Ozempic Tied to
Increased Risk of
Severe Stomach
Problems

Several drugs treat type 2 diabetes that have been found to have the helpful side effect of helping patients lose weight. As more and more people became interested in using these drugs for weight loss, the active ingredient in those drugs has been used in new drugs at a higher dosage. These are approved exclusively for weight loss. Some of the original diabetes drugs, like Ozempic, are still used in patients to lose weight; however, they are being prescribed off-label.

The weight loss that patients have thanks to these drugs can be significant and help them with the complications they get from obesity. However, new studies are showing that there are serious risks with these medications. Severe stomach problems are one of these risks. The percentage of patients on these drugs who get these complications is relatively low, but with so many people taking them, it amounts to a high number of people.

What is Ozempic?

Semaglutide is Ozempic’s active ingredient. It’s a glucagon-like peptide or GLP-1. This ingredient is what helps patients to control their blood sugar as well as to help them lose weight. This is the active ingredient in both Wegovy and Ozempic. Semaglutide also has several side effects that can come with it. It can also cause serious stomach problems in some patients. In a recent study, this drug has been found to cause a higher risk of developing stomach trouble than some other medications for weight loss now on the market.

Ozempic & Serious Abdominal Problems

Researchers went through the health insurance claims of about 5,400 who were obese but did not have type 2 diabetes. Taking a semaglutide medication was found to result in nine times as many people developing pancreatitis than people taking other weight loss drugs. Pancreatitis happens when the pancreas gets inflamed and causes severe abdominal pain. When patients get this condition, they often need to have surgery. These medications were also found to be related to a four times higher risk of getting a bowel obstruction. This can be a severe condition that needs immediate treatment. In addition, there was a three times higher risk of these patients getting stomach paralysis or gastroparesis. This condition can completely stop food from going through the intestines as it should.

While the risks of developing these conditions are still low, they are higher with Ozempic and Wegovy than many other drugs on the market (such as Trulicity), and that may start to change the drugs that doctors want to prescribe to their patients. However, because these drugs are effective for weight loss, doctors have to weigh the risks of prescribing them against the gains that people can make with them. When people have better overall health, they may be less likely to accept the small risk of developing severe complications from their medication.

The doctor may also weigh whether the drug is being used to treat obesity or type 2 diabetes. Some doctors find that a slight risk of severe side effects is a reasonable risk because of the much more likely risk of obesity causing several health problems. If a patient gets pancreatitis, for instance, they can get medical care and go home.

Mitigating the Risk

Among Ozempic users, only about 1% of patients have gotten stomach paralysis. Because there are rare but possible side effects that could happen with Ozempic, most doctors start people on a minimal dose of it to get started. As a patient’s body gets used to the medication, the doctor will slightly raise the dosage and allow the body to get used to it. This often takes about four to six weeks. This continues until the patient is at the top dosage of the drug.

Doctors also avoid giving this medication to patients who have certain things in their medical history to prevent a higher risk of stomach complications. If a patient has a history of developing pancreatitis or has had gallstones, this medication will generally not be prescribed to them. Doctors also urge patients on Ozempic to avoid drinking alcohol, with can be a risk factor in developing severe side effects.

The Limits of the Study

While the insurance claim study did find a correlation between certain weight loss drugs and developing severe abdominal conditions, the results still aren’t noticeable. The study didn’t rely on many patients to come up with the statistics. It also didn’t delve into how these drugs may be causing these problems. There was no way in the study to prove that these drugs caused the side effects or the mechanism for doing it.

There is still more research that’s needed. There should be much longer studies that use a larger pool of patients. There should also be a way to look for other explanations for the gastrointestinal problems in case there is something else causing them. There also weren’t any indications of what the specific risk factors were in patients taking these medications.

The Popularity of Ozempic and Other Weight Loss Drugs

One reason that the stomach problems that Ozempic may cause are making headlines everywhere is that the drug has become so popular in the last couple of years. Its popularity has been skyrocketing among people who want to lose weight and have complications from obesity. People have learned about these drugs through advertisements as well as through friends and family members. This has made it a subject often talked about, making more people curious about them.

Another reason for the popularity is that influencers and celebrities alike are talking about using this and other diet drugs.

They’re discussing their use of Ozempic and similar medications (such as Mounjaro) and how well they have worked to help them lose weight. This has spread the word about Ozempic far and wide, and it is only gaining in popularity. That popularity is leading to more instances of severe side effects simply because more people are taking the drugs. However, these side effects remain rare among patients.

Evaluating Benefits

When a patient has a choice to be prescribed Ozempic for weight loss, they should consider the possible risk of complications along with the benefits they will get from it. These benefits can be both mental and physical. When a person suffers from obesity, they may have lowered self-esteem from the condition. They may be less confident or even less social because of their weight. In addition, it can cause a host of complications that can be embarrassing, such as having too much pressure on their knees or not being able to get into their clothes. Using Ozempic is a practical, low-risk way to reduce body fat so that the patient’s self-esteem and confidence can be boosted.

Many people have tried a number of diets and taken other
weight loss drugs and weren’t successful. A drug like Ozempic
is often an effective way to finally lose some of the extra weight.

If you’ve heard about Ozempic and wonder whether the risk of taking it is worth the weight loss, there are several factors to consider. Two of these are the small number of people who have serious side effects and how effective this drug can be for weight loss. A study has shown a correlation between Ozempic and severe stomach problems, but many doctors find it well worth the risk to prescribe it. It continues to be a popular drug for weight loss because it can help with so many problems that come
from obesity.

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