What are some side effects of GLP-1 agonists?

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  • A GLP-1 agonist is a type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is taken by injection (shot) using a prefilled dosing pen. Like almost every medication, it comes with its own set of side effects. Common side effects from GLP-1 agonists include nausea, diarrhea, gas, a “jittery” feeling, dizziness, headache, weakness and upset stomach. Weight loss is also common. Call your doctor if any of these side effects are severe, as some side effects are serious.

    Call your doctor immediately if you have any of these potentially serious symptoms:
    • Ongoing pain that begins in the upper left or middle of the stomach but may spread to the back -- or any ongoing pain or ache in the mid or lower back
    • Hives, rash or itching
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
    • Lump or swelling in the neck
    • Hoarseness
    • Changes in the color or amount of urine
    • Swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
    GLP-1 agonists don’t cause hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose) by themselves. But combined with other medications, vigorous exercise or not eating enough, they can make your blood glucose drop too low. Since low blood glucose can be dangerous, make sure that you and your family know the symptoms. These include feeling shaky, sweaty, hungry and irritable. If you have these symptoms, check your blood glucose and take some quick-acting sugar if your glucose is low. Good sources are three or four glucose tablets, a half-cup of fruit juice or regular soda, or a tablespoon of honey or sugar.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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