Study on Rare Fatal Reactions to Ozempic Is Very Alarming

( – There’s some bad news for people who get their health advice from TikTok. “Influencers” on the controversial social media platform have been promoting the diabetes drug Ozempic as a weight loss solution. Unfortunately, it turns out that using it this way can have lethal consequences.

A new study by researchers from the University of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia has looked at the safety of Ozempic, which was developed to treat Type 2 diabetes. In 2021, more than eight million Americans were prescribed the drug, and it’s an effective way to manage blood sugar levels. However, it’s also been heavily promoted on TikTok as a weight loss drug — and it turns out there can be serious, and previously unknown, side effects when used that way.

Clinical pharmacology researchers Mansour Tobaiqy and Hajer Elkout looked at European Medicines Agency data on adverse effects from Ozempic and other drugs that use the same active ingredient, the synthetic hormone semaglutide. They found 31,444 “adverse events” — reports of side effects — including 481 psychiatric episodes, mainly anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Worst of all, nine of those psychiatric episodes had fatal outcomes when the victims committed suicide.

Known side effects of Ozempic include gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, and heartburn, but the psychiatric issues hadn’t been identified before. A single study isn’t enough to confirm that this is a real risk, but experts are calling for more research into the possible danger.

Tobaiqy called on doctors to consider a patient’s mental health history before prescribing Ozempic. Michael Bloomfield of University College London backed him, saying that considering how serious the potential side effects are, more investigation is needed. He speculated that patients who already have depression or suicidal thoughts could be more vulnerable to the drug, and warned that anyone taking Ozempic who experiences mood changes should talk to their doctor. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to stop getting your medical advice from TikTok.

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