GLP-1s and diabetic retinopathy

A study of almost 100,000 eyes has found that semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist recently approved for weight loss, does not worsen the progression of diabetic retinopathy in the long term.

The study evaluated eyes with three levels of retinopathy:

  • No retinopathy or background retinopathy (71.8%)
  • Mild or moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) (18.4%)
  • Severe NPDR or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) (9.8%)

In eyes with no or background retinopathy, 1.3%, 1.2%, 1.6%, and 2.2% experienced a worsening in status of the condition at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively. In eyes with mild or moderate NPDR, 2.4%, 3%, 3.4%, and 3.5% showed worsening retinopathy at these time intervals. Finally, an improvement of retinopathy was found in eyes with severe NPDR or PDR in 40%, 37.8%, 47.7%, and 58.7% at these time periods.

However, Zeeshan Haq, MD, a retina specialist at Retinal Consultants of Minnesota, commented “Based on this preliminary evidence and what we know so far, it suggests that there is a risk of worsening, but it’s quite low for most patients, and so a conversation needs to be had between anyone considering prescribing the drug, such as a general practitioner or a nurse practitioner, and that patient’s optometrist or comprehensive ophthalmologist or retina specialist.”

To find out more, CLICK HERE.


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