A study published on Friday in the journal JAMA, which is issued by the American Medical Association, has found that a group of diabetes drugs, including Ozempic, are linked to a lower risk of certain cancers related to obesity.

The research compared Type 2 diabetes patients treated with insulin to those administered a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists, such as Ozempic, from 2005 to 2018. The study revealed that those on GLP-1 agonists had a notably reduced risk of developing 10 of the 13 cancers examined, which included kidney, pancreatic, esophageal, ovarian, liver, and colorectal cancers. No significant risk changes were observed for thyroid cancer and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Rong Xu, the study's author, highlighted in an email to AFP that obesity is linked to at least 13 types of cancer. Xu added that the study's findings suggest GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) could potentially disrupt the connection between obesity and cancer. The study included drugs like semaglutide, sold as Ozempic, and others such as liraglutide. Ozempic was approved for use in the United States in 2017.

GLP-1 agonists have been in use for approximately 20 years, but newer versions, including Ozempic, have gained popularity due to their enhanced effects on weight loss. Xu posited that the protective effects observed in the study might lead to more doctors prescribing GLP-1 treatments over alternatives like insulin for diabetes management.