Eye Check Important Before Starting Semaglutide for Diabetes
A small potential increased risk of retinopathy worsening at 1 year with injected semaglutide (Ozempic, Novo Nordisk), a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist approved for type 2 diabetes, doesn't outweigh the drug's cardiovascular benefits but does highlight the need for baseline ophthalmologic evaluation before initiating treatment and ongoing retinal monitoring, researchers say.
That conclusion was based on data from a meta-analysis of the seven major cardiovascular outcomes trials of GLP-1 agonists currently on the market.
Concerns about retinopathy worsening with the GLP-1 agonist drug class first arose from the SUSTAIN-6 cardiovascular outcomes trial for injectable semaglutide, although a subsequent analysis of data from that trial appeared to suggest the problem is likely due to rapid glucose-lowering in already vulnerable patients rather than a drug-specific effect. This effect had been previously reported, most notably in the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial.