Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Daniel Nigh, Esq.
The Ozempic Stomach Paralysis Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
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Ozempic Stomach Paralysis Lawsuit Overview

Ozempic, the brand name for semaglutide, has been a large topic of discussion throughout 2023 and into 2024 as a popular weight loss drug originally designed to help treat diabetes. However, people are now experiencing an array of negative side effects from taking the drug, including nausea, vomiting, intestinal blockages, bowel injuries/stomach paralysis (gastroparesis), and inability to push waste out of the body (ileus). Patients are now challenging the manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, for negligence and failure to properly warn users of the drug risks. 

The number of individual lawsuits against Novo Nordisk continues to rise since the first lawsuit was filed in August 2023 by Jaclyn Bjorklund against Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly (the manufacturer of Mounjaro). The plaintiffs filed a motion in December 2023 to consolidate Ozempic lawsuits into a class-action lawsuit or multidistrict litigation (MDL) which occurred in early February, creating the official Ozempic lawsuit MDL 3094. All cases were transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the first status conference is scheduled for Thursday, March 14, 2024. Claimants seek compensation for Ozempic-related injuries, drawing attention to the lack of transparency and prioritization of drug safety in the pharmaceutical industry. Novo Nordisk has defended the drug’s safety and efficacy and stands by how they have shared warnings and side effects.

Ozempic Stomach Paralysis and Bowel Injuries [2024 Update]

April 1, 2024 – FDA’s Warning on Ozempic Bowel Injuries Highlights Key Issue in Lawsuit

A review of the warning history on the Ozempic label should shed some light on the issues in the lawsuit. On September 22, 2023, the FDA added a warning stating that semaglutide, the drug in Ozempic, has been reported to cause gastrointestinal disorders and bowel injuries. This warning is important because it shows that the FDA believes that Ozempic leads to bowel blockages. Even more important, the warning comes from the FDA, not the manufacturer. We believe the manufacturer would have likely received many reports of bowel blockages, but they never elected to warn those taking Ozempic. The failure to warn is one of the strongest claims in the Ozempic lawsuit.

March 29, 2024 – Study Highlights Bowel Injuries Associated with Ozempic Use

One important issue in the Ozempic Lawsuit is what Novo Nordisk knew about the risks of bowel injuries including gastroparesis associated with the use of Ozempic. We believe a July 2015 study by N. Sauer will be important to the plaintiff’s case. The study titled “Off-label antiobesity treatment in patients without diabetes with GLP-1 agonists in clinical practice” and published in Hormone and Metabolic Research indicates that 58% of patients “reported side effects mostly concerning the gastrointestinal tract.” In addition, more than 20% of the participants quit the drug because of “intolerable side effects.” This study certainly put Novo Nordisk on risk of bowel injuries associated with the use of Ozempic.

March 24, 2024 – JAMA Study Links Ozempic to Increased Risk of Bowel Injuries

Another study has linked the use of Ozempic, a GLP-1-like peptide agonist, to bowel injuries. Authored by Mohit Sodhi, Ramin Rezaeianzadeh, and others on October 5, 2023, this research highlights the gastrointestinal risks associated with these drugs. Published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study found that the use of Glucagon-like peptide agonists increases the risk of bowel obstruction and gastroparesis.

March 23, 2024 – Study Links Ozempic and Wegovy to Increased Risk of Bowel Injuries

Studies have indicated that Ozempic and Wegovy can lead to stomach paralysis and other bowel injuries. An often-overlooked study, published on March 2, 2023, is titled “A potentially serious adverse effect of GLP-1 receptor agonists,” with Jinmiao Lu as the lead author. The study suggests that the risk of bowel injuries in diabetic patients using Ozempic increases 3.5 to 4.5 times compared to other diabetic treatments. This research included 25,617 subjects. One theory proposed by the study is that Ozempic causes the intestines to elongate over time. This increased intestinal length and villus height from Glucagon-like peptide-1 seem to contribute to an elevated risk of bowel injuries.

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What Is Stomach Paralysis from Ozempic?

Your stomach functions by churning and breaking down its contents to then contract and push into the small intestine. Stomach paralysis, medically known as gastroparesis, is when this process happens much too slowly. Symptoms of stomach paralysis include nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, early satiety, and changes to blood sugar levels. Some people who have used Ozempic claim it caused or worsened gastroparesis. It’s not yet clear what aspects of Ozempic are linked, though some predict it could be how the drug affects stomach motility and digestion with the gastrointestinal tract. 

Those suing Ozempic’s manufacturers claim they were not adequately warned about the risk of stomach paralysis and its associated symptoms, which has led to harm and suffering. A crucial component of these lawsuits is showing a link between the drug and this condition. 

Can Ozempic Cause Stomach Paralysis?

Studies have shown a connection between glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist medications and stomach paralysis, pancreatitis, and bowel obstruction. Original research focused primarily on those with diabetes, but a recent study found an increased risk of stomach paralysis for non-diabetic patients who used medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus, and Saxenda for weight loss. In addition, researchers have found that those taking GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic have a: 

  • 9.09 times higher risk of pancreatitis; 
  • 4.22 times higher risk of bowel obstruction; and, 
  • 3.67 times higher risk of gastroparesis.

