"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Popular weight reduction medications increase the danger of further stomach problems

October 5, 2023 – People taking popular drugs resembling Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus for weight reduction People taking a weight-loss drug approved in 2014 have a better risk of doubtless serious stomach and intestinal problems, a big study shows.

Those taking one among these drugs, generally known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, were nine times more prone to develop pancreatitis, an often painful inflammation of the pancreas, than others taking a mix of naltrexone and bupropion for weight reduction (brand name Contrave).

Further evidence shows that folks taking these medications:

  • They were over 4 times more prone to have an intestinal obstruction, which prevents food from passing through the massive or small intestine, with symptoms resembling nausea, vomiting, cramps and/or bloating.
  • They were greater than three and a half times more prone to have gastric paresis, a blockage of food within the stomach that may cause nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

The study was published today within the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers say their findings usually are not intended to scare people away from the burden loss medications, but reasonably to boost awareness of those possible unwanted side effects. This allows people to weigh the risks and advantages before beginning to take these medications.

Rare, but there

People taking these drugs for weight reduction have a few 1 to 2 percent probability of those events, including a 1 percent risk of gastric paralysis, said Mahyar Etminan, PharmD, the study's senior creator and a drug safety expert Pharmacoepidemiology on the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Given the Popularity and wide use These unwanted side effects, although rare with these drugs, “need to be taken into account by patients considering taking them for weight loss,” said co-author Mohit Sodhi, a graduate of the experimental medicine program on the University of British Columbia and a fourth-year medical student 12 months, in a press release in regards to the study.

People taking GLP-1 to treat diabetes could also be more willing to simply accept the risks due to potential advantages, particularly lowering the danger of heart problems, Etminan said. “But those who are otherwise healthy and are taking it just for weight loss may want to weigh the risk-benefit ratio more carefully,” he said.

Stomach obstruction warning

This shouldn’t be the primary report of gastrointestinal problems related to these medications, however it is one among the biggest. Most reports involved individuals with gastrointestinal and other problems.

The FDA announced on September 28 that it will require drug manufacturers to Warning about intestinal obstruction on the Ozempic label.

As for ileus, the medical term for intestinal obstruction, “that's another condition that Ozempic users could experience,” said Steven Batash, MD, a senior physician on the Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center in New York City. He was not involved within the study.

“There are some gastrointestinal disorders that are more common in people who use weight loss drugs like Ozempic, including a less common side effect – gastroparesis, also known as gastric paralysis,” said Batash, a gastroenterologist at NYU Medical Center, Lenox Hill Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Semaglutide, the energetic ingredient in these drugs, slows digestion within the stomach and might, in rare cases, cause gastroparesis, he explained.

The results of the brand new study are based on medical health insurance records from roughly 16 million U.S. patients. Sodhi and his colleagues studied individuals who were prescribed either semaglutide or liraglutide (Saxenda), two vital GLP-1 agonists, between 2006 and 2020. FDA approval of GLP-1 for weight reduction didn't come until 2021, so researchers also included people whose medical records showed a recent history of obesity.

One limitation of taking a look at medical records is that researchers couldn’t confirm that folks were taking semaglutide or liraglutide just for weight reduction. Some people could have taken them for diabetes or each.