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Study: Popular diabetes drugs may not pose pancreatic cancer risk

But UCI Health expert calls for more research of Ozempic, Wegovy and others

January 12, 2024

IN THE NEWS: A new study has found that increasingly popular type 2 diabetes medications like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro do not pose a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. These and similar drugs all contain semaglutide and are called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.


Dr. Kishore Gadde, a bariatric medicine physician with UCI Health who was not involved in the study, pointed out that some earlier studies suggested a possible increased risk of pancreatic cancer among people taking these medications. He also pointed out that clinical trials for GLP-1 drugs typically exclude people with significant pre-existing pancreatic disease. As a result, he tells Healthline more real-world data and additional large studies are needed.

“Until we have more data, we need to be watchful about the risks of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, bowel obstruction and gastroparesis [delayed gastric emptying] when prescribing GLP-1 receptor agonists.”

Gadde is a professor of surgery and psychiatry and human behavior at the UCI School of Medicine. He primarily conducts clinical research in obesity, type 2 diabetes and other weight-related disorders. His clinical interests include obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular health and medical weight management.

He is the author of more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and the first or senior author of numerous publications in high-impact journals. He also has served as the lead investigator and international coordinating investigator of numerous clinical trials of drugs for obesity, type 2 diabetes and other weight-related metabolic disorders.

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