Researchers noted that even though these symptoms don’t affect everyone, millions of people around the world are using semaglutide drugs, and hundreds of thousands could end up suffering. This is especially the case for those who were unaware of these severe risks and couldn’t factor them into their decision to pursue these drugs.

How Ozempic Causes Stomach Paralysis (or Gastroparesis)

GLP-1 receptor agonist medications contain active ingredients meant to help manage blood sugar levels. These ingredients include semaglutide for Ozempic and Wegovy, as well as tirzepatide for the drug Mounjaro. While these medications can help with blood sugar management, they can also cause the stomach to take too long to empty. Undigested food then stays in the stomach and can harden, often accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, and abdominal discomfort. The claimant of the August 2023 lawsuit reported excessive, prolonged vomiting that caused her to lose some of her teeth. 

Ozempic originally received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017. Since then, the FDA has issued warnings regarding counterfeit semaglutide infiltrating drug supply chains and added the risk of intestinal blockages to Ozempic’s label, which already existed on the labels of Wegovy and Mounjaro.  However, there hasn’t been a large focus on stomach paralysis, and Novo Nordisk has not included warnings about gastroparesis in the drug information as of February 2024. 

When patients decide to move forward with drugs like Ozempic despite the listed warnings, they are often unaware of the rare but serious risk of stomach paralysis. As a result, many patients are now seeking legal action against these drug manufacturers to get compensation for their medical bills, treatment costs, diminished quality of life, and more. Currently, there is no cure for gastroparesis.

Ozempic Stomach Paralysis: Symptoms and Side Effects

Ozempic can cause common and serious side effects, including stomach paralysis and intestinal blockages. It’s unclear how long these conditions last after patients stop using Ozempic, though some symptoms persist post-discontinuation and require surgical intervention. According to a clinical trial focused on type 2 diabetes patients treated with Ozempic: 

  • 20.3% of participants taking Ozempic 1mg reported nausea with some seeing a steady decrease in nausea over a few weeks and an increase in nausea if dosage was increased; 
  • 32.7% of participants taking 0.5mg and 36.4% of participants taking 1mg of Ozempic experienced gastrointestinal adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; 
  • Adverse reactions tended to worsen when dosage was increased; 
  • Some patients developed antibodies that made the medication less effective over time; and, 
  • Additional risks to watch out for when taking Ozempic include thyroid C-cell tumors, other thyroid issues, pancreatitis, diabetic retinopathy, acute kidney injury, hypersensitivity, acute gallbladder disease, hypoglycemia (when used with insulin/sulfonylurea), injection site reactions, and allergic reactions. 

Patients have also experienced sagging skin and increased signs of aging due to rapid weight loss. The quick loss of fat in the face can leave individuals with loose, hanging skin that magnifies lines and wrinkles, also known as “Ozempic face”. 

Ozempic’s primary use is not for weight loss but because weight loss is a major side effect, many people have used it as a way to lose weight, putting the drug in high demand and causing shortages for those seeking the medication for diabetic treatment.

How to Prevent Stomach Paralysis from Ozempic

To help prevent stomach paralysis from Ozempic and treat its associated symptoms, physicians may recommend: 

  • Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day;
  • Staying away from foods high in fat and sugar; 
  • Avoiding ultra-processed foods and refined carbohydrates; 
  • Not drinking alcohol; 
  • Staying properly hydrated; 
  • Using Zofran for temporary nausea relief; 
  • Taking Reglan (metoclopramide) as a treatment for gastroparesis; and,
  • Lowering the Ozempic dose or discontinuing use. 

Typical symptoms of stomach paralysis include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, pain, and bloating. Some of the biggest causes of concern are if these symptoms become severe, patients experience abdominal pain, dietary and lifestyle changes offer no relief, or there are symptoms of pancreatitis.

infographic listing some measures you can take to minimize the risk of gastroparesis or stomach paralysis while on Ozempic

Case Studies: Ozempic Causing Stomach Paralysis

Studies continue to emerge showing the connection between drugs like Ozempic and stomach paralysis: 

February 2024: A study of patients taking different GLP-1 drugs including semaglutide, exenatide, dulaglutide, and liraglutide found 5.1% of participants experienced gastroparesis. 

January 2024: A patient taking semaglutide presented with gastroparesis which greatly improved when she stopped taking the medication.

October 2023: A study of 16 million patients (2006-2020) found that those who used GLP-1 agonists for weight loss were at a higher risk of pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis compared to those who took bupropion-naltrexone instead. 

August 2023: A patient taking semaglutide fasted for a procedure that required anesthesia but still had “substantial gastric content” at the time of the procedure.  Researchers determined a connection between taking semaglutide for weight loss and delayed gastric emptying, posing a risk of intraoperative pulmonary aspiration. 

January 2023: Researchers noted a correlation between GLP-1 receptor agonists and common gastroparesis symptoms including nausea and vomiting. They concluded more research was needed to determine the safety of these drugs, particularly after the FDA approved semaglutides as a weight loss medication for diabetic and non-diabetic patients. 

