Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Sandy Fazili, Esq.
The Ozempic Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
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Ozempic Side Effects Overview

Ozempic is a weekly injection manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It is primarily used to treat Type 2 diabetes in adults but is now frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss. The drug is only available by prescription. It is used to improve blood sugar and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in adults with diabetes and heart disease. Ozempic (a GLP-1 receptor agonist) works by mimicking a hormone that increases insulin production and decreases sugar production in the liver. 

While initial dosages typically begin at 0.5 mg to 1 mg, they may be increased over time depending on the patient’s response. Patients have reported a number of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and constipation. In some cases, people may experience severe adverse health conditions, including allergic reactions, vision changes, and pancreatitis. Some of the most concerning reports include patients suffering from serious gastroparesis, ileus (intestinal blockage), and potential death. An increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors is noted on the FDA boxed warning. 

Lawsuits against the manufacturer allege that they knew of the potential for severe digestive issues with the use of Ozempic and failed to adequately warn of these risks. If you have been diagnosed with a bad side effect after taking Ozempic, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney. At King Law, we have extensive experience ensuring companies are held accountable for putting dangerous drugs on the market. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

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Most Common Side Effects of Ozempic

The active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide. Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist with a number of common side effects. In clinical trials, side effects often increased significantly when the dosage was upped from 0.5 to 1 mg. During these studies, side effects were assessed in a diverse group of participants, including 262 participants on placebo, 260 on 0.5 mg, and 261 on 1 mg. Side effects occurred at higher rates with the participants taking Ozempic compared to placebo groups.

Common side effects of Ozempic and the percent of patients on 0.5 mg that reported them:

  • Nausea: 15.8%
  • Vomiting: 5%
  • Diarrhea: 8.5%
  • Abdominal pain: 7.3%
  • Constipation: 5% 

While the side effects from Ozempic are generally mild and temporary and may subside within a few weeks, they can become more pronounced as the dosage is increased. To prevent or manage these side effects, healthcare professionals recommend a gradual increase in dosage and eating slowly. They also suggest choosing smaller, blander meals and avoiding greasy or sugary foods.

Side Effects of Ozempic by Dosage

The type and severity of Ozempic side effects frequently differed depending on the dosage. In general, the medication, administered via a self-injectable pen, starts with a low dosage and is gradually adjusted to find the smallest effective dose. Side effects can vary by individual and generally increase in severity with higher doses. 

Ozempic doses and strengths:

  • 2 mg/3 mL pen: delivers 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg per injection, allowing for four to eight doses. Initial treatment typically begins with this dosage.
  • 4 mg/3 mL pen: delivers 1 mg per injection, allowing for four doses.
  • 8 mg/3 mL pen: delivers 2 mg per injection, allowing for four doses.

Each pen includes several needles, with a new needle used for each injection. Pens are designed for multiple uses but should never be shared between individuals. Some common side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, were reported in higher numbers in the group taking a 1 mg dose compared to those on a lower dose.

How Long Do Ozempic Side Effects Last?

Ozempic side effects are typically mild and short-term, resolving within a few days to weeks. Nausea is the most common side effect, which generally subsides as a person’s body adjusts to the medication. In some instances, however, the side effects may last much longer, including after discontinuing the drug. This occurs most often with patients taking the highest (2 mg) dose. Side effects may last for weeks after the last dose is taken. 

Typically, side effects are more pronounced when a person begins taking Ozempic or when their dosage is increased. Nausea, the most common side effect of the medication, may recur with each increase in dosage. It takes approximately 4 to 5 weeks for the drug to reach a steady level in the body, and total effects may not be apparent for at least two months after treatment begins.

There may be a number of factors that affect the duration of side effects, including your genetics, overall health, and pre-existing medical conditions. The way that Ozempic interacts with other medications you are taking may also exacerbate the effects. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a healthcare provider before starting Ozempic, particularly if you have pre-existing conditions or are taking other medications.

Ozempic Long-Term Side Effects

Long-term side effects of Ozempic are still being studied but may include serious health conditions, including gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), cardiovascular concerts, thyroid cancer, diabetic retinopathy, and intestinal blockages. Several studies, such as the SUSTAIN and PIONEER trials, highlight these side effects associated with the use of semaglutide. 

Potential long-term side effects of Ozempic:

  • Cyclical vomiting
  • Stomach paralysis or gastroparesis
  • Intestinal blockages (ileus)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Thyroid C-cell tumors
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Diabetic retinopathy complications

Individuals with pre-existing heart conditions are encouraged to consult with their medical team before starting Ozempic. While many side effects alleviate over time, some require closer monitoring and treatment. The risk of adverse side effects may increase depending on other medications and the dosage of Ozempic you are currently taking.

The Bad Side Effects of Ozempic

There are a number of potentially dangerous side effects associated with the use of Ozempic. Over 10,000 complaints have been reported, including allegations of stomach paralysis, required hospital stays, and diabetic retinopathy. 

Potential bad side effects of Ozempic:

  • Gallstones
  • Cholecystitis
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid tumors
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Gastroparesis

Early reports of adverse side effects mostly involved gallbladder issues. However, as the popularity of the drug increased significantly, including among celebrities, there was an increased awareness about the negative effects of taking the drug, including stomach paralysis. Extreme side effects that may be experienced by a person include pancreatitis, kidney failure, and various cancers. Thyroid tumors and changes in vision were also reported.

Individuals who are diagnosed with pancreatitis or gallbladder issues may have to be hospitalized if the symptoms become too severe. Working with an attorney can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after a diagnosis.

Gastroparesis and Stomach Paralysis

Thousands of people have reported gastrointestinal problems while taking Ozempic and other semaglutide medications. One of the most severe is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is characterized by the paralysis of the stomach.

