Taking GLP-1 Drugs for Weight Loss Can Lead to Serious GI Symptoms

Ozempic and drugs of similar class (GLP-1 drugs) are increasingly being linked to gastrointestinal side effects, some being so detrimental to an extent of requiring hospitalization.

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists which are commonly called GLP-1 drugs are a class of drugs that includes semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy), liraglutide (Saxenda), and tirzepatide (Mounjaro). They are utilized in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

GLP-1 has also been shown by experts to promote an average weight loss of 2.9 kilograms compared to placebo, in addition to lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and total cholesterol.

Against all these merits and the drug carrying warning which indicate commonplace issues of vomiting and nausea, users of the drug are reporting serious cases of complication after usage, which includes intestinal blockage (ileus) and pancreatitis.

A deep dive into the data about GLP-1

Although the drug has not been explicitly labeled by the Food and Drugs Authority for the treatment of obesity, it is often prescribe for the treatment.

A research letter published in the JAMA journal has found strong association of gastrointestinal problems with the usage of GPL-1 drugs. Dr. Mahyar Etminan, Associate Professor of a Department of Ophthalmology wrote in the letter that; “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 that of those who use them for diabetes.”

The lead researchers of the paper says they silt through a pharmaceutical database of 16 million patient prescriptions in the United States between 2006-2020 and finally carried out their study on 613 patients prescribed semaglutide and 4,144 patients prescribed liraglutide for the treatment of obesity.

Increased GI risk for users of GLP-1 drugs

At the end of the research, they found that patients prescribed GLP-1s for weight loss were at significantly higher risk of pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis.

From their data, the concluded that;

  • Sample were 4.22 times at higher risk of intestinal obstruction (ileus) which experts say occurs when the intestines are unable to pass their contents due to blockages associated with nerve or muscle problems in the intestine.
  • Study sample were 9.09 times at higher risk of pancreatitis – a painful inflammation of the pancreas, which includes symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, nausea, fever, and a swollen or tender abdomen.
  • Consumers were 3.67 times at higher risk of gastroparesis, which is sometimes called stomach paralysis – a condition that occurs when the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. It is frequently accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

The Food and Drugs Administration have also released a report indicating that they have taken notice of reported cases of dire complications and are addressing it.

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