New Study Potentially Links Ozempic to Eye Stroke

by | Jul 8, 2024 | Defective Drugs, Ozempic Injury, Ozempic Lawsuit, Ozempic Lawsuits, Product Liability

A recent study suggests that individuals using Ozempic or Wegovy may face a higher risk of developing non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), a rare form of eye stroke causing sudden vision loss. Despite this, doctors advise that these medications should not be avoided for treating diabetes or obesity.

At Kherkher Garcia, our harmful drug attorneys are committed to keeping our clients, families, and communities informed. Patients and consumers deserve to know about potentially devastating side effects from prescription medications. Read below to learn more about the recent study, Ozempic and other weight loss drugs, and the unfortunate side effects plaguing thousands of patients.

Details on Ozempic Eye Stroke Study

Last summer, Mass Eye and Ear doctors observed an unusual number of NAION cases, with three patients in one week who were all on semaglutide medications. Typically, NAION affects up to 10 out of 100,000 people, but a six-year review revealed that diabetes patients on semaglutide were over four times more likely to be diagnosed with NAION, and overweight or obese patients were over seven times more likely. The greatest risk was within the first year of starting semaglutide.

Published in JAMA Ophthalmology, the study cannot definitively link semaglutide to NAION, and the small sample size from a specialized center may not represent the broader population. Novo Nordisk, the drug’s manufacturer, stated that the study’s data is insufficient to prove causation.

Semaglutide prescriptions have surged in the U.S., potentially increasing the number of NAION cases. Despite the increased risk, NAION remains uncommon, and experts agree that the potential risk should not prevent the use of semaglutide for diabetes or obesity treatment. Patients taking semaglutide who are not diabetic or obese should proceed with caution.

The exact cause of NAION is unknown, and semaglutide’s impact on the eyes is not fully understood. The FDA acknowledges the potential vision risks associated with semaglutide and continues to review data to update drug labeling as needed. Patients using or considering semaglutide should discuss risks and benefits with their doctors, especially if they have other optic nerve issues. Consulting ophthalmologists is crucial if patients experience vision changes while on these medications.

Why are Prescription Weight Loss Medications So Popular?

Weight loss medications like Ozempic have gained significant popularity recently, with a growing number of people using these drugs for weight management. This trend is driven by the medications’ effectiveness in helping patients lose weight and manage obesity, alongside their primary purpose of treating diabetes.

Ozempic, a semaglutide medication, works by mimicking a hormone that regulates appetite and insulin levels, leading to reduced hunger and lower blood sugar levels. As a result, it has become a popular off-label choice for weight loss. This trend is reflected in the rising number of prescriptions, with a significant portion of the U.S. adult population reportedly using Ozempic or similar GLP-1 receptor agonists.

The effectiveness of Ozempic and other similar drugs in weight loss has been well-documented in clinical studies. These medications can lead to substantial weight loss, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with obesity or weight-related health issues. The success of these medications has prompted increased interest and demand, leading to their expanded use beyond the diabetes patient population.

However, the surge in popularity has also brought to light potential side effects and risks. Despite these concerns, health experts maintain that the benefits of using Ozempic for weight loss and diabetes management outweigh the risks for most patients. Medical professionals emphasize the importance of discussing potential risks and benefits with patients considering these medications.

Ongoing research and monitoring are essential to fully understand the long-term impacts of these drugs. As the popularity of weight loss medications like Ozempic continues to rise, both patients and healthcare providers must stay informed about new findings and safety guidelines to ensure their effective and safe use. As research continues, the question will become whether or not Ozempic is safe for individuals who are not obese and who are not at risk of diabetes.

What Exactly are GLP-1 Drugs?

