After months of review, the agency's safety committee found no evidence that glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, including semaglutide, cause thyroid cancer.
Earlier this year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a safety signal over concerns that semaglutide, the active ingredient in diabetes/weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, may pose a thyroid cancer risk.
This safety signal emerged due to a 2022 study that found an increased risk of thyroid cancer in people using the medications, prompting an investigation by the EMA's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC).
In a report published on October 27, the EMA says the safety committee found no evidence that GLP-1 receptor agonists — including exenatide, liraglutide, dulaglutide, semaglutide, and lixisenatide — cause thyroid cancer.
The PRAC concluded this after reviewing evidence from four observational studies and non-clinical, clinical, and post-marketing data submitted by the drug's marketing authorization holders.
Despite the findings, the EMA says marketing authorization holders should continue to monitor emerging research and report any new evidence related to GLP-1 receptor agonists and thyroid cancer risks.
Other risks associated with Ozempic, Wegovy
Moreover, the FDA recently warned consumers of counterfeit Ozempic potentially circulating in the United States. The EMA also alerted consumers about fake Ozempic pens after identifying counterfeit products in Europe.
In Austria, several people were hospitalized after using counterfeit Ozempic pens that contained insulin instead of semaglutide.
- European Medicines Agency. Meeting highlights from the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) 23-26 October 2023.