Fake Ozempic Linked to Hypoglycemia Injuries, Poison Centers Warn

The FDA has reportedly seized thousands of fake Ozempic products over the last year, the report indicates.

Counterfeit Ozempic products were likely responsible for at least three cases of hypoglycemia in the U.S. in recent months, according to a new report, which warns that the trend may continue and more consumers could face the risk of life-threatening low blood sugar from fake versions of the blockbuster diabetes drug, which is widely used off-label for weight loss by millions of Americans.

According to a Reuters report published on January 24, the incidents were identified by America’s Poison Centers, and involved suspected fake versions of Ozempic used within the last year. A fourth U.S. cases of hypoglycemia was also linked to a compounded version of semaglutide, which is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Ozempic.

Novo Nordisk first introduced Ozempic in 2017, for treatment of Type II diabetes. However, as a result of substantial weight loss benefits seen in clinical trials and among early users, the drug has been widely prescribed for obesity, and demand for Ozempic has spiked over the past year.

Ozempic Stomach Paralysis Concerns Rise with Popularity

To address the growing interest in Ozempic for weight loss, Novo Nordisk introduced another version of semaglutide under the brand name Wegovy, which has been specifically approved for use as a diet drug, containing higher doses of the same active ingredients in Ozempic.

However, as the drugs’ popularity began to surge over the past few years, reports have begun to emerge involving users who experienced stomach paralysis side effects from Ozempic, commonly resulting in hospitalization and long-term health complications.

As a result of the drug maker’s failure to disclose this risk on the drug label, a growing number of Ozempic lawsuits and Wegovy lawsuits have been filed in recent months, alleging that a desire for profits was placed before consumer safety, by withholding accurate information about the severity of stomach problems users were experiencing.

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Were You Injured by Ozempic, Wegovy or Mounjaro?

Lawyers are pursuing Ozempic lawsuits, Wegovy lawsuits and Mounjaro lawsuits over gastroparesis or stomach paralysis, which can leave users with long-term gastrointestinal side effects

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Despite growing information about the undisclosed stomach risk, prescriptions for Ozempic continue to grow, leading to widespread shortages over the last year. This has caused many users to turn to compounding pharmacies that can manufacture the drug, as well as a number of counterfeit products flooding the market both in the U.S. and abroad.

Fake Ozempic Hypoglycemia Risks

Reports of hypoglycemia injuries linked to Ozempic are similar to incidents that have also been identified in Austria, Belgium, Lebanon and other countries. In some cases, the fake Ozempic actually contained insulin and not semaglutide, which could lead to fatally low blood sugar levels.

The American Poison Centers indicates that it has received a total of 3,316 reports involving Ozempic poisoning last year. The Reuters report now indicates that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the problem, and that the agency has seized thousands of fake Ozempic products in recent months.

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose levels, or blood sugar levels, drop too low. For diabetes, that is below 70 milligrams per deciliter.

Symptoms can include heart palpitations, confusion, shakiness and anxiety. In most cases the condition can be treated by consuming high-sugar foods, but it often requires hospitalization. When blood sugar drops to extremely low levels, it can result in coma and death.

The American Poison Centers reportedly told Reuters that all three cases of fake Ozempic hypoglycemia reported in 2023 resulted in the need for hospital treatment.


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