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With growing popularity of new weight loss drugs, doctors emphasize potential risks

A study found that people who took the drugs for one to three years were 58% more likely to develop thyroid cancer. Photo: Pexels

(Dr. Natalie S. Rosen/ ABC News) — When researchers learned that a class of drugs initially used to treat type 2 diabetes could also bring weight loss, the drugs Victoza and Ozempic gained popularity as a treatment option for obesity.

Given as daily or weekly injections, these drugs called GLP-1 RAs, help people produce insulin and lower the amount of sugar in the blood. First approved for use in type 2 diabetes patients in 2005 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the medications were quickly noted to promote weight loss.

The FDA, in 2014, later approved a GLP-1 RA for chronic weight management. Additional drugs in the class have since been approved for weight loss.

Of the nearly 35 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, more than one in 10 were estimated to be taking these drugs in 2019, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. (…)