nine times more at risk of having an inflamed pancreas.
In addition, individuals using weight-loss injections are 4.22 more at risk of developing bowel obstruction and 3.67 more likely to have gastroparesis or stomach paralysis.
Semaglutide is soaring in popularity across the world as more people are now using the drug to lose weight.
Dr Simon Cork from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK said: “The findings highlight the importance of accessing these drugs through trusted medical professionals, with ongoing support and monitoring.
“It is vital that regulation is tightened to ensure that these drugs are only prescribed under the right circumstances.”
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He added: “’Whilst the likelihood of developing these conditions is still rare, when scaled up to the numbers who could potentially be prescribed these drugs we could start to see many people experiencing adverse effects from their use.”
Novo Nordisk, which manufactures Ozempic, was not involved in the analysis. A representative from Novo Nordisk said: “Gastrointestinal events are well-known side effects of the GLP-1 class.
“We recommend patients take these medications for their approved indications and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.”
They added: “Treatment decisions should be made together with a healthcare provider who can evaluate the appropriateness of using a GLP-1 based on assessment of patient’s individual medical profile.”
Read the study in the journal JAMA.