New Study Identifies Ozempic Linked to an Eye Condition Leading to Blindness

Image used for information purpose only. Picture Credit:

A new study has linked popular weight-loss medications Ozempic and Wegovy to an eye condition that can cause blindness. The study found that people with diabetes prescribed semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic) were over four times more likely to be diagnosed with non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (Naion). Additionally, individuals who were overweight or obese and prescribed these drugs were more than seven times as likely to develop Naion compared to those on other weight-loss medications.

Naion, a rare condition, results from inadequate blood flow to the optic nerve, leading to sudden, painless vision loss in one eye, often noticed upon waking. Currently, there are no treatments for Naion, and vision recovery is rare.

The study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology and led by Joseph Rizzo, a professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, highlighted the need for patients and physicians to discuss Naion as a potential risk. “The use of these drugs has exploded throughout industrialized countries and they have provided very significant benefits in many ways, but future discussions between a patient and their physician should include Naion as a potential risk,” said Prof. Rizzo.

Naion affects approximately 10 out of every 100,000 people in the general population. Prof. Rizzo and his colleagues began investigating the potential link between semaglutide and Naion after three of his patients were diagnosed with the condition within a single week—all of whom were taking semaglutide.

The researchers analyzed data from over 16,000 patients treated at Mass Eye and Ear, a Harvard teaching hospital, over six years. They compared patients prescribed semaglutide with those taking other diabetes or weight-loss medications. Among 16,827 patients, 710 had type 2 diabetes, with 194 prescribed semaglutide. In the overweight or obese group, 979 patients were identified, with 361 on semaglutide.

In those with type 2 diabetes, 17 Naion events occurred among patients prescribed semaglutide compared to six events in those on other diabetes medications. Over three years, 8.9% of patients on semaglutide experienced Naion compared to 1.8% on other drugs.

Read More: Click Here