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Ozempic Gastroparesis

Ozempic® use has been linked to the onset of gastroparesis, also called stomach paralysis or delayed gastric emptying. Gastroparesis symptoms can vary from mild discomfort to extreme pain requiring hospitalization and surgery. Studies have shown that Ozempic and gastroparesis may have a substantial link.

Can Ozempic cause gastroparesis?

Ozempic may be linked to a dangerous medical condition known as gastroparesis. This slows down or even paralyzes stomach and intestinal muscles, preventing the normal movement of food through the body. It is one of the most serious potential side effects not disclosed on Ozempic’s label.

Gastroparesis, delayed gastric emptying and stomach paralysis are medical terms describing the same condition. It is linked to various causes, including semaglutide drugs like Ozempic.

Patients who have developed semaglutide gastroparesis include:

  • A 57-year-old woman experienced vomiting, bloating, nausea and abdominal pain after taking weekly injections for 15 months. She was confirmed to have delayed gastric emptying.
  • A 52-year-old woman complained of abdominal bloating, pain in her stomach after eating (postprandial epigastric pain), fullness and nausea that did not resolve. Her symptoms began approximately one month after beginning weekly semaglutide injections.

Semaglutide stomach paralysis affects the nerves and muscles of your stomach by hindering contractions that help your stomach digest food and pass it through your intestines.

If a patient’s goal is weight loss, the drug can help them feel fuller longer and reduce their appetite. However, it can also impact blood sugar levels and nutrient absorption, ultimately leading to hypoglycemia, malnutrition and other serious side effects.

Does Ozempic cause gastroparesis?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a synthetic peptide that helps increase specific hormones your body creates. When these hormone levels increase, they slow digestion rates. This increases the amount of time it takes for food to be digested and passed through the body. In some people, this can lead to a chronic delay and cause gastroparesis.

This slowed gastric emptying impacts blood sugar levels, which can be valuable in treating Type 2 diabetes. Weight loss or treatment for obesity, however, is not an FDA-approved use of Ozempic.

The risks of gastroparesis and Ozempic

The use of GLP-1 agonists (Ozempic’s drug type) may increase the risk of developing gastroparesis and other serious medical conditions. Gastroparesis is not currently listed on the FDA approval label.

If you are considering using Ozempic for purposes, including weight loss, talk with your doctor. They can help you understand all associated Ozempic risks. If you are currently taking Ozempic and notice any new or worsening symptoms, notify your healthcare provider immediately.

Risks associated with gastroparesis while taking prescription Ozempic include hypoglycemia, stomach pain, intestinal obstructions and other potential side effects.

Ozempic hypoglycemia and delayed gastric emptying

Slowed gastric emptying, or emptying of the stomach, can help balance blood sugar levels in certain diabetic patients. It can also lead to dangerously low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia . This can occur in:

  1. Non-diabetic patients who are taking Ozempic for weight loss
  2. Diabetic patients who are using it with other diabetes drugs, including insulin

In September 2023, the FDA updated the Ozempic warning label to include hypoglycemia as a potential adverse reaction . In a 30-week study , patients with diabetes were prescribed varied doses of Ozempic. Nearly 4% of the study patients developed hypoglycemia.

In a separate study of patients using insulin and Ozempic, hypoglycemia was even more likely to occur. Nearly 30% of patients taking Ozempic and insulin developed low blood sugar. More than 10% of patients in this study suffered severe hypoglycemia.

Ozempic gastric emptying and more adverse reactions

When food stays in the stomach too long, it can lead to various adverse reactions for some patients . Gastroparesis from semaglutide prevent food from moving through the stomach as intended, which could lead to serious health problems, such as:

  • Blockages in the small intestine
  • Development of hard masses of food known as bezoars
  • Difficulty managing blood sugar levels
  • Extreme weight loss leading to malnutrition
  • Intestinal blockages

These are just a few potential risks that are frequently seen with semaglutide gastroparesis. If you develop any symptoms like these, contact your healthcare provider immediately for medical treatment and care.

