Diabetes Lawsuit | Medical Drugs

Is Ozempic Safe for Weight Loss?

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In the search for effective weight loss solutions, many have turned to Ozempic®. Ozempic is a medication approved to help manage Type 2 diabetes. Its use for weight loss has gained significant popularity recently. However, serious side effects have been reported, leaving many people wondering if Ozempic is safe for weight loss.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic, a brand name for the medicine semaglutide, boosts insulin and cuts liver glucose to lower blood sugar levels in the blood. 

In 2017, Novo Nordisk sought FDA approval to sell once-weekly semaglutide.  Novo Nordisk lauded the drug’s safety and efficacy in clinical trials.

In 2018, Novo Nordisk expanded the use of semaglutide beyond diabetes. A clinical trial targeted overweight and obese patients globally, aiming to tackle obesity-related health issues.  Results showed weekly semaglutide plus lifestyle intervention led to sustained weight loss for those involved in the trial. 

How does Ozempic work for weight loss?

GLP-1 receptor agonists are medications that act like the GLP-1 hormone in the human body. These medications imitate the way natural hormones act, including how they connect to cell receptors. One well-known GLP-1 receptor agonist is Ozempic.

The GLP-1 hormone plays a key role in controlling blood sugar levels and appetite. Ozempic imitates this hormone’s effect on blood sugar and appetite. However, when taken in higher amounts, it more effectively decreases appetite to aid in weight loss. 

Studies have demonstrated the impact of GLP-1 on reducing appetite. Research on animals showed that rats consumed significantly less food after treatment.  Human research has also shown that GLP-1 helps decrease appetite when compared to the effect of inactive substances (placebos). 

Novo Nordisk has manufactured multiple GLP-1 agonist products, such as liraglutide in addition to semaglutide, to treat obesity and diabetes and broaden the use of GLP-1 agonists in treating these conditions.

Has Ozempic been approved by the FDA for weight loss?

The FDA hasn't approved Ozempic for weight loss.  This distinction is important for healthcare providers and patients.

Initially, the FDA's approval of Ozempic marked a milestone in diabetes treatment.  Anecdotal evidence and studies revealed its potential for weight loss.  This led to interest in off-label use for weight management.

How safe is Ozempic for weight loss? 

Currently, the FDA has not approved the medication for this purpose. Ozempic's off-label weight loss use is based on its ability to regulate appetite. Off-label drug use is common in medicine. However, it does mean that less research has been conducted around the safety of these uses. Anyone considering taking Ozempic for weight loss should have a serious conversation about side effects with their doctor.

Is there a semaglutide drug that is FDA-approved for weight loss?

There is a FDA-approved semaglutide weight loss medication called Wegovy®.  It is made by Novo Nordisk, the same company that manufactures Ozempic and uses the same GLP-1 as Ozempic. 

Wegovy received FDA approval on June 4, 2021. It's the first weight management drug since 2014.  Initially, it was for adults with a BMI over 30 or those with a BMI over 27 and weight-related health issues.  On December 23, 2022, Wegovy was approved for adolescents.  

Is it safe to take Ozempic for weight loss?

Ozempic is a prescription medication approved for treating Type 2 diabetes. However, some people use it off-label for weight loss. While Ozempic can help with weight loss, it has potential risks and side effects you should be aware of.

Ozempic is not officially approved by the FDA for weight loss. Its safety and effectiveness for this use have not been thoroughly studied and proven. When a medication is used off-label, chances are higher of experiencing unexpected side effects or complications.

Common side effects of Ozempic, even when used as intended, include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain 

These side effects can be more severe or longer lasting when taking Ozempic in higher doses for weight loss.

It’s alleged other serious, potential risks of using

Ozempic for weight loss include:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (not on warning label): 2021 research found that Ozempic use dramatically increased the risk of blood clots, including DVTs. 
  • Gastroparesis (not on warning label): Ozempic may be connected to gastroparesis. This condition slows down the stomach’s normal muscle movement, preventing it from emptying properly. 
  • Gastroenteritis (not on warning label): Some patients using Ozempic have experienced gastroenteritis. This condition causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines that leads to vomiting and diarrhea. 
  • Ileus (intestinal blockage or obstruction) (added to warning label in September 2023): A serious and potentially fatal condition known as ileus blocks or obstructs the intestines and hampers the movement of food and waste out of the body. 
  • Intraoperative pulmonary aspiration (not on warning label): The entry of liquid or solid material into the lungs during surgery caused by delayed emptying of the stomach. 
  • Gallbladder disease (added to warning label in March 2022): A potentially life-threatening condition that requires surgery to treat a variety of symptoms including pain, inflammation, infection and blockages. 
  • Pancreatic cancer (not on warning label): This rare form of cancer that is difficult to detect in the early stages may be linked to Ozempic use.

The importance of medical supervision when using Ozempic for weight loss

Using Ozempic for weight loss without a doctor's supervision can be very dangerous. Your doctor needs to carefully evaluate your medical history, current health conditions and other medications you're taking to determine if Ozempic is safe and appropriate for you.

