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New Research indicates Ozempic and Wegovy do not elevate the risk of thyroid cancer.

by, IDS Intern, Krystal Bosenbark, MPH, MS

Though there were previous concerns that use of GLP-1 medications like the popular Ozempic and Wegovy could raise one’s risk of thyroid cancer, new research published to BMJ in April 2024 found no evidence supporting this association.

thyroid cancer

Previously, findings from multiple different studies suggested that taking GLP-1 analogues could increase the risk or likelihood of developing thyroid cancer when compared to not taking the medications. This, of course, had raised concerns about the safety of using these drugs, prompting even more research.

In their cohort study examining data from a Scandinavian database, Pasternak and colleagues compared 145,000 adults using GLP-1 analogues like semaglutide (Ozempic) and liraglutide (Victoza) to individuals who were taking a different class of glucose-lowering drugs called DPP4 inhibitors, and aimed to determine the association between use of these medications and the risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Study findings suggested that those taking the GLP-1 analogues did not have a higher likelihood of developing thyroid cancer compared to those taking the DPP4 inhibitors. Similar results were observed when comparing the use of GLP-1 analogues with SGLT2 inhibitors, another class of diabetes medications.

Though these results are promising, researchers cannot conclude that taking these medications won’t increase the risk of subtypes of thyroid cancer in all populations. More research needs to be done to determine the risk of developing different subtypes of thyroid cancer among populations who may be more susceptible.

If you’d like to learn more about GLP-1 medications, their risks, and their benefits, we encourage you to reach out to your healthcare provider or one of the clinicians at Integrated Diabetes Services to discuss your options.

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