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As weight loss medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy gain popularity among conventional medical practitioners, emerging evidence indicates that these drugs carry significant, life-altering risks.

A recent study suggests that users of Ozempic and Wegovy face an elevated risk of developing a potentially blinding eye condition associated with the injection of reptile venom peptides.

The study, which was published in JAMA Ophthalmology, has sparked conerns about a potential link between semaglutide, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity, and an increased risk of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).

NAION is a serious condition that can cause sudden vision loss and involves damage to the optic nerve.

Conducted by Jimena Tatiana Hathaway, MD, MPH, and her colleagues, the research explores the connection between semaglutide use and the occurrence of NAION.

The team carried out a retrospective matched cohort study using data from a centralized registry covering patients evaluated by neuro-ophthalmologists at an academic institution between December 2017 and November 2023.

The study involved 16,827 patients with no history of NAION. Among them, 710 had type 2 diabetes (T2D) and 979 were overweight or obese. Within these groups, patients were prescribed either semaglutide or non–glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) medications for managing their conditions.

“The study found people with diabetes who had been prescribed semaglutide by their physician and then filled the prescription were more than four times more likely to be diagnosed with NAION,” the authors wrote in a press release, adding, “Those who were overweight or obese and were prescribed this drug were more than seven times more likely to get the diagnosis.”

In the group of patients with Type-2 diabetes, there were 17 occurrences of NAION in those prescribed semaglutide, compared to 6 cases in those prescribed non–GLP-1 RA anti-diabetic medications. Over a period of 36 months, the cumulative incidence of NAION was 8.9% in the semaglutide group and 1.8% in the non–GLP-1 RA group.

Among obese patients, 20 cases of NAION were observed in the semaglutide group, while only 3 cases occurred in the non–GLP-1 RA group. The cumulative incidence of NAION over 36 months was 6.7% for those on semaglutide and 0.8% for those on non–GLP-1 RA medications.

Ozempic and Wegovy are medications containing synthesized peptides derived from the venom of Gila Monster reptiles.

This venom contains a compound that can regulate hunger similar to a hormone naturally produced in human intestines. However, the lizard-derived version has a longer-lasting effect targeting the Vagus nerve.

While these medications have introduced a new category of treatments for obesity and diabetes, they also disrupt organ systems.

The drug functions by disrupting hunger signals from the brain to the digestive system and primarily achieves weight loss by affecting the function of the Vagus nerve. As this nerve is vital for various bodily functions such as digestion, circulation, respiration, cognitive function, and more, extensive influence over it raises concerns about potential organ damage throughout the body.

Negative effects on the eyes have been identified by researchers, but it is likely that damage will be documented across entire organ systems in a manner resembling systemic effects seen in victims of venomous snake bites due to continued disruption of the Vagus nerve.

Accumulation of venom doses from prolonged use may lead to significant harm over time. The drug’s already listed side effects correspond with potential failure in crucial systems such as digestion, heart rate regulation and immune function.

This suggests that blindness may only be an initial outcome among even worse potential effects. With millions already taking these drugs in the U.S., there is concern over an increase in organ damage cases in the future years.

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Doug Goldsmith

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  • Why is there no share option with this article? I have a friend who has been taking this stuff for Type 2 diabetes and who has been having serious vision problems and I wanted to share the article with her and I cannot find a way to do so. She has also developed other neurological problems I have seen referenced in other articles about these medicines, and I was able to get that article to her, however, it was so technical she gave up trying to read it.

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