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Home arrow News arrow 16M Patient Study Exposes New Serious Risks of Weight Loss Drugs Like Ozempic

16M Patient Study Exposes New Serious Risks of Weight Loss Drugs Like Ozempic

HealthReporter author Nadzeya Sankovich
Written by Nadzeya Sankovich
Last update: October 9, 2023
1 min read 470 Views 0 Comments
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16M Patient Study Exposes New Serious Risks of Weight Loss Drugs Like Ozempic

Key Takeaways

  • A comprehensive analysis of 16 million patients flags potential risks of digestive issues associated with popular weight loss drugs.
  • The use of GLP-1 agonists is linked to higher chances of pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis.

A recent study warns that medications used for weight loss, known as GLP-1 agonists, may come with some serious risks. 

There are several brands of such drugs, including Wegovey, Ozempic, Saxenda, and Victoza, designed to reduce weight and blood sugar levels in both people with diabetes and those without the condition.

Despite the initial use, these drugs have also gained extreme popularity for getting in shape. However, research indicates an increased likelihood of rare but severe gastrointestinal problems, such as pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis.

This study looked at 16 million patients between 2006 and 2020 using semaglutide and liraglutide, two main GLP-1 agonists. Compared to bupropion-naltrexone, another weight loss drug, those taking GLP-1 agonists had a much higher risk of:

  • Pancreatitis (9 times more)
  • Bowel obstruction (4 times more)
  • Gastroparesis (3.67 times more)

Ozempic caused stomach paralysis in about 1% of people who took it. A total of 73 people taking Saxenda suffered bowel obstructions, 71 suffered pancreatitis, and 66 suffered stomach paralysis.

Although these risks are rare, the study highlights the importance of considering the downsides before taking GLP-1 agonists.

There’s also a big difference between using these drugs for weight loss versus diabetes in the risk-benefit analysis. The study has some limitations, like not knowing if all GLP-1 agonists were used exclusively for weight loss.


  1. Sodhi, M., Rezaeianzadeh, R., Kezouh, A., & Etminan, M. (2023). Risk of gastrointestinal adverse events associated with Glucagon-Like peptide-1 receptor agonists for weight loss. JAMA.
Written by Nadzeya Sankovich
Nadzeya Sankovich is the Vice President of Communications at Health Reporter. Previously a professional journalist, she continues to write scientific articles and conduct research. With a background in sociology and medicine, she has worked with various healthcare organizations, from charities to telemedicine platforms.

Nadzeya is also a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and a volunteer for a non-profit organization that helps underserved communities. Through her work, she empowers people to take charge of their health and well-being.
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