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

Popular weight reduction medications increase the chance of further stomach problems

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

Those who took one among these drugs, called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, were nine times more prone to develop pancreatitis, an often painful inflammation of the pancreas, compared with others who took a mixture from naltrexone and bupropion taken for weight reduction (brand name Contrave).

Other results show that folks taking these medications:

  • The likelihood of developing an intestinal obstruction that stops food from passing through the massive or small intestine was greater than 4 times higher, with symptoms comparable to nausea, vomiting, cramps and/or bloating
  • They were greater than three and a half times more prone to develop 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.

According to the researchers, their findings are usually not about scaring people away from weight reduction medications, but reasonably about raising awareness that these potential negative effects can occur. This allows people to weigh the risks and advantages before beginning to take these medications.

Rarely, but there

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

Given the Popularity and wide use With these medications, these antagonistic events, although rare, “need to be taken into account by patients considering using them for weight loss,” said co-author Mohit Sodhi, a graduate of the University of British Columbia's Experimental Medicine Program and a medical student fourth 12 months in a press release in regards to the study.

People taking GLP-1 to treat diabetes could also be more willing to just accept the risks due to the potential advantages, particularly lowering the chance 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 constipation warning

This shouldn't be the primary report of gastrointestinal problems related to these medications, but it surely is one among the most important. Most reports involved individuals with gastrointestinal and other problems.

The FDA announced on September 28 that it could require drug manufacturers to: a Warning about intestinal blockages on the Ozempic label.

As for ileus, the medical term for intestinal blockage, “this is another condition that Ozempic users may suffer from,” 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 likely in people who use weight loss products like Ozempic, including a less common side effect – gastroparesis, also known as stomach paralysis,” said Batash, a gastroenterologist at NYU Medical Center, Lenox Hill Hospital , and semaglutide, the lively ingredient in these medications, slows digestion within the stomach and, in rare cases, may cause gastroparesis, he explained.

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

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