Symptoms of gastroparesis:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

It is alleged that Ozempic may directly impact gastrointestinal motility, which affects the movement of both the bowels and stomach. In serious cases, the stomach may empty too slowly, leading to paralysis. Healthcare providers often warn patients so that they are aware of the potential severe side effects associated with the medication.

Gastrointestinal Obstruction and Ileus

The FDA issued a new warning about Ozempic in October 2023 after receiving complaints from patients taking the drug. The warning label on the medication now cautions that the medication may cause intestinal blockage. 

Reports indicate that Ozempic may cause ileus, a condition characterized by a non-mechanical stoppage of intestinal content movement. It occurs when the intestine fails to push food and waste through and can result in serious health conditions, including severe constipation and abdominal bleeding. 

Symptoms of ileus:

  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cramping

Unlike intestinal obstruction, ileus (also known as paralytic ileus or functional ileus) does not involve a physical block but instead involves a functional stoppage. The condition may be treated with severe dietary restrictions (stopping oral food and fluids), administering fluids through an IV, and using a nasogastric tube for suction to relieve the pressure. 

This condition highlights the importance of intestinal motility in preventing buildup and blockages throughout the digestive tract. In general, ileus can result in 1 to 3 days with appropriate treatment.

FDA Adds New Side Effect Warnings to Ozempic

A study out of China published in May 2023 found that GLP-1 drugs might cause the intestines to lengthen and become inelastic, which may increase the risk of a blockage. The risk of intestinal blockage is highest after using the medication for one and a half years, which is longer than most clinical trials for these types of drugs. 

In October 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new warning about the potential for Ozempic to cause intestinal blockages. The new warning was added to the label, and a similar warning was issued for Wegovy, a weight loss drug by the same manufacturer. It highlights the risk of developing ileus (intestinal blockage) when taking Ozempic. Ileus is a condition where the intestines temporarily stop functioning. 

The FDA issued the new warning after receiving several reports of the condition linked to Ozempic usage. In total, 33 cases of ileus have been reported, including two deaths. The label notes, “Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a definite causal relationship to drug exposure.”

Have You Experienced Bad Side Effects From Ozempic?

If you are taking Ozempic, it is imperative that you consult with your healthcare provider about any adverse reactions to the medication. Even minor discomfort can lead to serious harm if left untreated. Individuals who have suffered severe side effects may be entitled to compensation and are strongly encouraged to contact King Law for a free legal consultation. 

Contact an Ozempic Lawyer

Individuals who have experienced bad side effects from Ozempic are strongly encouraged to contact King Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. It is important to act quickly as your case may be governed by a statute of limitations that affects the amount of time you have to file a claim. 

At King Law, we are well-versed in pursuing compensation from negligent drug makers, including in Ozempic-related cases. Contact us today to get started. Selecting an experienced firm to handle your case often proves critical to the outcome of your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Find answers to any major questions you have regarding side effects from Ozempic below.

What is the biggest side effect of Ozempic?
The most frequently reported side effects of Ozempic are nausea and vomiting. However, the medication has also been linked with severe gastrointestinal issues, including gastroparesis and intestinal blockages.
What are the long-term side effects of Ozempic?
Long-term side effects of Ozempic may include gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), cyclical vomiting, cardiovascular concerns, intestinal blockages, and an increased risk of developing C-cell thyroid tumors.
Is an Ozempic side effect stomach paralysis?
Thousands of patients have reported adverse side effects after taking Ozempic, including stomach paralysis or gastroparesis.
Did the FDA add a new side effect warning to Ozempic?
In October 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added a new side effect warning to Ozempic. The new label warns consumers that the medication has the potential to cause intestinal blockages.
What are the negative side effects of Ozempic?
There are a number of potential negative side effects of taking Ozempic. While many side effects are temporary and mild, others are long-term and may continue after a person stops using the drug. Adverse side effects include the potential for an increased risk of gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), intestinal blockages (ileus), and many other harmful conditions.
What are the most common side effects of Ozempic?
The most common side effects of Ozempic are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.
Do Ozempic side effects go away?
In many cases, the negative side effects associated with Ozempic go away as the body adjusts to the medication or once a person discontinues the use of the drug. However, in some instances, the side effects are long-term and may continue even after a person has stopped using Ozempic.
What are the gastrointestinal side effects of Ozempic?
There are a number of gastrointestinal side effects associated with the use of Ozempic, including gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), intestinal blockages (ileus), cyclical vomiting, and gallbladder issues.
Can Ozempic cause intestinal blockage?
While further studies are needed, it is believed that Ozempic may put consumers at an increased risk of developing intestinal blockages. The FDA updated the drug’s warning label to list this risk in October 2023.
What does Ozempic do to your organs?
Ozempic may have a serious impact on your organs, including your pancreas, gallbladder, and stomach. Patients have reported gastroparesis or stomach paralysis after taking the drug. Some studies also indicated that the drug may cause pancreatitis and gallbladder disorders.
Do Ozempic side effects get better with time?
Many Ozempic side effects get better over time. They may alleviate as the body gets used to the drug or may ease once the dosage is lowered. In some cases, Ozempic side effects may last long after a person has discontinued use of the drug.
How common are side effects with Ozempic?
Side effects are fairly common with Ozempic. In clinical studies, over 20% of those taking a 1 mg dose of the drug experienced nausea, and more than 9% reported vomiting. The number of people experiencing adverse side effects is expected to rise significantly as Ozempic’s popularity grows.
How long do side effects last after stopping Ozempic?
Side effects of Ozempic may last for a few days to weeks after stopping the drug. In some cases, however, it may take a substantial amount of time before the side effects ease.