People using popular drugs for weight loss, diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with stomach paralysis

CNN – Injected medications that treat diabetes and obesity increase the risk of a rare but serious side effect: stomach paralysis, according to new data on the real-world use of the drugs.

At least three new studies based on large collections of patient records show that the risk of being diagnosed with stomach paralysis, or gastroparesis, is higher for people who take GLP-1 agonists than for those who don’t.

1 in 8 adults in the US has taken Ozempic or another GLP-1 drug, KFF survey finds
The studies have not been scrutinized by outside experts or published in medical journals, so the data is considered preliminary.

Two were presented Saturday at the medical conference Digestive Disease Week 2024 in Washington; the third is slated to be presented Monday.

Injected medications called GLP-1 agonists are in high demand because they have proved to be so effective for weight loss. In clinical trials, some of the stronger medications like Wegovy and Zepbound have been found to help people lose at least 10% of their starting weight.

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Studies have also concluded that they have benefits for the heart as well as the waistline. Drugmaker Novo Nordisk said 25,000 people are starting Wegovy every week in the US alone.

The drugs curb hunger by slowing passage of food through the stomach. They also help the body release more insulin and help send signals to the brain that turn down cravings.

In some people, however, these medications can also cause unpleasant-to-severe bouts of vomiting, which may require medical attention. They can also slow the stomach so much that medical tests show a condition called gastroparesis.

Most of the time, doctors say, gastroparesis will improve after stopping the medication. But some people say that their condition did not get better even months after coming off the drug, with life-altering consequences …


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