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Weight loss medications cause digestive problems

Injectable diabetes medications that have become widely used for weight loss can cause serious digestive problems for a small proportion of users, according to a study by the University of British Columbia, Canada. Side-effects are rare—with Ozempic, for example, 1% of patients suffered stomach paralysis. With millions of people taking these medications, however, these complications are not uncommon in absolute numbers. “A 1% risk still translates to many people who may experience these events,” epidemiologist Mahyar Etminan, lead author of the study, told CNN. The researchers compared data from 4,757 users of two classes of these injectable medicines—semaglutide and liraglutide—with 654 users of another type of weight loss medicine: the combination of naltrexone and bupropion, sold in tablets. Some diabetes patients who use injectable drugs suffer from gastrointestinal problems, but it was not known whether this was due to the medicine or not and whether the same issues were experienced by obese patients without diabetes. The conclusion was that even for nondiabetics, there is a small increase in the risk of developing pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction, and stomach paralysis (CNN Health and Journal of the American Medical Association, October 5).