Introducing any new drug into your therapy plan can come with some potential complications. That’s why it’s crucial to educate yourself about the side effects of new medications and consult the decision with a medical professional.
If you’re considering the implementation of Ozempic, but you’re not sure how the drug may affect your kidneys, this article will help you find the answers.
What Is Ozempic? Quick Introduction
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a prescription medication that belongs to the class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. The drug’s effects mimic those of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which takes part in the process of regulating blood sugar levels in the human body.
For this reason, Ozempic is often prescribed to adult individuals with type 2 diabetes. The drug is taken in the form of injections and sold in the form of disposable pens.
Ozempic helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body, but it can also reduce the risks of other serious conditions, like heart attacks and strokes. The substance has been known to be effective in supporting weight loss as well.
While some patients with type 2 diabetes rely on the drug to help mitigate serious symptoms of the illness, it doesn’t mean Ozempic is exempt from side effects.
Potential Side Effects of Ozempic
- Abdominal pain
- Injection-related issues
How Does Ozempic Affect the Kidneys?
Can Ozempic cause kidney problems? The correlation between taking Ozempic and kidney function failure is still being researched, and the results we have today are inconclusive.
One paper from 2021 published in Kidney Medicine described two separate cases of patients with chronic kidney disease experiencing the “rapid worsening of kidney function and increased proteinuria after being prescribed the GLP-1 receptor agonist semaglutide.“
This research offers a valuable analysis of the two cases of acute kidney injury after administering semaglutide. However, both of the individuals were already affected by chronic diabetic kidney disease prior to taking the drug and experiencing a decline in their kidney function.
But, the research also points to the fact that Ozempic had overall higher rates of acute kidney injury in comparison to other drugs and placebo trials (8 events with semaglutide compared to 0 with placebo).
The researchers recommended caution when administering Ozempic to individuals with severe chronic kidney disease as well as less serious kidney-related issues.
Another study published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology a year earlier didn’t showcase any substantial correlation between taking Ozempic and experiencing kidney failure.
A study from 2022 from the Clinical Kidney Journal with a pool of 122 patients described the positive effects of semaglutide on their overall condition and did not provide evidence that the drug was responsible for any acute kidney-related problems after being administered for 12 months.
We can also take into consideration a 2023 study on the Effects of Semaglutide on Albuminuria and Kidney Function in People With Overweight or Obesity With or Without Type 2 Diabetes. This paper also failed to offer any evidence on semaglutide causing acute renal failure in patients with normal kidney function.
So, does semaglutide affect kidney function?
As presented above, we do have some evidence to outline a correlation between administering Ozempic and experiencing adverse kidney events. Studies suggest that semaglutide does not cause many negative renal outcomes, especially in patients who don’t suffer from diabetic kidney disease.
Still, some patients may experience a probable adverse drug reaction, including a negative kidney function outcome, which is why the drug should be administered under medical supervision only.
Who Should Not Use Ozempic?
There is a group of patients that should not be administering Ozempic unless their medical care provider decides differently. In this group are patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.
The drug is not recommended for individuals with type 1 diabetes, as well as diabetic ketoacidosis or pancreatitis.
Ozempic cannot be offered to patients younger than 18 years old, pregnant and breastfeeding individuals, as well as patients with a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) and suffering from Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
Ozempic and Kidney Disease - Final Thoughts
Research consistently shows positive effects of semaglutide on cardiovascular and renal outcomes. Nevertheless, it is possible to experience acute kidney injury after taking the Ozempic. However, the risk of that is considerably low, especially in individuals without a history of chronic kidney disease.
Still, patients with type 2 diabetes on this medication should be under medical supervision. Regular kidney screenings are recommended to catch early symptoms of kidney disease progression.
- Acute Kidney Injury Associated With Semaglutide, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8039426/
- Semaglutide in type 2 diabetes with chronic kidney disease at high risk progression—real-world clinical practice, https://academic.oup.com/ckj/article/15/8/1593/6566370?login=false
- Effects of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide on kidney function and safety in patients with type 2 diabetes: a post-hoc analysis of the SUSTAIN 1–7 randomised controlled trials, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2213858720303132
- Effects of Semaglutide on Albuminuria and Kidney Function in People With Overweight or Obesity With or Without Type 2 Diabetes: Exploratory Analysis From the STEP 1, 2, and 3 Trials, https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article/46/4/801/148456/Effects-of-Semaglutide-on-Albuminuria-and-Kidney
- Ozempic For Weight Loss: Side Effects, Risks And More, https://www.forbes.com/health/body/ozempic-for-weight-loss/