Study links obesity drugs Wegovy and Ozempic to eye disorder affecting vision

Ozempic and Rybelsus contain semaglutide, a component that increases the likelihood of developing non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy.

Patients who use Novo Nordisk’s popular weight-loss drug Wegovy and similar type 2 diabetes medications may be at increased risk for developing a vision-threatening eye conditionaccording to data from a study published on Wednesday.

Diabetes medications such as Ozempic and Rybelsus of Wegs y Novo contain the same active ingredient, semaglutidaand belong to a class of drugs known as GLP1 receptor agonists.

The rate of the eye problem known as non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathyor NAION, was 8.9% for those taking semaglutide for type 2 diabetes, compared with 1.8% for patients taking non-GLP-1 diabetes drugs, the researchers reported in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Among those prescribed semaglutide for overweight or obesity, the rate of the eye condition was 6.7%, compared with 0.8% for those given other types of weight-loss drugs.

He observational study The 36-month study involved 710 adults with type 2 diabetes and 979 taking weight-loss medications.

NAION develops from insufficient blood flow to the optic nerve y causes sudden loss and painless vision loss in one eye. It is the second most common cause of blindness due to optic nerve damage, after glaucoma.

After taking into account other patient risk factors for the disease, such as high blood pressure y obstructive sleep apneasemaglutide use was associated with a more than four-fold increased risk of NAION in those receiving it for diabetes and a risk more than seven times greater in patients taking it for obesity.

Novo Nordisk, in an emailed statement, pointed out several limitations of the study design, which was not a randomized controlled trial.

“Overall, the data published in the study are not sufficient to establish a causal association between the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists and NAION,” the Danish pharmaceutical company said, adding that the condition “is not an adverse reaction to marketed semaglutide medicines.”

NAION most often affects older people. In the general US population, the estimated annual incidence is 1.5 million. 0.54 per 100,000 peopleand increases to between 2.3 and 10.2 per 100,000 in adults over age 50, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

According to the AAO, the prognosis for visual recovery is better for older patients. youthsThe average age of study participants was 46 years among patients using semaglutide for obesity and 57 years among those using it for diabetes.

“This work has been carried out to a high standard and suggests an association between semaglutide treatment and a vision-threatening form of optic neuropathy, but this would ideally need to be tested in larger studies,” he said in a statement. Graham McGeown from Queen’s University Belfast, who studies diabetic eye disease.

“Given the rapid increase in the use of semaglutide and its potential approval for a variety of problems other than obesity and type 2 diabetes“This issue deserves further study, but the potential side effects of the drug must always be weighed against the likely benefits,” McGeown concluded.

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