Do GLP1 RA drugs damage the gut?

Do GLP1 RA drugs damage the gut?
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

The most common negative side effects of taking GLP1 Receptor Agonist drugs are gut related.

Luckily for us, with the widespread availability and interest in GLP1 RA drugs like Ozempic, Mounjaroy, Wegovy and others, there is much research to read on the likelihood of these risks.

In the research these are normally called "Gastrointestinal Adverse Events".

Researchers dug around a large dataset (16 million patients from PharMetics Plus for Academics) detailing gastrointestinal problems in people taking GLP1 agonist drugs, and here it is:

GLP-1 Agonists and Gastrointestinal Adverse Events
This database study examines the association between glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists (eg, semaglutide, liraglutide) used for weight loss and reports of gastrointestinal adverse events.

What were the results of the research?

The researchers found/confirmed the following:

But they did not find increased risk for biliary disease (including galbladder disease).

As they note in the paper, while these effects are rare, they should be considered by people contemplating using the drugs:

Given the wide use of these drugs, these adverse events, although rare, must be considered by patients who are contemplating using the drugs for weight loss because the risk-benefit calculus for this group might differ from that of those who use them for diabetes. Limitations include that although all GLP-1 agonist users had a record for obesity without diabetes, whether GLP-1 agonists were all used for weight loss is uncertain.

Should you take GLP1 RA drugs (Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro)?

What's important is to weight the risks/dangers of obesity and/or other related diseases (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc) with the risks posed by GLP1 drugs.

Avoiding a small chance of pancreatitis must be weighted against other complications of obesity like heart disease which is much more prevalent and likely to kill.

The best advice is likely going to come from your doctor/primary care physician or relevant medical professional, but at the very least now you've got the research on the negative effects of GLP1 RA drugs so far.

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