Weight-loss Drugs Could Trigger Deadly Side Effects, Researchers Claim

Popular celebrity weight-loss drugs Wegovy and Ozempic could have serious side effects, according to researchers in China. In a study set to appear in the monthly journal Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, researchers believe that there is an “increased risk” of intestinal obstruction when taking those medications. The drugs are made up of the peptide semaglutide, a derivative of GLP-1, a hormone derived from the small intestine. It is the hormone that semaglutide mimics, and it makes you feel fuller for longer by slowing down digestion, which leads to weight loss.

Although this medicine can help treat diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes by lowering a person’s glucose levels and promoting weight loss, concern has been raised about a potential unwanted side effect. The scholars also cited two studies in their research that showed a correlation between GLP-1 and intestinal issues — one published in 2020, the other in 2022. However, they were observational and could not confirm a direct relation.

An intestinal obstruction occurs when there’s a blockage that prevents food or liquid from moving through your small or large intestine, according to the Mayo Clinic. If it’s left untreated, it can cause those parts of the intestine that were blocked to die, and it can lead to an infection called peritonitis. The infection is classified as a life-threatening condition that often requires surgery, according to the organization.

In their letter, they explained that in their observations of rats who took the drug, they had a 43% average increase in the small intestine’s length after a 3-month treatment of GLP-1b drugs, pointing out that the clinical trials for Wegovy only tested that for 16 months. They also noted that the clinical trials that have been done on humans have not shown the same changes in our guts. The researchers explained that it can be hard to determine the length of the small intestine in adults and that constipation, a symptom of intestinal obstruction, is also the same symptom as having slower digestion, an effect the drug has.

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New York Post

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