FDA probes hair loss, other potential weight loss drug side effects

The FDA is looking into whether hair loss, aspiration and suicidal thoughts may be side effects of GLP-1 receptor agonists, a popular class of weight-loss drugs. 

The agency on Jan. 2 published a summary of reports received through its Adverse Event Reporting System, or FAERS, saying it is "evaluating the need for regulatory action" after receiving reports of alopecia, aspiration and suicidal thoughts in people using medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy. The reports are based on data collected from July through September.

The FDA's site notes that the appearance of a drug on the list "means that the FDA has identified a potential safety issue, but it does not mean that the FDA has identified a causal relationship between the drug and the listed risk." 

If new safety signals are identified, the FDA "will determine what, if any actions, are appropriate through a thorough review of available data," an FDA spokesperson said in statements to CNN and CBS News. 

The investigation comes after the agency identified a potential link between the weight-loss drugs and patients reporting intestinal obstructions last year. Ozempic's label was updated inSeptember to acknowledge increased reports of the condition known as ileus.

Novo Nordisk, which produces Ozempic and Wegovy, told CBS News it is "working closely" with the FDA to monitor the medications' safety and reiterated that issues reported to FAERS do not prove a causal link.

Eli Lilly, the maker of Zepbound and Mounjaro, said the new safety signal follows a rigorous clinical trial process for the drugs and robust approval process to ensure their safety and accuracy. 

"Patient safety is our priority, and we are collaborating with the FDA on these potential signals," an Eli Lilly spokesperson told CBS News.

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