A comprehensive study involving 16,827 patients has brought to light potential risks associated with Ozempic, a medication widely used for managing type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Ozempic, known generically as semaglutide, was approved in 2017 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is a weekly injection that helps lower blood sugar by helping the pancreas make more insulin.

Researchers discovered that patients prescribed semaglutide had a higher propensity to develop nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) compared to those using other diabetes or obesity treatments.

The study, spanning from December 2017 to November 2023, specifically focused on patients with no prior history of NAION.

Utilising propensity matching, the researchers meticulously compared the risk of NAION in patients taking semaglutide against those prescribed non-glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) medications.

Key demographic and health factors such as age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity were accounted for in the analysis.

Results were striking. Among type 2 diabetes patients, the cumulative incidence of NAION over a 36-month period was 8.9% for those on semaglutide, in stark contrast to 1.8% for those on other antidiabetic drugs.

Similarly, in overweight or obese patients, the incidence was 6.7% for semaglutide users compared to just 0.8% for those on non-semaglutide medications.

Further statistical analysis revealed a significantly heightened risk of NAION associated with semaglutide, with a hazard ratio of 4.28 in diabetic patients and an alarming 7.64 in overweight or obese patients.

Despite these findings, the study authors urge the need for more research to conclusively establish a causal link between semaglutide and NAION.

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