If you take Ozempic for weight loss under a doctor's care, they should closely monitor you for any potential side effects or complications. Follow the prescribed dosage and do not take more than recommended, as this can increase the risk of adverse effects.

Overall, while Ozempic can be used for weight loss, compare the potential benefits against the risks. Use it only under proper medical supervision and guidance.

Contact our Ozempic lawyers

If you or a loved one have experienced adverse effects or complications after taking Ozempic, you're not alone. Motley Rice is dedicated to advocating for those impacted by potentially unsafe medical drugs. 

Contact us today to learn more by email or call 1.800.768.4026.

How a lawyer can help with your Ozempic claim

The rise in Ozempic use for weight loss causes concerns. Injuries and negative outcomes due to misuse are possible. Although approved for Type 2 diabetes, it's used off-label for weight loss. Motley Rice is a law firm that handles pharmaceutical injury cases. Victims can work with us to seek compensation for their losses.

Victims of Ozempic-related injuries may be entitled to compensation for their damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: Those who have suffered adverse effects or complications because of the use of Ozempic may rack up huge medical costs for treatment, hospitalization and ongoing care. These expenses can be recovered through a personal injury claim.
  • Lost wages: Injuries or illnesses resulting from Ozempic use may prevent you from working and earning a living. Compensation can be sought for lost wages, both present and future, depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on your ability to work.
  • Pain and suffering: The physical and emotional toll of Ozempic-related injuries can be life-changing. Victims may be entitled to compensation for their pain, suffering and diminished quality of life.
  • Punitive damages: In cases where the actions of the parties involved in the distribution or administration of Ozempic were particularly egregious or reckless, punitive damages may be awarded. These cases punish the responsible parties and deter similar conduct in the future.

If you were harmed by Ozempic use, consult with one of our medical drug attorneys. You may be eligible to file an Ozempic lawsuit

Other important information about Ozempic safety

Additional Ozempic safety considerations include:

  • Contraindications and Pre-existing Conditions: Ozempic may not be suitable for individuals with certain pre-existing conditions, such as thyroid disorders, pancreatitis, or kidney disease. A comprehensive medical evaluation is necessary to determine if Ozempic is an appropriate treatment option.
  • Impact on Mental Health: While the physical side effects of Ozempic are well-documented, its potential impact on mental health is an area that requires further investigation. Some users have reported mood changes, anxiety, or depression, which could be made worse by the stress of rapid weight loss or the hormonal changes associated with the medication.
  • Importance of Lifestyle Modifications: Ozempic aids weight loss but isn't a standalone solution. Sustainable management involves lifestyle changes.
  • Monitoring and Follow-up: For diabetes treatment, monitoring by healthcare professionals is often necessary. Check blood sugar, kidney function and side effects regularly.
  • Potential for Misuse and Addiction: Ozempic isn't a controlled substance, but misuse concerns exist. It's used off-label for weight loss, risking overdose and dependence.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Risks: The safety of Ozempic during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been fully established. Potential risks to the developing fetus or nursing infant should be carefully considered and discussed with a healthcare provider.
  • Risk of Drug Interactions: Ozempic may interact with other medications, potentially increasing the risk of side effects or reducing the effectiveness of either drug. Consulting a healthcare professional is essential to identify and manage potential drug interactions.

Our medical drug litigation experience

Our Ozempic 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 Ozempic made you sick or hurt you, our attorneys have the resources needed to thoroughly investigate and:

  • Investigate if Ozempic hurt you
  • Review the medicine manufacturer’s compliance with FDA regulations
  • Review if the manufacturer adequately warned you about Ozempic’s side effects
  • Recognize other issues that could affect your potential Ozempic claim

Learn more about our medical drug experience here.

If you are currently taking Ozempic or Wegovy, consult your physician before you stop taking the prescription medication. Without your physician's instruction, discontinuing these medications could result in worsening illness, injury, or death. Ozempic and Wegovy remain approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

 Sources
  1. Administration. Rybelsus. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: RYBELSUS (semaglutide) tablets, for oral use.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. GLP-1 Agonists: What They Are, How They Work & Side Effects
  3. Healthline. Ozempic Rebound: Most People Regain Weight After Stopping Semaglutide
  4. New York Times. “We Know Where New Weight Loss Drugs Came From, but Not Why They Work.
  5. Novo Nordisk. FDA approves once-weekly Wegovy® injection for the treatment of obesity in teens aged 12 years and older
  6. Rai P, Madi MY, Dickstein A. Liraglutide-induced Acute Gastroparesis. Cureus. 2018 Dec 28;10(12):e3791.
  7. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014
  8. Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, Davies M, Van Gaal LF, Lingvay I, McGowan BM, Rosenstock J, Tran MTD, Wadden TA, Wharton S, Yokote K, et al., for the STEP 1 Study Group. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2021 Mar 18;384(11):989-1002.

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