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Ozempic Babies, Another Side Effect

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The term “Ozempic babies” or children being conceived by women taking the weight-loss drug is another concerning side effect of semaglutide medications.

Santa Clara, CAWomen on birth control or presumed to be infertile have been reporting surprise pregnancies while on Ozempic and similar medications. Referred to as “Ozempic Babies”, they add to increasing concern over the side effects of these diabetes and weight-loss drugs. Healthcare professionals, seeing an association between these medications and unexpected pregnancy on birth control, are warning that these drugs may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraception.

A USA Today article published last month reports that both reproductive and weight loss experts are seeing the pregnancies among users of Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro. While it is understandable that women’s fertility can increase due to weight loss caused by the medications (overweight women trying to conceive are typically advised to lose weight), experts suspect that, although these GLP-1 medications are reducing their effectiveness, they are warning women not to take these drugs to get pregnant because previous studies associate weight loss medications to a potential risk of miscarriages and birth defects. Weight loss drugs of any kind generally warn women to stop using the medications for at least two months before trying to get pregnant.

Although some users have speculated that women’s fertility may be increasing as a result of the weight loss caused by the drugs, the experts noted that weight loss health benefits are unlikely to explain how women are becoming pregnant while taking birth control pills, leading some health experts to suspect that GLP-1 RA drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro are counteracting, or reducing their effectiveness.

One expert, Dr. Ilana Ramer Bass, an assistant professor in the division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Mount Sinai Morningside and West in New York and leader of the Mount Sinai Morningside Weight Loss Program, told CBS News that, “Obesity and being overweight  are definitely risk factors for multiple adverse outcomes in pregnancy…those increased risk factors include early spontaneous miscarriages and congenital abnormalities, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and cardiac dysfunction. Maternal obesity can also heighten difficulties with labor and postpartum recovery.”

Knowing that excess weight may increase the risk of miscarriage and pregnancy complications, it’s tempting for overweight women to use Ozempic or a similar drug before pregnancy, but not much is known about how they can affect a fetus. According to the New York Times, patients are alarmed at just how little information there is on the risks of taking these drugs before or during pregnancy. With next to no data on Mounjaro, Ozempic and similar medications during pregnancy, doctors typically recommend that women stop taking them at least two months before trying to conceive. (Note to manufacturers: is this risk added to your warning label?)

So, women can opt to stay on the drugs long enough to lose weight, but not so long to potentially put a fetus at risk. It could be a slippery slope. For “a journey as unpredictable and individualized as fertility,” that can be extraordinarily difficult to navigate, Dr. Akua Nuako, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital focused on obesity and weight-loss medications, told the NYT. “These drugs just add “another level of difficulty,” said Nuako.

According to USA Today, tests carried out on monkeys, rats and rabbits revealed that these weight-loss injections can lead to miscarriage and birth defects if they are used during pregnancy. Granted, findings in animals don’t necessarily translate to humans, but on the other hand, there is currently no sufficient evidence that GLP-1s are safe to use during pregnancy, mainly because pregnant women are mainly excluded from clinical trials. One human study published in JAMA, however, found that women with Type 2 diabetes who were taking these drugs when they conceived or in early pregnancy did not have a higher risk of delivering babies with major congenital malformations than those who took insulin.

One Mounjaro user told the NYT that she is worried about the possible long-term effects of the medication on her body. “It is kind of concerning,” she said. “You think, ‘is this just the ’90s, where we’re taking diet pills you get from the gas station?’”

The makers of semaglutide medications are still promoting their drugs and as safe and effective, with few long-term side effects. But Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro lawsuits claiming these drugs cause gastroparesis, a condition that severely impairs stomach muscle function lawsuits are mounting. Will Ozempic birth defects be next?

Although advertisements promote the drugs as safe and effective, with few long-term side effects, former users are now pursuing Ozempic lawsuits, Wegovy lawsuits and Mounjaro lawsuits against the manufacturers, each raising similar allegations that the drug labels fail to adequately warn about the risk of severe and long-lasting side effects, including a form of severe stomach paralysis, known as gastroparesis.



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