Popular weight-loss drug linked to serious adverse events, including kidney and GI issues

The following is from The Defender.

The latest weight loss craze to hit Hollywood and beyond is semaglutide, more popularly known as Ozempic, the brand name of the drug marketed to improve blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide is also known as Wegovy, which is prescribed to adults interested in weight loss. The weekly injectable drug is available only by prescription — and costs $1,349 a month — but it’s in high demand among those looking to shed a few pounds.

New York dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank told People, “It’s the drug of choice these days for the 1%.”

The blockbuster drug, slated to bring in more than $10 billion in annual sales, has also been linked to a growing number of serious health disorders.

Adverse effects surrounding semaglutide are already becoming apparent. A study using data from Eudravigilance, Europe’s system for analyzing adverse reactions to medications, found a high prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders among users.

Metabolic, nutritional, eye, renal, urinary and cardiac disorders were also reported, but gastrointestinal events occurred particularly often.

Two case reports were published in 2021 showing acute kidney injury in people taking semaglutide. Both patients had chronic kidney disease as a result of diabetes and “experienced rapid worsening of kidney function and increased proteinuria after being prescribed the GLP-1 receptor agonist semaglutide.”

“We recommend that caution be used with these agents in patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease due to limited kidney reserve in the event of an adverse kidney event,” the researchers explained.

The long-term effects of the drug are also unknown. This is particularly concerning since users tend to regain the weight they lost as soon as they stop taking the drug.

The so-called “Ozempic rebound” has been making headlines in the media, after a study found that one year after stopping semaglutide, participants regained two-thirds of their prior weight loss, and most of the changes in cardiometabolic variables also reverted back to pretreatment levels.

Long-term use of GLP-1RAs like semaglutide may even cause a potentially fatal intestinal obstruction. Diabetic patients who use the drugs have a 4.5 times higher risk of intestinal obstruction than those using other medications.

A study of 25,617 people also found the use of GLP-1RAs increases the rate of intestinal obstruction by 3.5-fold.

Animal studies suggest that these drugs may increase the length and weight of the small intestine.

In humans, they may increase intestinal length and villus height; villi are the hairlike projections inside the small intestine that help absorb nutrients.

Writing in Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, researchers explained how this could seriously affect intestinal function, increasing obstruction risk:

“Because GLP-1RAs could cause continuous increases in the intestinal length and villus height, the small intestine may become as inelastic and fibrotic as a loose spring, leading to long-term upper intestinal obstruction.”

To date, clinical trials haven’t revealed such changes in the human gut, likely because it’s difficult to measure small intestine length. Further, the most common symptom of these changes is constipation, which can be attributed to many causes.

Cancer is another cause for concern.

Many aren’t aware the drug carries a black box warning because rodent studies found semaglutide causes thyroid C-cell tumors “at clinically relevant exposures.”

Even the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center warns:

“This drug has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in some animals. It is not known if this happens in humans. If thyroid cancer happens, it may be deadly if not found and treated early …

“Do not use this drug if you have a health problem called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), or if you or a family member have had thyroid cancer.”

Further, a patient in the Sustain 5 trial developed metastatic pancreatic carcinoma about 65 days post-treatment.

A pharmacovigilance study using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, also looked into “increasing data on the potential risk of pancreatic carcinoma-associated” with GLP-1RAs, including semaglutide, finding a clear association.

It’s revealing that, in a study investigating effects after two years of taking semaglutide, 96.1% of participants experienced an adverse event, 7.9% of which were considered serious. (Continued…)

Link to read full article here.

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3 thoughts on “Popular weight-loss drug linked to serious adverse events, including kidney and GI issues”

  1. Shades of Phen-Fen – which also ‘revolutionized” the diet industry a few decades ago, until it started killing its customers and ended up on the wrong side of many lawsuits.

    One of the Phen-fen duo drugs was made by Wyeth, who was later taken over by Pfizer after I believe lawsuits bankrupted them. Big Pharm has a dark history.

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