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Ozempic Bowel Obstruction

Ozempic Bowel Obstruction

Ozempic® use can cause a severe gastrointestinal condition known as ileus (bowel/intestinal obstruction).

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Ozempic® use can cause a severe gastrointestinal condition known as ileus (bowel/intestinal obstruction). Ileus prevents the intestines from moving waste through the body and can lead to a blockage. If a blockage occurs it can have serious health effects, including a risk of death. At least 150 cases of Ozempic gastrointestinal obstruction and ileus have been reported to the FDA. At least one reported case was fatal.

Ozempic overview

Ozempic (generic name semaglutide) is part of a class of medications known as GLP-1 agonists. These medications can help lower blood sugar and promote weight loss. Ozempic is approved in the U.S. to treat adults with Type 2 diabetes, but it is not approved for weight loss.

However, Novo Nordisk (the company that makes Ozempic) promotes weight loss as a benefit in its advertising campaigns. The huge demand created by extensive marketing led to widespread off-label use of Ozempic for weight loss.

But despite its popularity, Ozempic may cause many side effects, such as cyclical vomiting, nausea, gastroenteritis, gastroparesis and intestinal (bowel) obstruction. Many potential side effects are not disclosed on the Ozempic approval and warning label.

Contact an Ozempic attorney

Have you been harmed by Ozempic? Complete this webform or call 1.800.768.4026 to contact attorneys Sara Couch and Jonathan Orent for more information or to discuss a potential Ozempic claim.

Can Ozempic cause bowel obstruction?

Yes, Ozempic can cause bowel obstruction. In 2022, a study found Ozempic use increased the risk of intestinal obstruction. In 2023, following numerous consumer reports, the FDA updated the Ozempic label to include information about potentially fatal intestinal blockages.

Ozempic use may cause ileus, which often leads to intestinal obstruction. Ileus is when the intestines fail to contract normally and move food through and out of the body. This can lead to dangerous and potentially fatal blockages. Ileus and intestinal obstruction are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the same or similar condition.

Constipation may be one of the first signs of ileus and intestinal obstruction. It is a listed side effect of Ozempic. Left untreated, constipation can lead to more severe and potentially fatal conditions like ileus. The FDA changed the Ozempic label to warn patients about the potential to develop blocked intestines.

How does Ozempic cause bowel obstructions?

Ozempic may cause bowel obstructions by slowing down how quickly food leaves the stomach. This slower, “delayed gastric emptying” keeps people fuller longer, balances blood sugar and helps with weight loss.

However, it may also lead to gastroparesis and ileus, two conditions that slow or stop normal muscle movement. When the stomach and intestines do not empty properly, blockages may occur.

Symptoms of Ozempic intestinal blockage

The following symptoms are associated with intestinal blockage: 

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Constipation
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe abdominal pain and cramping

The association between Ozempic and ileus is strong. Many patients taking Ozempic have been hospitalized after experiencing the symptoms of bowel obstruction . Those taking Ozempic who are experiencing constipation and other symptoms of intestinal blockage for several days or more should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Intestinal obstruction can have serious impact

Consumers are reporting major health problems linked to Ozempic use. These conditions include gastroparesis, stomach paralysis, gastroenteritis and intestinal blockage or obstruction. Some of these conditions have led to fatalities.

Intestinal obstruction is typically treated in a hospital. If nothing is able to pass through the intestine, surgery may be required to remove the blockage. Any sections of the intestine that have been damaged may also have to be removed. If surgery is too risky for a patient, a metal stent might be inserted into the intestine to clear the obstruction. Stents are often used to provide temporary relief. Once the patient’s condition stabilizes, they may still need surgery.

Without proper treatment, intestinal blockages can be dangerous and even deadly. Semaglutide bowel obstructions can cause the intestine to tear, leaking bowel contents into other parts of the body. Intestinal blockage can lead to hospitalization and death in patients. Some doctors estimate that as many as 10% of patients stopped using semaglutide medications like Ozempic due to these risks.

Patients who have experienced serious non-listed Ozempic side effects may be able to file a lawsuit. Ozempic lawsuits may help harmed patients receive compensation for their injuries and encourage drug makers to properly label medications.

FDA adds new side effect to Ozempic warning label

The FDA approved Ozempic in 2017 to treat adults with Type 2 diabetes. Since then, the approved label has been updated several times. On September 22, 2023, ileus (blocked intestines) was added as a side effect.
Ileus is often a result of abdominal surgery. But it can also be caused by inflammation, injuries and certain medications.

Symptoms of an intestinal blockage include bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation, nausea and vomiting. According to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS), at least 150 Ozempic patients reported experiencing ileus or intestinal obstructions after taking the medication, including one who later died.

Our medical drug experience

Our medical attorneys have represented thousands of patients critically injured by prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy®. We understand that as a patient or family member, your understanding of your or a loved one’s medications may be limited.

If you believe a medication made you ill or harmed you, our diabetes drug attorneys have the resources needed to thoroughly investigate and:

  • Identify potentially harmful medications
  • Examine the facts around how the medication harmed you
  • Evaluate the manufacturer’s compliance with FDA regulations
  • Investigate whether the manufacturer warned you about potential side effects
  • Acknowledge other issues that could affect your potential lawsuit

Read more on our medical drug litigation experience.

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. Ozempic and Wegovy remain approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  1. CBS News. Ozempic side effects could lead to hospitalization — and doctors warn that long-term impacts remain unknown.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. GLP-Agonists.
  3. Faillie, JL, Yin, H, Yu, OHY, Herrero, A, Altwegg, R, Renoux, C, Azoulay, L. (2022). Incretin-Based Drugs and Risk of Intestinal Obstruction Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther., 111: 272282.
  4. Healthline. Ozempic Label Updated to Include Blocked Intestines as Potential Side Effect.
  5. Mayo Clinic. Intestinal obstruction.
  6. The New York Times. We Know Where New Weight Loss Drugs Came From, but Not Why They Work.
  7. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Drug Safety-related Labeling Changes (SrLC).
  8. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) Public Dashboard. 

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