Ozempic gastroparesis symptoms

Symptoms of Ozempic gastroparesis can vary widely . Commonly reported symptoms include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Malnutrition
  • Nausea
  • Regurgitation
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of gastroparesis may appear as other medical conditions, like GERD, for example. While the severity of gastroparesis can vary widely, if you are experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms associated with semaglutide and stomach paralysis, take them seriously and reach out to your doctor.

Is gastroparesis from Ozempic reversible?

Gastroparesis does not have a formal cure, no matter the cause. Symptoms of gastroparesis associated with Ozempic use may vary in severity. Some patients reported gastroparesis symptoms resolving after they stopped taking Ozempic. Other patients may continue to experience symptoms for the rest of their lives.

Some patients have even required hospitalization because of extreme symptoms associated with stomach paralysis from Ozempic.

What do I do if I have gastroparesis after taking Ozempic?

If you develop gastroparesis at any time taking Ozempic, your first step should be to receive treatment and care. As soon as you notice symptoms, reach out to your doctor for medical attention. Your healthcare provider may recommend discontinuing the use of Ozempic. Do not stop taking this semaglutide drug unless your physician says it is safe to do so.

Your healthcare provider may offer various treatment options that can help you cope with any ongoing symptoms of gastroparesis. Patients may be able to manage their Ozempic gastroparesis side effects with dietary modifications, anti-nausea medications and nutritional support.

If you suspect your semaglutide use triggered the onset of gastroparesis, you may be able to file an Ozempic lawsuit.

Ozempic and gastroparesis legal action

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against drugmaker Novo Nordisk because of alleged GLP-1-induced gastroparesis. These lawsuits allege Novo Nordisk did not adequately disclose the risks of gastroparesis on Ozempic’s FDA warning label. 

Motley Rice represents many patients experiencing similar symptoms. One woman began taking Wegovy (Ozempic’s sister drug) in January 2023 for weight loss . In July 2023, she began experiencing fatigue, nausea, vomiting and severe stomach cramping. Her symptoms escalated to the point where she could no longer consume any food or liquid. At the end of July 2023, she was hospitalized and ultimately diagnosed with gastroparesis . Despite discontinuing her treatment, she continues to suffer from alleged after-effects of semaglutide and gastroparesis.

This is just one example of an Ozempic stomach paralysis lawsuit that has been filed in court. As of April 2024 , there were 74 personal injury lawsuits concerning GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic included in multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 3094) in US District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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 gastroparesis related Ozempic claim.

Our diabetes drug litigation experience

If you have developed severe side effects or experienced adverse reactions associated with your use of Ozempic or Wegovy, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk.

Our medical attorneys have experience in both state and federal courts representing patients who have suffered serious off-label and on-label side effects from prescriptions drugs. We also have specific experience with helping diabetic patients file lawsuits. While you may have limited information about how semaglutide drugs work, Motley Rice attorneys can provide legal guidance and support. Our litigation work includes:

  • Collecting evidence to support allegations that Novo Nordisk failed to comply with FDA regulations
  • Reviewing potential side effects you are experiencing
  • Preparing for potential issues that could affect your ability to file a civil claim
  • Reviewing you side effects and how they may be connected to your Ozempic use

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

Sources
  1. Cedar Sinai. Gastroparesis.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Gastroparesis.
  3. Drugs.com. What are 4 key Ozempic side effects to watch out for?.
  4. Gastroenterology Advisor. What We Know About Semaglutide Adverse Events and Gastroparesis: Part I.
  5. Healio Gastroenterology. FDA updates Ozempic label to include warning for intestinal blockage, hypoglycemia risk.
  6. Mayo Clinic. Gastroparesis.
  7. Sodhi M, Rezaeianzadeh R, Kezouh A, Etminan M. Risk of Gastrointestinal Adverse Events Associated With Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists for Weight Loss. JAMA. 2023;330(18):1795–1797. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.19574 
  8. UC Davis Health. Ozempic for weight loss: Does it work, and what do experts recommend?
  9. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) Public Dashboard.
  10. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: OZEMPIC (semaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use.
  11. United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Report Date: 4/1/2024 MDL Statistics Report - Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by Actions Pending.

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