Interest in weight loss drugs is still high, and one brand in particular, Ozempic, has now become one of the top weight loss methods for people trying to shed a few pounds.
However, a recent study published in JAMA found that it could have some strange and potentially alarming side effects, mostly related to the digestive system.
The report found that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors, like Ozempic, Wegovy, Victoza, Saxenda, and others, could put people at a higher risk for some types of digestive issues.
According to the report, it could increase the risk of problems including pancreatitis, gastroparesis, and bowel obstruction, although the researchers did note that the evidence suggests that the overall risks are relatively low.
For the study, the researchers looked at data from 16 million patients in the PharMetrics Plus database from 2016 to 2020. They analyzed data from those taking semaglutide products like Ozempic compared with those taking the obesity drug bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave).
The results found that those taking semaglutide were more likely to experience digestive issues, and the risk of pancreatitis, gastroparesis, and bowel obstruction was higher.
There was a 1% incidence rate of stomach paralysis for Ozempic users, which was the biggest risk found in the study. There was a 0.5% incidence rate of pancreatitis, compared with 0.01% for those taking Contrave.
For the patients taking Victova, there was a 0.7% incidence rate of stomach paralysis, a 0.8% incidence rate of pancreatitis, and a 0.8% incidence rate of bowel obstruction.
The researchers wrote, “Given the wide use of these drugs, these adverse events, although rare, must be considered by patients who are contemplating using the drugs for weight loss because the risk-benefit calculus for this group might differ from those who use them for diabetes.”
With more individuals turning to these drugs to lose weight, it’s important to understand the risks as, although rare, can be serious in some cases.