Injured people from across the country are filing Ozempic lawsuits for debilitating injuries, including severe gastroparesis (known as stomach paralysis), gastroenteritis, severe vomiting, and other health issues. The lawsuits allege Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic, made billions in sales by marketing Ozempic for weight loss but failed to warn consumers the drug carries dangerous side effects.
In August of 2023, CNN and other major media reported on an Ozempic lawsuit alleging Novo Nordisk knew Ozempic (generic semaglutide) could increase the risk of developing severe gastrointestinal issues, including gastroparesis and gastroenteritis, but failed to warn consumers. The lawsuit seeks damages for past and future pain and suffering, health care costs, medical monitoring, and punitive damages against the company. Lawyers believe the litigation will grow to include hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of claimants throughout the U.S.
If you or a member of your family received semaglutide injections for weight loss and experienced side effects like gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), persistent vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, you may qualify for an Ozempic lawsuit. At Wisner Baum, we have partnered with leading Ozempic lawyers taking the fight to Novo Nordisk on behalf of individuals harmed by semaglutide side effects.
If you are interested in learning more about your legal rights, call us today at (855) 948-5098 or fill out our free and confidential Ozempic case evaluation.
What is Ozempic?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved semaglutide (generic for Ozempic) in 2017 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Ozempic works by mimicking a hormone that our bodies naturally produce called “glucagon-like peptide-1,” or GLP-1, which can cause the pancreas to release insulin and block the liver from releasing sugar. By regulating insulin, the drug also keeps food in the stomach for longer, making people feel fuller longer.
There are several types of semaglutide medications, including:
- Ozempic: Injection that comes in 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, or 2mg dose pens. Patients typically receive weekly Ozempic injections.
- Wegovy: Injection that comes in 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 1.7mg, or 2.4mg dose pens. Patients typically receive weekly Wegovy injections.
- Rybelsus: A tablet that comes in 3mg, 7mg, or 14mg doses. Patients take Rybelsus tablets daily.
How Much Does Ozempic Cost?
Without insurance coverage, Ozempic and Wegovy can cost from $1,000 to $1,700 per month.
The real cost, however, is the significant side effects that some people continue to feel after they stop taking Ozempic. Emily Wright, a schoolteacher in Toronto, took Ozempic for over a year and lost 80 pounds. But according to Wright, she now vomits so frequently that she was forced to take a leave of absence from her job. “I’ve almost been off Ozempic for a year, but I’m still not back to my normal,” she said.
Ozempic for Weight Loss
While semaglutide was not initially approved for weight loss specifically, that did not stop Novo Nordisk from promoting Ozempic for weight loss, according to lawsuits. In 2018, Novo Nordisk launched a TV ad campaign stating that “adults lost on average up to 12 pounds” when taking Ozempic. The company spent approximately $884,000,000 over the next five years on television ads in the U.S. to promote semaglutide drugs with most of the spending allocated specifically to advertising Ozempic.
As a result of Novo Nordisk’s marketing, Ozempic prescriptions reached an all-time high of 373,000 in one week in February of 2023, more than half of which were new prescriptions. In June of 2023, new prescriptions for Ozempic surged by 140 percent from the previous year, according to media reports.
Ozempic even found its way into celebrity culture, with Jimmy Kimmel quipping about Ozempic and weight loss while hosting the 2023 Academy Awards. The TikTok hashtag #Ozempic had 273 million views on November 22, 2022. Months later, it reached well over one billion views.
But Ozempic is linked to serious side effects that have devastated lives. Joanie Knight, a Louisiana woman in her 30s, told CNN: “I wish I never touched it. I wish I’d never heard of it in my life…This medicine made my life hell. So much hell. It has cost me money. It cost me a lot of stress; it cost me days and nights and trips with my family. It’s cost me a lot, and it’s not worth it. The price is too high.”
