Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Study Highlights Aspiration Pneumonia Risk During Endoscopic Procedures in Patients Using GLP-1 Treatments like Ozempic

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A recent study, featured in the journal Gastroenterology, has raised potential concerns about GLP-1 diabetes and obesity treatments, such as Ozempic, particularly for patients who are undergoing endoscopic procedures. These drugs, known to delay stomach emptying, may increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia, an infection resulting from food inhalation into the lungs. This risk is especially heightened in patients who have fasted for surgery or endoscopy but may still have food in their stomachs due to the medication’s effects.

Upon analyzing health records, researchers found that the overall risk of aspiration pneumonia in users of GLP-1 drugs was low at 0.83%. However, it was 33% higher than those not on the medication. The risk increased to 48% for patients having upper endoscopies and more than doubled for those undergoing combined upper endoscopies and colonoscopies. The risk did not rise for patients undergoing only colonoscopy procedures. Patients who were sedated with propofol and on GLP-1 treatments had a 49% higher risk of aspiration pneumonia.

Research Urges Review of GLP-1 Medication Guidelines Before Endoscopy, Highlighting Aspiration Risks

The data gathered from 2018 to 2020 predates the approval of newer GLP-1 medications like Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound. This fact indicates a necessity for further investigation into how these drugs might affect procedural risks. The findings of the study have ignited talks among medical professionals on the best ways to manage patients on GLP-1 drugs before endoscopic procedures, as existing guidelines offer conflicting advice.

Despite the study’s observational nature and the inability to demonstrate causation, it brings attention to a possibly significant issue. This concern is primarily due to the high number of endoscopic procedures performed annually in the U.S. Aspiration pneumonia, though often treatable, presents additional risks for vulnerable populations, specifically the immunocompromised or those with pre-existing lung conditions.

Endoscopic Procedures

GLP-1 Treatments Under Scrutiny: Highlighting Aspiration Risks in Endoscopic Procedures

Experts underline that the study should primarily serve as a basis for further research, not as a reason to stop GLP-1 drug use. The focus should be on heightened awareness and preventive measures when performing procedures on patients taking these medications. This focus aims to ensure the efficacy of GLP-1 therapies and the safety of medical procedures.

The potential increase in aspiration pneumonia risk among users of GLP-1 diabetes and obesity treatments, particularly those undergoing endoscopic procedures, was highlighted. A low overall risk of 0.83% was observed among GLP-1 drug users, but the risk was 33% higher than for non-users. The risk rose to 48% for patients undergoing upper endoscopies and over doubled for combined upper endoscopies and colonoscopies. The study’s findings indicated a need for further research and increased preventive measures when treating patients on these medications.


Resource: Health Economics, March 28, 2024

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