(STUDY) Popular semaglutide weight loss drugs may be linked to optic neuropathy causing blindness

The following is from MedPage Today.

Use of the GLP-1 receptor agonist semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) may be linked with an increased risk of the second most common form of optic neuropathy, a retrospective study suggested.

Over a mean follow-up of nearly 3 years, patients with diabetes on semaglutide had more than a fourfold higher risk for developing nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) compared with patients not on a GLP-1 agonist (HR 4.28, 95% CI 1.62-11.29, P<0.001), reported Joseph Rizzo III, MD, of Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues.

Those prescribed semaglutide for overweight or obesity had an over sevenfold higher risk for NAION (HR 7.64, 95% CI 2.21-26.36, P<0.001), a significant cause of blindness, they wrote in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Over 3 years, the cumulative incidence of NAION were 8.9% and 6.7% in the two semaglutide groups, respectively, versus 1.8% and 0.8% for the non-GLP-1 groups.

“Despite evidence of neuroprotective properties, expression of the GLP-1 receptor in the human optic nerve and GLP-1 [receptor agonist] RA-induced enhanced sympathetic nervous system activity might influence optic nerve head perfusion and potentially increase the risk of NAION,” suggested Rizzo and co-authors.

As with any drug, they said, “therapeutic benefits are inseparable from adverse effects,” and prior research has linked semaglutide with higher risks of retinopathy exacerbation, progression of proliferative retinopathy, and new-onset macular edema. But this is the first time semaglutide has been linked to NAION, according to the researchers. (Continued…)

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1 thought on “(STUDY) Popular semaglutide weight loss drugs may be linked to optic neuropathy causing blindness”

  1. Don’t treat the symptom – treat the cause.
    My next-door neighbor had T2D and taking dr-prescribed meds to no effect. I suggested taking an iodine supplement (Lugol’s 4 dtops in juice – 12 mg /d) (don’t tell the dr). A few months later I asked how she was doing and she said her dr stopped her T2D meds – didn’t need them.
    I had read the Flechas article quoted in https://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/diabetes-iodine.html quotes Dr Jorge Flechas treating T2D, FBD w/ iodoral. I still take that amount daily and it cured my photophobia (pain from skylight or from turning on a light when dark-adapted). It first cured my goiter (didn’t know I had it until it was gone).
    I’ve read that most are iodine-deficient

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