Ozempic, Wegovy Vision Change Side Effects May Leave Users With Blurred Sight, Blindness: Study

The risk of Ozempic and Wegovy vision changes were seven times higher than for patients who took non-semaglutide drugs for diabetes and weight loss.

The results of a new study raises serious concerns about the risk of vision side effects from Ozempic and Wegovy, indicating that certain users of the blockbuster diabetes and weight loss drugs could experience a condition known as non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), which can result in sudden vision changes, and potentially lead to blindness.

In findings published in the medical journal JAMA Ophthalmology on July 3, a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School indicate that users of Ozempic and Wegovy may be seven times more likely to experience vision changes, including blurred vision or vision loss, when compared to those given other medications.

Ozempic (semaglutide) was initially introduced for the treatment of people with Type 2 diabetes in late 2017, as part of a new class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). However, amid aggressive advertisements that promoted the weight loss benefits, Ozempic has been increasingly prescribed as a diet drug in recent years, making it a blockbuster treatment that is now used by millions of Americans.

As a result of the popularity of Ozempic for weight loss, Novo Nordisk has introduced a higher dose version under the brand name Wegovy, which is specifically approved as a diet drug. However, it contains the same active ingredient.

Due to the drug makers’ failure to adequately warn about the risk of severe gastrointestinal complications, including intestinal blockages and stomach paralysis, thousands of former users are now pursuing Ozempic lawsuits and Wegovy lawsuits against Novo Nordisk, each raising similar allegations that the manufacturers placed a desire for increased profits above consumer safety by failing to research and disclose gastroparesis side effects users may experience. It now appears that these new findings could result in a new wave of Ozempic and Wegovy vision loss lawsuits, for former users diagnosed with NAION, which results from a lack of sufficient blood flow to the optic nerve.

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Lawyers are pursuing Ozempic lawsuits, Wegovy lawsuits and Mounjaro lawsuits over gastroparesis or stomach paralysis, which can leave users with long-term gastrointestinal side effects

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This new study was led by Dr. Jimena Tatiana Hathaway, whose team of researchers sought to determine if semaglutide, the active ingredient in both Wegovy and Ozempic, was linked to an increased risk of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) for individuals who have type 2 diabetes, or are overweight or obese. NAION is often linked to sudden blindness, particularly in one eye, as well as other vision changes.

Researchers conducted a matched cohort study involving data from nearly 17,000 patients evaluated by neuro-ophthalmologists from December 1, 2017, through November 30, 2023. They compared patients who were given Ozempic and Wegovy to patients given non-semaglutide GLP-1 RAs, like Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro.

According to the findings, patients had more than seven times the risk of Ozempic and Wegovy vision change side effects, such as blurred vision or vision loss, than those given non-semaglutide medications. Patients with type 2 diabetes experienced higher odds of experiencing vision problems, the researchers found.

“Our main finding is that prescribed semaglutide is associated with an increased risk of NAION. Despite extensive study, the pathogenesis of NAION has not been fully eludicated,” Hathway and her team determined. “The best approaches to confirm, refute, or refine our findings would be to conduct a much larger, retrospective, multicenter population-based cohort study; a prospective, randomized clinical study; or a postmarket analysis of all GLP-1 RA drugs.”

July 2024 Ozempic, Wegovy Lawsuit Update

The findings of this new study on Ozempic and Wegovy vision changes, come as growing evidence emerges about other side effects associated with the medications, which may not have been adequately disclosed on the drugs’s warning label.

In October 2023, a study was published that found GLP1s triple the risk of the stomach paralysis among users when compared to users of non-injectable weight loss drugs, igniting a rapid rise in litigation against Novo Nordisk and the makers of similar other weight loss and diabetes drugs from the same class of medications.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation established coordinated pretrial proceedings for all GLP-1 RA drug lawsuits, centralizing claims brought throughout the federal court system in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

As part of the coordinated management of the growing litigation, it is expected that the parties will identify a small group of “bellwether” cases involving stomach paralysis injuries to prepare for early trial dates, which will help help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims. However, if the parties are unable to negotiate Ozempic and Wegovy settlements, or another resolution for the litigation following any early test trials, each individual lawsuit may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial date in the future.

Image Credit: Marc Bruxelle

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