Banner Health says more patients getting hospitalized due to Ozempic

Portrait of a Latin woman at home taking an insulin shot on her own arm.

Recent reports from the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center have illuminated a concerning surge in calls related to complications stemming from the usage of semaglutide, primarily known for its application in treating Type 2 diabetes but increasingly recognized as a weight-loss drug.

The escalation in concern is evident as the center disclosed a substantial rise in calls associated with adverse reactions linked to semaglutide. In 2023 alone, the center fielded a staggering 83 calls, a marked increase compared to the 44 reported calls in 2022, outlining a worrisome trend in the drug’s impact on individuals.

The callers reaching out to the center have been presenting symptoms consistent with nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, indicating the prevalence of these distressing side effects among those using semaglutide. More alarmingly, a higher number of patients have necessitated hospitalization due to the severity of these symptoms within the past year, as highlighted by the center’s records.

Maureen Roland, the director of the center, urged caution and emphasized the need for careful consideration before using semaglutide, especially when obtained from a compounding pharmacy where patients might self-administer doses. Roland highlighted instances of therapeutic errors observed in such scenarios and urged patients to engage in thorough discussions with their healthcare providers regarding the medication’s benefits and potential risks.

Semaglutide’s recent emergence as a weight-loss treatment has contributed to its growing popularity, a transition the center has cautioned against. Dr. Farah Husain, Banner Health’s division chief of bariatric and metabolic surgery, stressed the importance of understanding that semaglutide should not be considered a recreational or casual weight-loss solution, emphasizing the critical role of healthcare professionals in its supervision and monitoring.

In light of these concerning developments, the center emphasized the necessity for patients encountering issues related to the medication to reach out for assistance. A dedicated helpline, 1-800-222-1222, has been made available for individuals experiencing any complications or seeking guidance regarding semaglutide usage, reinforcing the importance of seeking prompt medical advice in such circumstances.

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