Report: Ozempic and Wegovy Linked to Increased Risk of Vision-Threatening Optic Nerve Stroke

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People who were prescribed semaglutide available under the products of Ozempic for diabetes or Wegovy for weight reduction, were more inclined to be diagnosed with a rare condition referred to as NAION (nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy) compared to those who did not take the medications. This was the finding of a new study that was conducted by researchers from Mass General Brigham Hospital. The pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk, which is responsible for the marketing of Ozempic and Wegovy, has released a statement saying that it takes safety concerns for patients reports very seriously. According to the claims made by the firm, the findings of the recent study do not demonstrate a “causal association” connecting the drugs and the disease.

FACT: When there is a decrease in the amount of blood that flows to the optic nerve, a condition known as NAION can develop. It is actually the second most prevalent cause of blindness that results from injury to the optic nerve, with glaucoma being the most common cause.

The records of around 17,000 individuals who had Mass Eye & Ear were studied by researchers over the course of six years. The records were filtered down to include just those patients who were diagnosed either with type 2 diabetes or obesity. It was a period of six years that coincided with the time that Ozempic became available for purchase. The researchers also compared individuals who were administered semaglutide to those who were taking other drugs for diabetes or weight loss.

I would take it as a serious, cautionary bit of information – the kind of information that should be used by physicians in discussion with their patients; […] This study clearly shows an association between semaglutide and NAION, what we don’t know is whether it’s a cause and effect, explained Dr. Joseph Rizzo, director of neuro-ophthalmology at Mass General Brigham’s Mass Eye and Ear and the study’s author.

Study insights

Semaglutide was prescribed to 194 of the 710 patients who were diagnosed with diabetes, but 516 of them were also taking other drugs. In addition, the study underlines the fact that 17 individuals who were on semaglutide were diagnosed with NAION, but just six people who were taking other drugs were diagnosed with the ailment.

The marketing labels for the medications that have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration do not include a description of NAION as a potential adverse effect, according to Novo Nordisk.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.