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DANVILLE, Pa. – A recent Geisinger-led study has determined that GLP-1s, a popular class of weight loss and diabetes drugs, may make it unsafe for patients to undergo a common gastroenterology procedure.
Researchers from Geisinger Medical Center and Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine collected data from 2019 to 2023 on 35,183 patients who had esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) procedures. An EGD, or upper endoscopy, is one of the most common diagnostic procedures to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine. 
Among 756 patients with diabetes who took GLP-1s and had an EGD, those patients were:
•       Four times more likely to have retained food in their stomach during the procedure
•       About three times more likely to have aborted procedures
•       Twice as likely to need a repeat EGD
Among 166 patients without diabetes who took GLP-1s and had an EGD, those patients were:
•       About five times more likely to have retained food in their stomach
•       Five times more likely to have aborted procedures
•       As likely as nonusers to need another EGD
GLP-1s, such as the popular Ozempic medication, decreases how fast the stomach empties, regardless of a patient’s diabetes status, the study found. 
"Having food in the stomach during one of these procedures can increase the risk as well as decrease the ability of your doctor to perform a complete examination," said Amitpal S. Johal, M.D., Geisinger chair of gastroenterology and one of the co-authors of the study.
The researchers cautioned that clinicians responsible for scheduling and performing EGDs on patients taking GLP-1s, should carefully assess the impact of the medication on the procedure’s safe completion, stating “healthcare providers must consider the implications of delayed gastric emptying when planning an EGD for GLP-1 patients.” 
“If you are taking a medication for weight loss, please let you doctor know before scheduling a procedure,” Dr. Johal said.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the nonprofit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 126 care sites — including 10 hospital campuses — and Geisinger Health Plan, with more than half a million members in commercial and government plans. Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $15 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country. Learn more at or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.


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Mike McMullen
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