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Doctors warn of a NEW fatal complication of Ozempic and Wegovy that could cause food to be sucked into the lungs and suffocate patients

Surgery patients taking successful weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy may be at risk of choking, a study warns.

Researchers in California looked at nearly 1 million Americans who had undergone an endoscopy, which examined the upper digestive tract.

They found that patients who underwent the procedure – in which a tube with a camera on the end was inserted into the throat while the patient was anesthetized – were 33 percent more likely to develop aspiration pneumonia.

This causes food, liquids, or saliva to be drawn into the airways, which can lead to choking and kill nearly 60,000 Americans each year.

Dr. Ali Rezaie, study author and medical director of the GI Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said, “Aspiration during or after endoscopy can be devastating.”

Researchers found that those who took GLP-1 drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy before an endoscopy had a 33 percent greater risk of developing aspiration pneumonia

Weight loss medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy mimic the production of the hormone GLP-1, which keeps the body full

Weight loss medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy mimic the production of the hormone GLP-1, which keeps the body full

‘If significant, it can lead to respiratory failure, admission to intensive care and even death. Even mild cases may require close monitoring, respiratory support and medications, including antibiotics.”

‘It is important that we take every possible precaution to prevent aspiration.’

Ozempic and Wegovy are brand names for the drug semaglutide, which suppresses appetite and causes weight loss.

The drug binds to the GLP-1 receptor, a protein that activates hormones in the brain that keep the stomach full and tell the body to stop eating and avoid cravings.

Wegovy is FDA approved for type 2 diabetes, obesity and most recently heart disease.

Ozempic is FDA-approved for patients with type 2 diabetes, although off-label use for weight loss is becoming more common.

The researchers analyzed data from almost 1 million anonymous patients who had an endoscopy between January 2018 and December 2020.

They found that those prescribed GLP-1 medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy had a 33 percent higher chance of developing aspiration pneumonia than those who had not taken these medications before their endoscopy.

“If we apply this risk to the more than 20 million endoscopies performed annually in the US, there may actually be a large number of cases in which aspiration could be avoided if the patient safely stopped their GLP-1RA medications beforehand,” said Doctor Rezaie.

Aspiration pneumonia is an infection caused by inhaling food, saliva, bacteria, or liquid and becoming lodged in the airways.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood or pus, chest pain, bad breath and extreme fatigue.

Dr. Rezaie said GLP-1 drugs can lead to aspiration pneumonia before an endoscopy because the drugs slow digestion, causing food to remain in the stomach longer.

As a result, the stomach may not be completely empty while a patient is fasting, which is necessary before an endoscopy to get a clear picture.

This can cause asphyxiation because while a person is under general anesthesia, contents of the stomach can move toward the mouth and enter the trachea and lungs.

Dr. Yee Hui Yeo, lead author of the study and clinical fellow in the Karsh Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Cedars-Sinai, said, “The results of this study may change clinical practice.”

“Patients taking these medications who are scheduled to undergo a procedure should communicate with their healthcare team well in advance to avoid unnecessary and unwanted complications.”

Aspiration pneumonia is generally treated with antibiotics and ozygen therapy.

Although most people are expected to survive, aspiration pneumonia kills approximately 58,000 Americans each year. Data from 2022.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Gastroenterology.