Brenda Allen, a woman in her 40s, was prescribed Wegovy for weight loss. “And even now, being off the medication for almost a year, I’m still having a lot of problems,” she said.
What Are Ozempic Side Effects?
A growing body of medical research has connected Ozempic to side effects that can lead to severe and distressing injuries. Novo Nordisk lists the most common Ozempic side effects as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation. Other reported side effects include pancreatitis, changes in vision, low blood sugar, kidney problems, serious allergic reactions, and gallbladder problems.
Ozempic lawsuits against Novo Nordisk allege the following side effects:
Gastroparesis: Commonly known as stomach paralysis, gastroparesis is a condition characterized by abnormal stomach muscle function, resulting in impaired contraction, and grinding of food. This dysfunction hinders the stomach's ability to efficiently empty its contents.
Gastroenteritis Inflammation of the stomach and intestines. While viral gastroenteritis is also known as stomach flu, gastroenteritis may also be caused by ingesting certain medication, including Ozempic. Gastroenteritis symptoms include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, muscle aches, headaches, and fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, the main complication of gastroenteritis, and which can lead to death.
While the delayed gastric emptying caused by Ozempic may aid weight loss, long-term usage may lead to a chronic condition. Indeed, the plaintiff in the August 2023 Ozempic lawsuit alleges her teeth fell out due to the excessive vomiting caused by the medication.
Ozempic and the Risks of Acute Gallbladder Disease
Gallbladder disease presents as a potential side effect of GLP-1 receptor agonists, including Ozempic (semaglutide). Studies show that these medications may lead to an elevated risk of developing gallbladder disease or bile duct disease, including conditions like cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) and cholelithiasis (formation of gallstones).
The precise mechanism through which Ozempic contributes to gallbladder disease remains uncharted territory. However, one theory suggests that these medications not only slow down gastric emptying but also impede the emptying process of the gallbladder.
A lack of regular and complete emptying may lead to bile concentration within the gallbladder, increasing the likelihood of gallstone formation. Unfortunately, the presence of gallstones can obstruct bile ducts, ultimately causing inflammation or infection in the gallbladder, necessitating surgery for removal.
Symptoms of gallbladder disease typically manifest as severe pain in the upper right or central region of the abdomen. The pain can be constant or intermittent, accompanied by pronounced stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
Studies on Semaglutide
A meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the link between GLP-1-1 RA treatment and gallbladder and biliary diseases. Randomized clinical trials were utilized to compare the use of GLP-1 RA drugs with placebo or non-GLP-1 RA drugs in adults. The primary outcome measured was the composite of gallbladder or biliary diseases, while secondary outcomes included biliary diseases, biliary cancer, cholecystectomy, cholecystitis, and cholelithiasis.
The meta-analysis revealed that the use of GLP-1 RAs was associated with an increased risk of gallbladder or biliary diseases, especially when used at higher doses, for longer durations, and for weight loss.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis to examine the association between GLP1-RA and cholelithiasis. The results indicated a significant increased risk of cholelithiasis with the use of GLP-1 RAs when compared to placebo or active comparator.
This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the safety of GLP1-RA drugs in relation to pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and cholelithiasis. The researchers concluded that GLP1-RA was safe for pancreatitis, but there was an increased risk of cholelithiasis associated with the use of these drugs.
This comparative study aimed to determine if there was an increased risk of bile duct and gallbladder disease in patients with type 2 diabetes who were treated with DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1 analogues. Out of more than 70,000 patients, 853 were hospitalized for bile duct and gallbladder disease. The study found that the use of GLP-1 analogues was associated with an elevated risk of these illnesses, as well as an increased risk of cholecystectomy. The researchers advised physicians to be cautious about prescribing these drugs due to the identified risks.
Is There an Ozempic Class Action?
As of August 2023, there is not an Ozempic class action lawsuit, though that could change. An Ozempic class action would likely aim to secure medical monitoring for individuals who may face future risks after using these diet drugs or seek compensation from the drug manufacturers for insufficiently disclosing the serious risks associated with their medications.
