TOPLINE:

A review of 22 articles found a higher incidence of “altered skin sensations” and alopecia in individuals receiving oral semaglutide than in those receiving placebo.

METHODOLOGY:

  • The US Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch program has not received reports of semaglutide-related safety events, and few studies have characterized skin findings associated with oral or subcutaneous semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 agonist used to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • In this scoping review, researchers included 22 articles (15 clinical trials, six case reports, and one retrospective cohort study), published through January 2024, of patients receiving either semaglutide or a placebo or comparator, which included reports of semaglutide-associated adverse dermatologic events in 255 participants.

TAKEAWAY:

  • Patients who received 50 mg oral semaglutide weekly reported a higher incidence of altered skin sensations, such as dysesthesia (1.8% vs 0%), hyperesthesia (1.2% vs 0%), skin pain (2.4% vs 0%), paresthesia (2.7% vs 0%), and sensitive skin (2.7% vs 0%), than those receiving placebo or comparator.
  • Reports of alopecia (6.9% vs 0.3%) were higher in patients who received 50 mg oral semaglutide weekly than in those on placebo, but only 0.2% of patients on 2.4 mg of subcutaneous semaglutide reported alopecia vs 0.5% of those on placebo.
  • Unspecified dermatologic reactions (4.1% vs 1.5%) were reported in more patients on subcutaneous semaglutide than those on a placebo or comparator. Several case reports described isolated cases of severe skin-related adverse effects, such as bullous pemphigoid, eosinophilic fasciitis, and leukocytoclastic vasculitis.
  • On the contrary, injection site reactions (3.5% vs 6.7%) were less common in patients on subcutaneous semaglutide compared with in those on a placebo or comparator.

IN PRACTICE:

“Variations in dosage and administration routes could influence the types and severity of skin findings, underscoring the need for additional research,” the authors wrote.

SOURCE:

Megan M. Tran, BS, from the Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, led this study, which was published online on March 28, 2024, in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

LIMITATIONS:

This study could not adjust for confounding factors and could not establish a direct causal association between semaglutide and the adverse reactions reported.

DISCLOSURES:

This study did not report any funding sources. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

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