Diabetes drugs linked to lower cancer risk

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A recent study has found that certain diabetes medications, including the well-known drug Ozempic, are linked to a lower risk of some cancers related to obesity.

The study was published in the journal JAMA and looked at patients with Type 2 diabetes who were treated between 2005 and 2018.

The researchers compared two groups of patients: those treated with insulin and those given a type of drug called GLP-1 agonists, like Ozempic.

They found that patients using GLP-1 agonists had a much lower risk of developing 10 out of 13 types of cancer studied.

These cancers included kidney, pancreatic, esophageal, ovarian, liver, and colorectal cancer. However, the study found no significant change in the risk for thyroid cancer and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Rong Xu, one of the study’s authors, highlighted that obesity is known to be linked to at least 13 types of cancer. This study provides evidence that GLP-1 agonists could help break this link between obesity and cancer.

The drugs studied included semaglutide, which is sold under the brand name Ozempic, and liraglutide, among others. Ozempic was approved for use in the United States in 2017.

GLP-1 agonists have been available for about 20 years, but newer versions of these drugs, like Ozempic, have become popular because they help with weight loss more effectively.

Xu suggested that the protective benefits found in the study might encourage doctors to prescribe GLP-1 treatments for diabetes patients instead of other medications like insulin.

This study adds to the growing body of evidence that these diabetes drugs may have additional health benefits beyond managing blood sugar levels.

For many people with Type 2 diabetes, obesity is a significant concern, and reducing the risk of obesity-related cancers could be a major advantage of using GLP-1 agonists.

The findings could influence how doctors approach treatment for diabetes, potentially leading to wider use of these medications to take advantage of their protective effects against cancer.

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The research findings can be found in JAMA Network Open.

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