October 2021: A study found that two patients initially diagnosed with diabetic gastroparesis likely had medication-induced gastroparesis after taking semaglutide. 

Despite this evidence, stomach paralysis continues to be an underrecognized symptom of Ozempic. It’s not included with the drug information and patients are using Ozempic unaware of the risk they face.

Percentage of Ozempic Users Reporting Stomach Paralysis

Around 1% of patients taking Ozempic have a stomach paralysis diagnosis. While it is still considered a rare side effect of the medication, tens of thousands could be affected when you consider the millions of users taking these medications. 

How to File an Ozempic Stomach Paralysis Lawsuit

To file an Ozempic stomach paralysis lawsuit, you must meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • Proof that you were treated with Ozempic, Rybelsus, or Wegovy GLP-1 receptor agonists;
  • A diagnosis of gastroparesis, stomach paralysis, ileus, gastric intestinal obstruction, or a related condition while taking these medications or within 30 days of using them (our lawyers are also investigating pulmonary embolism and aspiration eligibility); and,
  • Confirmation of a visit with a gastroenterologist, a visit to the emergency room, or hospitalization related to the diagnosed condition. 

It’s crucial to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you file a claim within the right state-specific statute of limitations and have your best chance at earning compensation for your injuries. Seeking help from an attorney knowledgeable about Ozempic cases can also help improve the strength of your case. Our lawyers will:

  1. Perform a free case review to determine your eligibility during which you must provide documentation showing your diagnosis, use of Ozempic, and other supporting materials; 
  2. Pinpoint state-specific deadlines and statutes of limitations
  3. Help you gather the appropriate evidence, including medical records and witness testimonies; 
  4. Guide you through the filing process;
  5. Assist with settlement negotiations or set the case for trial if deemed appropriate; and,
  6. Provide information on the process and timeline for your lawsuit.

Reach out today for a free consultation to learn more about your eligibility for Ozempic injury compensation.

Contact an Ozempic Gastroparesis Lawyer

The Ozempic lawyers at King Law can provide valuable representation to those suffering from adverse health conditions connected to Ozempic, Wegovy, and other GLP-1 receptor agonists. We have the experience, dedication, and passion for advocacy needed to help build a strong case. By contacting our office, you can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your eligibility for compensation.

To prepare for your initial consultation, gather all supporting documentation. This can include medical records showing your treatment with GLP-1 receptor agonists, diagnosis of a related adverse health condition, visits with specialists and medical facilities, etc. This can help speed up the process of determining eligibility and shed more light on your potential for compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have remaining questions related to Ozempic and stomach paralysis, read the additional information below.

How common is stomach paralysis with Ozempic?
According to recent studies, stomach paralysis affects around 1% of patients taking Ozempic.
Are Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly sued over stomach paralysis claims?
Yes, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are being sued over stomach paralysis related to Ozempic and Mounjaro. The Ozempic lawsuit is currently an active lawsuit.
Can Ozempic mess up your stomach?
Yes, patient reports and clinical research have shown a connection between Ozempic and stomach issues including stomach paralysis, nausea, vomiting, constipation, ileus, blockages, and more.
Is gastroparesis from Ozempic reversible?
Although more research is needed to confirm the likely outcomes of Ozempic-induced gastroparesis, many patients experienced improved symptoms when they stopped using the drug. In severe cases of gastroparesis, surgical intervention may be required.
Does stomach paralysis from Ozempic go away or is it permanent?
There is currently no cure for stomach paralysis. However, some patients have seen relief after stopping Ozempic. Diet changes and medication have also been able to help alleviate symptoms.
Does Ozempic cause stomach paralysis?
Yes, studies have confirmed a connection between Ozempic and the development of stomach paralysis, though it is still considered a rare side effect.
Why does Ozempic cause stomach paralysis?
Ozempic is a semaglutide medication that slows down digestion. If your stomach takes too long to digest and empty its contents, this can lead to stomach paralysis.
What are the symptoms of Ozempic stomach paralysis?
Symptoms of Ozempic stomach paralysis include nausea, vomiting, bloating, excessive burping, abdominal pain, feeling full quickly and for a long time after eating, poor appetite, and heartburn.
How do you know if you have stomach paralysis from Ozempic?
You may have stomach paralysis from Ozempic if you experience the above symptoms after taking the drug. Doctors will typically perform a gastric emptying test to monitor how quickly your stomach empties its contents and confirm your diagnosis.
How do you reverse stomach paralysis?
There is currently no cure for stomach paralysis. However, some medications can help as well as diet changes such as eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding foods high in fats and sugars. 
How do you avoid stomach paralysis from Ozempic?
To help avoid stomach paralysis from Ozempic and its associated symptoms, patients may aid the digestion process by eating small, frequent meals and avoiding alcohol, processed foods, sugary foods, and beverages, as well as unhealthy fats. However, there will likely always be a risk of stomach paralysis from Ozempic, especially as manufacturers avoid highlighting and warning about the risk.