However, it is important to note that individual personal injury lawsuits stemming from gastroparesis or gastroenteritis will involve distinct damages for each plaintiff and will not be consolidated into a class action lawsuit involving Ozempic, Wegovy, or Rybelsus users.
Given that over 1 in 10 Americans have reportedly used Ozempic for weight loss purposes at some point, it is anticipated that a significant number of individual lawsuits will be filed courts throughout the coming months and years.
Due to the shared allegations and injuries, the establishment of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) may become necessary in the future to manage the litigation. An MDL (or a state court version of an MDL) streamlines discovery and pretrial proceedings and functions similarly to a class action but the individual cases are tried separately. However, it should be emphasized that if the drug manufacturer fails to reach a global Ozempic settlement agreement or any other resolution during an MDL, individual claims may subsequently be remanded to courts where they were filed, paving the way for separate trials in the future.
OZEMPIC VS MOUNJARO
Ozempic (semaglutide) and Mounjaro (tirzepatide) are both prescription medications commonly used in conjunction with diet and exercise to regulate blood sugar levels in adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Both medications are:
- In a class of drugs known as incretin mimetics.
- Administered through subcutaneous injections on a weekly basis.
- Costly if you are paying for them out-of-pocket.
- Widely used for weight loss even though neither is FDA-approved specifically for this purpose.
- Implicated in lawsuits alleging gastroparesis, gastroenteritis, and other side effects.
Manufactured by Eli Lilly, Mounjaro (tirzepatide) functions as a dual-acting agonist for GIP and GLP-1 receptors. GIP and GLP-1 are natural incretin hormones. Mounjaro aids in reducing fasting and postprandial glucose levels, curbs food intake, and can lead to weight reduction in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic (semaglutide), manufactured by Novo Nordisk, acts exclusively as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. By binding to GLP-1 receptors, it stimulates insulin release from the pancreas when necessary and slows down the rate at which food moves through the digestive system. This mechanism can contribute to a feeling of satiety, reduced food consumption, and subsequent weight loss.
According to Dr. Akshaya Srikanth Bhagavathula, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas who has studied tirzepatide, Mounjaro may cause more severe side effects when compared to Ozempic.
How Much Can You Get for an Ozempic Lawsuit?
The compensation you could recover in an Ozempic lawsuit depends on your claims for damages, whether the case resolves in a settlement, and other variables. Generally, an Ozempic settlement may cover several types of damages, including (but not limited to):
Medical Care (past and future): Covers a variety of medical expenses, including hospitals stays, medications, and more.
Lost Income and Wages (past and future): If your injuries rendered you incapable of carrying out your professional duties or required you to miss a significant amount of time off work.
Pain and Suffering (past and future): Compensation for the physical and emotional anguish endured as a result of Ozempic side effects.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life (past and future): If your injuries impede your ability to participate in activities that previously brought you joy and fulfillment.
Punitive Damages: Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are designed to punish negligent corporations for committing willful, malicious, and intentional acts, and to deter others from similar wrongdoing. While they are not always awarded, punitive damages can be substantial.
Who Can File a Lawsuit Against Ozempic?
You may qualify for an Ozempic lawsuit if you:
- Used Ozempic, Wegovy, or Rybelsus (any brand semaglutide medication)
- Were diagnosed with gastrointestinal issues like gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), gastroenteritis, severe vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea
Attorneys allege the warning labels on Ozempic and other semaglutide medications were insufficient, putting consumers at risk of serious harm. Filing an Ozempic lawsuit allows you to seek justice and compensation for your injuries. It also sends a message to Novo Nordisk that putting profit above people comes at a price.
Be advised: States have statutes of limitations that restrict how long you have to file an Ozempic case. Please contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected.
You can find out if you are eligible to file an Ozempic lawsuit and hold Novo Nordisk accountable by calling (855) 948-5098 today.
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