GLP-1 drugs, also known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, are a class of medications primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes and, more recently, for weight management. These drugs mimic the action of the natural hormone GLP-1, which plays several roles in glucose metabolism and appetite regulation. Here are key aspects of GLP-1 drugs:

Mechanism of Action:

  • Enhance Insulin Secretion: GLP-1 drugs stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin in response to meals, which helps lower blood sugar levels.
  • Suppress Glucagon Release: They reduce the release of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar levels, thereby helping to keep blood sugar in check.
  • Slow Gastric Emptying: These medications slow the rate at which the stomach empties food into the intestines, promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing appetite.
  • Promote Satiety: GLP-1 drugs affect the brain’s appetite centers, leading to reduced food intake and weight loss.

Common GLP-1 Drugs:

  • Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon): An early GLP-1 drug, available in short-acting and long-acting formulations.
  • Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda): Used for both diabetes (Victoza) and weight management (Saxenda).
  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity): A once-weekly injection for managing type 2 diabetes.
  • Semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus, Wegovy): Available as both an injectable (Ozempic, Wegovy) and an oral medication (Rybelsus). Wegovy is specifically approved for weight management.
  • Albiglutide (Tanzeum): Another GLP-1 agonist, though less commonly used.

Overall, GLP-1 drugs are a valuable tool in managing type 2 diabetes and obesity, offering both glycemic control and weight loss benefits. However, they must be used under medical supervision due to potential side effects and risks. As more people use GLP-1 drugs simply for weight loss or management, we will certainly better understand the potential risks.

What Serious Side Effects are Linked to GLP-1 Drugs?

GLP-1 drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, have been associated with several serious side effects. While these medications are generally well-tolerated and effective for managing diabetes and promoting weight loss, they carry potential risks that patients and healthcare providers should consider. Some of the serious side effects linked to GLP-1 drugs include:


Inflammation of the pancreas is a known risk. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. If pancreatitis occurs, the medication should be discontinued immediately.


Gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach’s motility is impaired, causing delayed emptying of food into the intestines, leading to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, bloating, and feeling full quickly.

Gallbladder Disease

There is an increased risk of gallbladder-related issues, including gallstones and cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder). Patients may experience pain in the upper abdomen, fever, and jaundice.

Kidney Problems

GLP-1 drugs can cause or worsen kidney problems, including acute kidney injury. Patients should be monitored for signs of renal impairment, especially if they have a history of kidney disease.

Thyroid Tumors

Some studies have shown an increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors in rodents, though it’s unclear if this risk translates to humans. Nonetheless, these medications are contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Serious gastrointestinal side effects such as severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying) can occur, sometimes leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Rapid improvements in blood sugar control can lead to diabetic retinopathy complications, which may worsen or cause new vision issues.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION)

Recent studies suggest a possible link between GLP-1 drugs and NAION, a rare eye condition that can cause sudden, painless vision loss.


Although less common with GLP-1 agonists alone, the risk of hypoglycemia increases when used with other diabetes medications such as insulin or sulfonylureas.

Patients taking GLP-1 drugs should be closely monitored for these serious side effects, and any new symptoms should be promptly reported to their healthcare provider. Regular follow-ups and appropriate screenings are essential to mitigate these risks.

Have Questions About Ozempic Eye Stroke? Contact Kherkher Garcia Today!

Are you concerned about the recent findings linking Ozempic to eye stroke (non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, or NAION)? At Kherkher Garcia, we understand the importance of staying informed about your medications and their potential risks. Our dedicated team of legal professionals is here to help you navigate these concerns and provide the support you need.

With the increasing use of Ozempic for weight management, understanding the potential side effects is crucial. If you or a loved one has experienced sudden vision loss or other serious eye conditions while using Ozempic, you might have questions about your legal rights and options.

The harmful drug attorneys at Kherkher Garcia are committed to helping you seek justice and compensation. We offer personalized consultations to discuss your case, answer your questions, and guide you through the legal process with compassion and expertise.

Contact Kherkher Garcia today for a free Ozempic eye stroke consultation. We are here to provide the clarity and legal assistance you deserve. Call us now at 713-333-1030 or submit our website form to request additional information.


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Steve Kherkher

Steve Kherkher

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Steve Kherkher. Steve has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 30 years. He has won $300 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been catastrophically injured.

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