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Side Effects of Ozempic and Similar Drugs You Should Be Concerned About

Side Effects of Ozempic and Similar Drugs You Should Be Concerned About

The extremely popular semaglutide and tirzepatide medications used for type 2 diabetes and weight loss have proven to help millions achieve better health, but like many medications, they aren’t without side effects. While some reported side effects or adverse reactions aren’t serious and subside over time, others can cause permanent damage, so it’s important to know the risks and when to be concerned.

Tirzepatide, sold under brand names Mounjaro and Zepbound, and semaglutide, sold under the names Wegovy and Ozempic, help lower blood sugar levels in the body and suppress hunger. The most common side effects are nausea, constipation, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting that often get better over time. However, there are more serious side effects that can cause complications and even hospitalization.

Vision Changes

Studies found that Ozempic and medications that contain tirzepatide can cause vision changes. When the body experiences a fluctuation or change in blood sugar levels, it can affect the shape of the eye’s lens, resulting in blurry vision that could last up to a few months. This is most common in older people when first beginning these medications, as the eye’s lens become less flexible with age.

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye disease that can lead to blindness, and people with type 2 diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar issues are the most at risk for developing it. It’s seems counterintuitive that drugs made to help control diabetes would make the condition worse, but it’s not a new finding that controlling blood sugar levels can have an adverse effect on your vision. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking and have regular eye exams to track any vision changes you may be experiencing.

Severe GI-Related Issues

While some GI issues are fairly common with this class of medications, prolonged or serious stomach issues are always a cause for concern. Some users have reported experiencing gastroparesis, stomach paralysis that can lead to lead to hospitalization and permanent damage, though there is no direct evidence yet that the medications caused the condition.

Also called delayed gastric emptying, gastroparesis is when the nerves and stomach muscles become weak and unable to move food properly through the body. Symptoms include abdominal pain and bloating, nausea, vomiting, a feeling of fullness after eating small amounts, acid reflux and vomiting undigested food eaten hours earlier. Because gastroparesis slows or stalls the movement of undigested food in the stomach, it can harden and lead to the formation of an ileus. An ileus is a serious bowel or intestinal obstruction that prohibits the waste from passing through the gut. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.

Gallbladder Issues

If you experience abdominal pain, pain in your shoulder blades or shoulder, nausea or vomiting, make an appointment to see your doctor. If these symptoms are so severe that you are unable to stand or walk comfortably, have fever with chills or have yellowing of the skin or eyes, you should seek immediate treatment.


While uncommon, it has been reported in those taking Ozempic and similar medications. The pancreas is a gland that releases insulin and other enzymes needed to digest food. Swelling of the pancreas can cause short-term acute pancreatitis or it can lead to chronic pancreatitis. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal tenderness or pain and jaundice.

Thyroid Tumors or Cancer

Certain people are at a higher risk for thyroid tumors or cancer, the most serious though rare potential issues, when taking tirzepatide. Those who have medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or who have a family history of it, or who have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) should not use Ozempic, or any medication that contains the active ingredient, semaglutide. If you develop a lump or swelling in the neck, have trouble swallowing, hoarseness or difficulty breathing, notify your doctor immediately.

The Ozempic and Mounjaro group of drugs can be life-changing for many who are prescribed these medications, but also come with risks and side effects that can lead to severe and in the most extreme cases, life-threatening, issues. Talk to your doctor about whether these medications are right for you and be sure to report any concerns or side effects right away.