Active case

Diabetes Lawsuit /

Ozempic Stomach Pain

Ozempic Stomach Pain

Patients may experience stomach pain with Ozempic®, a medication used for Type 2 diabetes and weight loss. Many patients have reported severe stomach cramping, vomiting, nausea and fatigue. Ozempic can also cause gastrointestinal side effects that require hospitalization. Ozempic stomach pain may indicate one of these severe side effects.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) medication that can help lower blood sugar levels and promote weight loss.  The drug is also known by its active ingredient’s generic name, semaglutide. GLP-1 diabetes medications like Ozempic and Wegovy® are prescribed to treat Type 2 diabetes or obesity in combination with lifestyle and dietary changes. 

Ozempic, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, works by:

  • Stimulating insulin production in the pancreas
  • Reducing glucose production in the liver 
  • Telling the brain the body is full

Together, this helps to lower blood sugar levels.  Ozempic was approved to treat individuals with Type 2 diabetes by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017.  Novo Nordisk was not allowed to market the drug for weight loss without FDA approval for that specific use. 

In 2021, Novo Nordisk funded a clinical trial of Ozempic in overweight or obese patients. The study found that weekly semaglutide injections and lifestyle intervention were associated with sustained weight loss.  Despite the lack of FDA approval, Novo Nordisk began mentioning weight loss in their Ozempic commercials with great success.  

  • In July 2021, U.S. doctors wrote 62,000 prescriptions a week for Ozempic. 
  • In 2023, more than 4,000 active advertisements for Ozempic appeared on Facebook and Instagram.  
  • As of August 10, 2023, U.S. sales of Ozempic jumped 50% to more than $3.7 billion. 

Ozempic has become extremely popular for both on-label and off-label use – despite some dangerous side effects that establish a link between Ozempic and stomach pain. 

Does Ozempic cause stomach pain? 

Yes, Ozempic can cause stomach pain. It is one of the most common side effects of Ozempic. Ozempic has also been associated with other serious side effects related to stomach pain. This includes gastroparesis, gastroenteritis, malnutrition and intestinal blockage or obstruction. All of these conditions have led to hospitalization and deaths in U.S. patients. 

The Ozempic label lists the stomach pain-related side effects of the medication as “abdominal pain.” During trials, these side effects were reported in 7.3% of people taking the medication at a 0.5 mg dose, and 5.7% taking a 1.0 mg dose, according to the drug’s label. 

In addition, the label also mentions that patients may also feel nausea and experience vomiting, diarrhea and constipation as a result of Ozempic use. Side effects were often reported when patients received increased dosages of Ozempic. Increased dosages were more likely to lead to new or worsening gastrointestinal symptoms: 

  • 3.8% of patients taking Ozempic 1 mg had adverse reactions.
  • 3.1% of patients taking Ozempic 0.5 mg had adverse reactions.
  • 0.4% of patients taking a placebo had adverse reactions.

If you are currently taking Ozempic and experience any side effects, consult a healthcare provider to determine if they are a sign of a more serious condition.

How serious is Ozempic stomach pain?

Ozempic abdominal pain can be a sign of more serious side effects, including gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), gastroenteritis, pancreatitis and intestinal blockage or obstruction. Many of these side effects are not disclosed on the drug’s prescribing label.

Despite knowledge of all of these side effects, Novo Nordisk ignored the association between Ozempic use and the serious gastrointestinal issues, many allege. It did not warn consumers of these risks. 

The drug’s prescription label discloses many warnings, precautions and adverse reactions linked to Ozempic. But it fails to warn that patients risk experiencing severe gastrointestinal events. 

For example, the Ozempic label mentions delayed gastric emptying as a function of the drug that may impact the absorption of any other medications a patient is taking. However, the label does not disclose gastroparesis or gastric emptying as risks of Ozempic use and fails to list gastroparesis as a chronic condition that can result from taking Ozempic. 

In 2023, the American Society of Anesthesiologists issued a warning that patients preparing for elective surgery should stop Ozempic use at least a week before undergoing the procedure because the medication delays stomach emptying. These delays may increase the risk of the patient regurgitating and aspirating food into the airways and lungs during general anesthesia. 

Delayed stomach emptying has also been linked to severe malnutrition, a side effect not listed on the Ozempic label.  However, the label mentions that Ozempic use can lead to another source of extreme stomach pain: pancreatitis.

Ozempic and pancreatitis

The pancreas helps with food digestion and blood sugar regulation by producing digestive enzymes and insulin. One of Ozempic’s functions is to stimulate the release of insulin, which can affect the pancreas. An inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis, has been linked to Ozempic.

