People using Ozempic® have reported issues with their stomach, gallbladder, intestines, and vascular system. Patients taking Ozempic and Wegovy® are at an increased risk of pulmonary aspiration and death when undergoing surgical procedures that require general anesthesia. Ozempic lawsuits allege these issues are a direct result of taking the diabetes and weight loss drug. If you or someone you know experienced Ozempic side effects, we may be able to help you file an Ozempic lawsuit.
Recent updates in Ozempic and Wegovy litigation
Feb. 2, 2024
Motley Rice has been at the forefront of this litigation, having filed the first Wegovy lawsuit in the country alleging severe health problems caused by the drug. Attorneys Jonathan Orent successfully argued for the assignment of the Ozempic MDL to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania during a hearing overseen by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation(JPML). Attorneys Sara Couch and Grace Chandler have been featured prominently as panelists for HarrisMartin’s January 2024 MDL Conference on Ozempic and Suboxone and multiple other conferences.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is the brand name for a semaglutide pen injector manufactured by Novo Nordisk. Semaglutide medications increase insulin release, making them useful for diabetes management and weight loss. Other notable semaglutide drugs include Rybelsus® and Wegovy.
Ozempic is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with Type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic falls into a group of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA). These diabetes drugs use peptides that mimic natural satiety hormones in our bodies. Semaglutide is one of these peptides, though other GLP-1 RAs may use different ones.
By mimicking satiety hormones, the drug can target areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake. This allows the drug to moderate insulin release and appetite.
According to the FDA, the medication dose must be gradually increased weekly to reduce gastrointestinal side effects. Patients are expected to take the drug long term or studies show they will gain the weight back. According to some research, the need to take the drug long term may increase the risk of side effects.
Ozempic for weight loss: off-label use background
Ozempic has also become popular for off-label use as a weight loss drug. Off-label use of drugs is both common and legal. It allows doctors to use their judgment to treat a variety of conditions and can expand the usefulness of certain drugs.
Soon after Ozempic hit the market in 2017, clinicians observed that appetite suppression was a side effect and weight loss often occurred. Novo Nordisk then developed Wegovy, a higher-dose version of Ozempic, to treat weight gain and obesity. Since then, both drugs have surged in popularity for weight loss, resulting in national shortages. Ozempic revenue is projected to reach $12.5 billion in 2023.
While Ozempic has proven to work as an off-label weight loss aid, patients have reported unexpected and serious side effects, such as intestinal blockages and stomach paralysis or gastroparesis.
Health issues related to Ozempic
The FDA is currently investigating reports of these health issues filed through its FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). FAERS allows people to report issues with products directly to the agency. A recent FAERS report shows the FDA is investigating several GLP-1 RA drugs, including Ozempic, for potentially causing intestinal obstructions. The FDA updated Ozempic’s warning label in September 2023 to include potential intestinal blockages.
In addition to consumer reports, studies are starting to link semaglutide drugs to serious health issues.
A May 2023 letter to the editor in the research journal Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B (APSB) discussed these issues. The letter authors urged clinicians to be aware of the adverse effects of drugs like Ozempic on the small intestine.
According to the letter, the effects have so far been insufficiently studied in clinical settings because the trials do not last long enough.
The authors found that the high occurrences of intestinal obstruction emerge 1.6 years after GLP-1 RA treatments, but that most GLP-1 RA clinical trials have not lasted for more than a year. They also cited a study of more than 25,000 subjects that found a 3.5-fold increase in intestinal obstruction rates for people who took GLP-1 RA drugs.
Other studies have also linked Ozempic to intestinal blockages, in addition to gallbladder disease. Intestinal blockage signs and symptoms may include:
- Abdominal cramps and swelling
- Trouble having a bowel movement or passing gas
Doctors have also recently reported patients with stomach paralysis, also called gastroparesis. Stomach paralysis prevents the stomach’s nerves and muscles from working properly and results in food sitting too long in the stomach. This is called delayed gastric emptying. Common symptoms of gastroparesis include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux
- Blood sugar fluctuation
- Feeling full very quickly
- Loss of appetite
- Upper abdominal pain
Any patients taking Ozempic (or any other GLP-1 RA) should speak with their doctor immediately if these symptoms arise.
What are the Ozempic lawsuits about?
Wegovy and Ozempic lawsuits are still in the beginning stages. So far, the lawsuits have been filed by patients who took Ozempic and experienced serious side effects not included on the drug’s warning label. In September 2023 our attorneys filed a lawsuit for a Pennsylvania woman who developed severe gastrointestinal issues and was hospitalized after taking Wegovy. Learn more about the case here.
The makers of Ozempic and other similar drugs have also sued other pharmaceutical companies for making off-brand versions of their drugs. While consumers may not care about the financial impact to drug giants like Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilly, they should be wary of the health impacts of these knockoff drugs.
These highly-publicized lawsuits may open the door for other people harmed by Ozempic, Wegovy and similar drugs. If you or a loved one were harmed by Ozempic (or any other diabetes drug) you may have a case. Connect with an attorney to determine your eligibility for an Ozempic lawsuit.
Our medical drug litigation experience
Our medical attorneys have represented thousands of patients seriously hurt by dangerous prescription and over-the-counter drugs. We understand that as a patient or family member, your knowledge of your or a loved one’s medications may be limited. If you believe a medicine made you sick or hurt you, our attorneys have the resources needed to thoroughly investigate and:
- Identify potentially harmful medicines
- Determine if the medicine hurt you
- Review the medicine manufacturer’s compliance with FDA regulations
- Confirm if the manufacture adequately warned you about potential side effects
- Identify anything the manufacturer did wrong or illegal concerning your medicine
- Recognize other issues that could affect your potential claim
Do not stop taking a prescribed medication without first consulting with your doctor. Discontinuing a prescribed medication without your doctor's advice can result in injury or death.