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Study Links Semaglutide to Risk of NAION in Type 2 Diabetes and Obese Patients

A recent study has found that semaglutide, a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) and obesity, may be associated with an increased risk of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). The findings were published online on July 3 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

The study, led by Dr. Jimena Tatiana Hathaway from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, investigated the potential link between semaglutide and NAION through a retrospective matched cohort analysis. Researchers analyzed data from 16,827 patients, including 710 with type 2 diabetes and 979 who were overweight or obese.

Among the type 2 diabetes patients, 194 were prescribed semaglutide, while 516 were given other non-GLP1-RA antidiabetic medications. In the group of overweight or obese patients, 361 were prescribed semaglutide, and 618 were prescribed other non-GLP1-RA weight-loss medications.

The study highlights a significant observation regarding the potential ocular side effects of semaglutide, which is commonly used for managing blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes and aiding weight loss in overweight or obese individuals. The association between semaglutide and NAION calls for further research to understand the underlying mechanisms and to evaluate the risk-benefit profile of this medication in different patient populations. 

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