Abdominal pain may be a warning sign of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can cause swelling and pain and can change how the pancreas works. Pancreatitis may appear suddenly and last for a short period (acute pancreatitis) or be a long-term condition (chronic pancreatitis) that causes more damage to the pancreas over time.  Changes to the pancreas can also be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.

Ozempic’s label discloses the risk of pancreatitis in the “Warnings and Precautions” section. Clinical trials found cases of acute and chronic pancreatitis in Ozempic patients.

The warning advises medical providers to closely observe patients for signs and symptoms of pancreatitis after starting Ozempic. Patients should speak with a healthcare professional immediately if pancreatitis symptoms appear. Ozempic’s label recommends patients stop taking the drug if pancreatitis occurs. If pancreatitis is confirmed, Ozempic should not be restarted.  Patients should always speak with their doctors before discontinuing any of their medications.

The symptoms of acute pancreatitis include: 

  • Constant, extreme abdominal pain, sometimes extending to the back and accompanied by vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Tenderness when touching the belly
  • Upper belly pain
  • Upper belly pain that radiates to the back
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include:

  • Belly pain that worsens after eating
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Oily, smelly stools
  • Pain in the upper belly

In some people with chronic pancreatitis, the symptoms don’t appear until after complications of the disease develop. As pancreatitis is a serious risk, patients should seek a doctor’s advice before starting to take Ozempic.

Ozempic and gastroparesis

Stomach pain may also be a warning sign of gastroparesis (paralyzed stomach), which affects muscle movement in the stomach and interferes with normal digestion. Normally, food is pushed through the digestive tract by strong contractions of the muscles in the tract. However, gastroparesis slows down or stops this activity, which prevents proper emptying of the stomach.  Gastroparesis has no cure and cases can vary in severity.

Ozempic use has allgegedly been linked to gastroparesis. Two 2021 case reports illustrated the alleged connection between GLP-1 drugs and gastroparesis:

  • One report involved a woman who had been receiving weekly semaglutide injections for approximately one month before exhibiting gastroparesis symptoms. The report authors concluded that her gastroparesis was medication induced.”  
  • Another report involved a woman who had been on dulaglutide (another GLP-1 receptor agonist comparable to Ozempic) for 15 months. After she had experienced bloating, nausea and vomiting for 12 of those months, testing showed she suffered from delayed gastric emptying. The condition improved after she stopped receiving dulaglutide. 

Gastroparesis may present with a range of symptoms, many mirroring Ozempic’s advertised side effects. The symptoms of gastroparesis include:

  • A feeling of fullness after eating just a few bites
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Changes in blood sugar levels, including low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting undigested food eaten a few hours earlier
  • Weight loss and malnutrition

Some people with gastroparesis don't have any noticeable signs and symptoms, whereas others experience extreme pain and require hospitalization. People are filing Ozempic gastroparesis lawsuits because Novo Nordisk failed to appropriately warn them of this risk.

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 Jonthan Orent for more information or to discuss a potential Ozempic lawsuit.

Ozempic lawsuits

People are suing Novo Nordisk for failure to warn of several conditions, many of which occur in the abdomen and may start with stomach pain. People may be eligible to file semaglutide lawsuits for failure to warn of the risks of these drugs. Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy also has serious risks that were not advertised on the label.

In a failure to warn lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that Novo Nordisk did not provide adequate warnings or instructions regarding the risks associated with Ozempic’s foreseeable use. In a defective product lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that the product itself was unreasonably dangerous or defective in some way that caused their injury or damage. 

If you are suffering from stomach pain while taking Ozempic, seek a doctor’s help first and then pursue your legal options.

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, what you know about your or a loved one’s medications may be limited. 

If you believe Ozempic caused you to experience stomach pain and other serious side effects or subsequent conditions, our attorneys have the resources needed to thoroughly investigate and:

  • Investigate whether Ozempic hurt you
  • Review Ozempic manufacturer Novo Nordisk’s compliance with FDA regulations
  • Review the adequacy of Novo Nordisk’s warning to you about possible side effects
  • Recognize other issues that might affect your potential claim 

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.

Sources

Cleveland Clinic. GLP-1 Agonists.
Kalas MA, Galura GM, McCallum RW. Medication-Induced Gastroparesis: A Case Report. J Investig Med High Impact Case Rep. 2021 Jan-Dec; 9:23247096211051919.
Mayo Clinic. Gastroparesis.
Mayo Clinic. Pancreatitis.
The New York Times. We Know Where New Weight Loss Drugs Came From, but Not Why They Work.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: OZEMPIC (semaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use.
Wilding, J, Batterham, R, Calanna, S, Davies, M, Van Gaas, L, Lingvay, I, McGowan, B. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. N Engl J Med 2021;384:989-1002.