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Doctors Urge Caution with Popular Weight Loss Medications Amid Anesthesia Risks

August 16, 2023

Medical professionals are sounding the alarm on widely used weight loss drugs, including Ozempic and Wegovy, due to their potential to cause life-threatening complications during anesthesia. Anesthesiologists have noticed that patients who are on medications containing semaglutide, the active ingredient in these drugs, can have undigested stomach contents even after fasting for extended periods. This elevates the risk of pulmonary aspiration during anesthesia. Consequently, healthcare experts recommend discontinuing these medications for a duration of up to three weeks before undergoing surgical procedures or any treatment requiring anesthesia.

While the American Society of Anesthesiologists suggests that patients should skip these drugs on the day of surgery and pause weekly injections for one week prior to sedation procedures, some anesthesiologists argue for a longer cessation period. They propose that halting the drugs for three weeks could eliminate approximately 88% of the medication from the body, resulting in less substantial stomach contents after fasting and ensuring safer sedation practices. This recommendation was recently published in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.

Apart from anesthesia concerns, there are additional worries surrounding potential side effects of drugs like Ozempic. A lawsuit filed this month alleges that the manufacturers of Ozempic and Mounjaro, namely Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, respectively, inadequately informed patients about the risk of severe stomach problems as a side effect. Furthermore, rodent studies have indicated a possible connection between Ozempic and thyroid tumors and cancer.

Furthermore, evidence suggests that many individuals who cease taking these medications tend to regain the weight they initially lost within three to five years, and some might even experience more weight gain. There are also apprehensions about the nature of weight loss, with reports indicating that patients might undergo significant muscle mass reduction alongside fat loss. This has led to questions regarding the broader implications for body composition.

Despite these apprehensions, the use of weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy is on the rise, with market predictions estimating the worth of obesity medications to reach $200 billion in the near future. It remains crucial for those contemplating these drugs to be fully aware of the potential risks and to consult with their healthcare providers before making any decisions.

Source: The Press Rundown

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