HomeDiabetesWatch Out: Ozempic May Increase the Risk of Eye Disease

Watch Out: Ozempic May Increase the Risk of Eye Disease

The world’s buzziest diabetes drug could speed up the development of diabetic retinopathy, in keeping with a current examine introduced at a convention of eye well being consultants.

The outcomes, from a brand new unpublished examine, have been introduced on the current annual assembly of the American Society of Retina Specialists. They confirmed that GLP-1 receptor agonists, a household of medicine that features semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus), dulaglutide (Trulicity), and liraglutide (Victoza), enhance the chance of growing extreme ranges of diabetic eye illness.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a typical complication of sort 1 and sort 2 diabetes.

The eyes and retina have many small blood vessels which can be very delicate to excessive blood sugar ranges. An excessive amount of glucose within the bloodstream, the defining function of diabetes, may cause these little blood vessels to swell and burst. When it will get dangerous, the retina begins to develop scar tissue and new, dysfunctional blood vessels, each of which obscure imaginative and prescient.

Diabetic retinopathy may be very treatable — which is why annual diabetic eye exams are so essential — however within the worst circumstances, the situation can result in declining eyesight and even blindness. Early therapy focuses on way of life choices (like nutritious diet and train) and optimizing diabetes medicine, but when these adjustments aren’t sufficient, ophthalmologists can deal with the eyes immediately with injectable medication and lasers.

One of the simplest ways to stop diabetic retinopathy, in keeping with the American Diabetes Affiliation, is to get your blood sugar, blood strain, and ldl cholesterol beneath management. So it’s stunning that Ozempic and comparable medication, which have highly effective metabolic advantages, would possibly make diabetic retinopathy extra prone to happen.

Ozempic Advantages and Facet Results

Generally it would appear to be Ozempic (semaglutide) is likely to be too good to be true. The injectable drug is a sport changer for weight reduction and probably the most efficient sort 2 diabetes medicines ever developed, resulting in dramatic enhancements in blood sugar, blood strain, and levels of cholesterol. Different medication in the identical class, together with the GLP-1/GIP receptor agonist tirzepatide (Mounjaro), boast a few of the identical perks.

However there’s additionally little question that Ozempic has many unwanted side effects. A really excessive proportion of customers expertise some measure of gastrointestinal misery; different signs vary from the damaging however uncommon (together with current studies of abdomen paralysis) to the purely beauty (together with hair loss and the so-called “Ozempic face”).

Semaglutide, the lively ingredient in Ozempic, is highly effective stuff. It has a formidable impact on diabetes danger components, however we shouldn’t be stunned that it would contain another physique adjustments, too.

Ozempic and Diabetic Retinopathy

As reported by Medscape, the brand new outcomes have been introduced by Ehsan Rahimy, MD, a professor of ophthalmology at Stanford College. Dr. Rahimy shared the highest takeaways from an unpublished retrospective examine of greater than 13,500 adults with sort 2 diabetes who have been utilizing both GLP-1 receptor agonists or SGLT2 inhibitors. (SGLT2 inhibitors, one other class of newer diabetes medication, can have comparable results to GLP-1s, together with decrease glucose, weight reduction, and coronary heart well being safety.)

Researchers discovered that these taking a GLP-1 have been about 50 % extra prone to progress to both proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) or diabetic macular edema (DME), each of that are critical levels of diabetic eye illness. They have been additionally extra prone to require interventions similar to injections and laser photocoagulation.

This isn’t the primary proof of a connection between semaglutide (Ozempic) and diabetic retinopathy. In response to Pharmacy Instances, one of many pivotal research of semaglutide discovered an elevated danger of diabetic retinopathy, and the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported {that a} considerably larger proportion of Ozempic customers have DR as compared with customers of different GLP-1 receptor agonists.

The proof isn’t unanimous. One massive examine of semaglutide discovered no such danger, and one other examine introduced on the current convention of retina specialists discovered that albiglutide, beforehand bought as Tanzeum and now not out there, is the one GLP-1 receptor agonist that aggravates diabetic retinopathy.

If the connection is actual, it appears potential that Ozempic’s unbelievable effectiveness explains its unfavorable impact on the eyes. Opposite to all expectations, fast enchancment in glucose management can really worsen diabetic retinopathy. That is referred to as “early worsening,” as a result of the eyes will worsen earlier than the main long-term advantages of higher blood sugar management turn out to be evident.

A dialogue of the problem by consultants from the American Academy of Ophthalmology prompt that early worsening from Ozempic is each “short-term and manageable.” However the consultants assert that this impact must be given elevated scrutiny from eye medical doctors and should name for extra aggressive eye well being screening.


It’s potential that semaglutide (Ozempic), and maybe different GLP-1 receptor agonists, can irritate diabetic eye illness and speed up the development of diabetic retinopathy. This seems to happen although such medication usually ship spectacular outcomes (together with decrease blood sugar, weight reduction, and improved blood strain) that ought to enhance eye well being.

Specialists consider that the advantages outweigh the dangers. However in the event you’re taking Ozempic and have any historical past of diabetic retinopathy, or different issues in regards to the well being of your eyes, it is likely to be clever to share your issues along with your physician or ophthalmologist. They might advise you to schedule a diabetic eye screening to observe the impact that your highly effective medicine is having in your eye well being.



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