The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently examining potential health concerns associated with a group of medications used for weight loss.
These include the likes of Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound. The FDA's quarterly report revealed that the agency is investigating reports of alopecia (hair loss), aspiration during surgery, and suicidal ideation among individuals using these medications.
Ozempic, containing Semaglutide, was originally prescribed for controlling the effects of type 2 diabetes, but its ability to promote a feeling of fullness led to off-label use for rapid weight loss.
The FDA later approved Semaglutide and Tirzepatide, marketed as Wegovy and Mounjaro, as weight loss treatments in 2021.
Clinical trials demonstrated their effectiveness but highlighted potential side effects, such as reported hair loss affecting 3 to 6% of patients.
In response to these findings, a spokesperson from the FDA emphasised the agency's commitment to ongoing drug safety monitoring.
They stated, the FDA monitors the safety of drugs throughout their life cycle, including after approval," underscoring the importance of post-market surveillance in evaluating adverse events that may not have been evident during the drug development process, according to a news report by CBS NEWS.
Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic and Wegovy, acknowledged the FDA's ongoing assessments and affirmed their cooperation in the monitoring efforts.
With this scrutiny by the FDA, the outcome of the investigation will determine if any actions, such as label updates or additional research, are warranted.
Another news report published by CNN states, that the FDA is “evaluating the need for regulatory action” after its FDA Adverse Event Reporting System or FAERS received reports of alopecia, or hair loss; aspiration, or accidentally breathing in things like food or liquid; and suicidal ideation in people using these medications.
Adding that ‘The appearance of a drug on this list does not mean that FDA has concluded that the drug has the listed risk, the FAERS website notes.
This means that the FDA has identified a potential safety issue, but it does not mean that they have identified a causal relationship between the drug and the listed risk.
Known side effects of Ozempic
Ozempic is associated with many potential side effects, and patients should exercise caution before taking this medication for type 2 diabetes or weight loss.
Potential side effects include:
– Gastrointestinal trouble, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.
– Hyperglycemia (low blood sugar), which can lead to blurred vision, sweating, anxiety, dizziness, shakiness, headaches, slurring speech, hunger, or weakness
– Elevated heart rate
– Kidney failure
– Medullary thyroid cancer (also known as medullary thyroid carcinoma)
– Severe allergic reactions
If you experience any severe side effects, inform your healthcare provider immediately.
Is hair loss a side effect of Ozempic?
Recent reports have raised concerns about potential hair loss in some individuals taking Ozempic for type 2 diabetes, despite hair loss not being listed as a known side effect of the medication.
While researchers note that hair loss occurring during Ozempic treatment may be linked to the underlying condition of type 2 diabetes, they emphasize that the medication itself may not be the primary cause of this issue.
Type 2 diabetes has been identified as a potential risk factor for alopecia, a condition characterised by hair thinning and loss.
Specifically, type 2 diabetes may contribute to alopecia areata, an autoimmune-related form of hair loss. In this condition, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, leading to their damage and subsequent inability to produce new hair.
Experts point out that while Ozempic is effective in managing the symptoms of type 2 diabetes by regulating insulin production, the underlying health issues associated with diabetes, such as hair loss, may persist.
As the medical community continues to explore these connections, patients need to engage in open discussions with their healthcare providers about any potential side effects or concerns related to their treatment.