Weight-loss drugs originally approved for treating diabetes are expensive, often not covered by insurance, and associated with side effects including gastrointestinal problems and thyroid cancer.

Diabetes drugs re-purposed for obesity have revolutionized medicalized weight loss but at a price, according to JAMA Medical News.

In addition to common, mild-to-moderate digestive issues, clinicians are now observing more serious gastrointestinal side effects plus self-harm behavior, anesthesia complications, serious vision problems and cancer cases among people taking GLP-1 agonists, either to lower their blood sugar or lose weight.

Because the drugs are so widely prescribed these relatively rare complications involve enough patients to concern prescribers, according to some medical experts.

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