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expert reaction to study suggesting an association between semaglutide and a form of sight-threatening neuropathy

A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology looks at optic neuropathy as a possible side effect of semaglutide. 


Prof Graham McGeown, Honorary Professor of Physiology, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), said:

“This work has been carried out to a high level of quality and the authors have clearly identified the main weaknesses, which relate to how representative the group of patients being referred to them may be in terms of the wider US population. Considerable efforts have been made to use statistical methods to match their study groups for confounders, although, as the authors state, this is difficult as the severity of the condition being treated with the semaglutide (type 2 diabetes or obesity) may also be important.

“This research does suggest an association between semaglutide treatment and one form of sight-threatening optic neuropathy, but this would ideally be tested in larger studies. Given the rapid increase in semaglutide use and its possible licensing for a range of problems other than obesity and type-2 diabetes, this issue deserves further study, but possible drug side effects always need to be balanced against likely benefits.”



Risk of Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy in Patients Prescribed Semaglutide’ by Jimena Tatiana Hathaway et al. was published in JAMA Ophthalmology at 16:00 UK time on Wednesday July 3.


DOI: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2024.2296



Declared interests

For all other experts, no reply to our request for DOIs was received.

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