Searching for a definitive answer to whether Ozempic can cause joint pain leads many down a rabbit hole of medical jargon and inconclusive findings.
With expertise garnered from a thorough analysis of medical studies and patient testimonials, this article seeks to provide clear insights tailored for an audience in pursuit of understanding the correlation between Ozempic and joint pain.
What Is Ozempic & How Does It Work?
Ozempic is one of the brand names under which the hormone semaglutide is distributed. This hormone increases insulin secretion in the pancreas, which makes it ideal for diabetes since it regulates the body’s sugar levels.
It helps prevent the liver from making and releasing too much sugar, slows down the food in the stomach, and can significantly lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or dying from type 2 diabetes.
The results of Ozempic don’t appear overnight. It’s meant to take a couple of months for you to see optimal results, and with proper diet and exercise, of course. Some users, however, claim they are already noticing changes in their eating habits and appetite in only a matter of weeks.
Common Side Effects
Ozempic injections are generally safe, but some users experienced a few symptoms, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Stomach (abdominal) pains
In some cases, Ozempic can also cause more serious side effects:
- Allergic reactions - Semaglutide may cause allergic reactions in some people, like swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, severe rashes, or itching.
- Eyesight problems - An FDA report on the effects of Ozempic showed a few cases of diabetic retinopathy, macular complications, and blurred vision. The SUSTAIN-6 study also showed that some patients experienced progression of eye changes, including bleeding or swelling in the back of the eyes.
- Gallbladder problems - Some people taking Ozempic have reported experiencing gallbladder problems like gallstones and inflammation.
However, a growing claim among Ozempic users has been reported – joint pain.
Reported Incidences of Joint Pain
Other side effects caused by Ozempic may vary; some are lesser known, like joint pain, which arises from joint inflammation. While usually associated with arthritis, medications such as Ozempic can sometimes induce similar symptoms.
This pain usually occurs when the body tries metabolizing the medication; the process can cause changes and possibly trigger joint inflammation, discomfort, or pain.
Ozempic users aged 60 and older or those with existing joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis are at a heightened risk of joint pain since these conditions already involve inflammation and pain in the joints, and the additional strain caused by the medication may cause and trigger flare-ups.
The pain may vary depending on the individual’s reaction to the drug. Pain levels, discomfort like stiffness, aching, and swelling, and the frequency of the flare-ups may also depend on the person’s physical activities or individual response to the drug and may affect multiple joints simultaneously.
Scientific Understanding of the Connection – Does Ozempic Cause Joint Pain?
The alleged joint pain could be due to Ozempic’s effects on GLP-1 receptors in the joints or tissues surrounding the joints. GLP-1 agonists are medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes that mimic the action of a hormone/chemical substance) called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide).
However, some scientists disagree with the belief that Ozempic causes joint pain flare-ups, citing the results of one study that showed that another type of GLP-1 agonist triggered the joint pain.
Others suggest that acute kidney injury and pancreatitis – both rare but serious side effects of Ozempic can cause an indirect side effect – fluid accumulation in the legs, which might lead someone to think they have joint pain when their legs are swelling.
On the other hand, some researchers suggest evidence that Ozempic might even aid in relieving joint pain. In lab studies, GLP-1 agonists showed anti-inflammatory properties, which could be helpful to people with osteoarthritis. Other similar studies also back up this claim.
Regardless of various claims, joint pain is currently not listed as a side effect of Ozempic, while diabetes-related medications do. Overall, further research is still needed to fully establish whether or not Ozempic can cause and trigger joint pain.
Joint Pain vs. Other Known Side Effects
Semaglutide allergies are rare but possible. These can cause allergic reactions in some people, like swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, severe rashes, or itching.
Trials say that the percentage of people taking semaglutide suffering from such allergic reactions is around 2.9%, greater than the reported alleged cases of joint pain.
Ozempic may sometimes result in temporary diabetic retinopathy, macular complications, and blurred vision, while another study also showed that some patients experienced problems like bleeding or swelling in the back of the eyes. Older patients are more likely to experience blurred vision when starting with the medication.
Glycemic control trials found that some patients using Ozempic also had acute pancreatitis. The incidence of Ozempic-related acute pancreatitis was confirmed by adjudication in 7 OZEMPIC-treated patients, or 0.3 cases per 100 patient-years versus 3 in comparator-treated patients, or 0.2 cases per 100 patient-years.
We can also infer that the fluid buildup (that causes joint pain) related to pancreatitis could be lesser.
Reports of muscle pain (myalgia) related to Ozempic use are also gaining traction. However, much like the claims of joint pain, these could also be circumstantial and caused by other existing health-related or indirect factors.
Ozempic, while not mainly intended as a weight-loss drug, can still help patients lose a few pounds as a side effect. Trials show that approximately 70% of their participants achieved a weight loss of at least 10%, and approximately 50% achieved a weight loss of at least 15% after medicating with semaglutide.
Overall, further research is needed to fully establish whether or not Ozempic can directly cause and trigger joint pain and other side effects not officially listed on the label. However, most research shows no direct link between GLP-1 weight loss medications like semaglutide (Ozempic/Wegovy) and new or increased joint pain symptoms.
1. What is the percentage of Ozempic users reporting joint pain?
While there are claims of users experiencing joint pain while medicating with Ozempic, there is no official percentage of such an incidence. Moreover, most studies show no direct link between semaglutide and joint pain symptoms.
2. What are the potential mechanisms linking Ozempic to joint pain?
The alleged joint pain could be due to Ozempic’s effects on GLP-1 receptors in the joints or tissues surrounding the joint, while others suggest that another type of GLP-1 agonist triggered the joint pain or that acute kidney injury and pancreatitis – both rare but serious side effects of Ozempic can cause fluid accumulation in the joints, which does cause pain in the joints.
3. Are there other common side effects associated with Ozempic?
Commonly reported side effects associated with Ozempic include nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, stomach (abdominal) pains, vomiting, and constipation. The popular weight loss component of Ozempic is actually a side effect of the medication.
Serious but rare side effects include eyesight problems, kidney injuries, pancreatitis, and various allergic reactions.
Are there any ongoing studies regarding Ozempic and joint pain?
Most recent studies about the side effects of Ozempic indicate that no direct evidence or mechanisms lead to semaglutide being the direct culprit of the alleged joint pain cases and that such incidences may result from other health conditions.
Ozempic has proven itself a highly effective medication for people struggling with health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and heart disease. It can also help others get rid of unwanted weight gain.
Regarding the claimed joint pain side effects, studies show no direct link between GLP-1 weight loss medications like semaglutide and new or increased joint pain symptoms.
Ultimately, it’s wise to consult with your healthcare before trying out Ozempic/semaglutide to see if the medication suits your health needs and to rule out any adverse health effects.