Lawsuit Alleges Ozempic Caused Gastroparesis, Severe Vomitting and Hospitalization

Novo Nordisk has downplayed the severity of gastrointestinal problems caused by Ozempic, according to lawsuit filed by a user left with gastroparesis, also known as a paralyzed stomach.

An Iowa woman has filed a product liability lawsuit against Novo Nordisk, alleging that the drug maker has failed to warn users and the medical community about the risk that side effects of Ozempic may cause gastroparesis, which left her with severe abdominal pain and persistent vomiting, requiring multiple trips to the emergency room while taking the blockbuster diabetes drug.

Melissa Huffman filed the complaint (PDF) on December 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, indicating that she developed a paralyzed stomach after using Ozempic for nearly four years.

Ozempic (semaglutide) was initially approved for the treatment of people with Type 2 diabetes. However, amid aggressive advertisements that promoted the weight loss benefits, Ozempic has been increasingly prescribed as a diet drug in recent years, making it a blockbuster treatment that is now used by millions of Americans.

As a result of the popularity of Ozempic for weight loss, Novo Nordisk has introduced a higher dose version under the brand name Wegovy, which is specifically approved as a diet drug. However, it contains the same active ingredient.

Although advertisements promote the drug as safe and effective, with few long-term side effects, there have been rising concerns over long-term gastrointestinal issues linked to the medications, and a number of former users are now investigating potential Ozempic lawsuits and Wegovy lawsuits, each raising similar claims that they developed painful and debilitating stomach problems, which could have been avoided if false and misleading information had not been provided for users and the medical community.

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According to her complaint, Huffman began taking Ozempic in December 2019, and used the medication until April 2023.

The lawsuit indicates Ozempic caused gastroparesis, which is also known as a paralyzed stomach, resulting in Hoffman experiencing severe vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme abdominal pain. As a result, she had to take additional medications to treat the symptoms and required multiple emergency room visits due to the pain and vomiting.

Independent Studies Highlight Ozempic Gastroparesis Risks

Gastroparesis is a painful condition that impacts the stomach muscles and prevents proper stomach emptying. It is also sometimes referred to as stomach paralysis, gastric stasis or a gastric obstruction, and typically resulting in persistent nausea, vomiting and other complications, which often require repeated hospitalizations or medical visits.

A study published in October found that Ozempic triples the risk of gastroparesis among users when compared to users of non-injectable weight loss drugs. The research compared the gastrointestinal side effects of Ozempic and other injectable GLP-1 agonists like liraglutide (Victoza and Saxenda) against those experienced by users of Contrave (bupropion-naltrexone), an oral weight management medication.

The findings indicated that about 1% of Ozempic users developed stomach paralysis, compared to 0.7% of liraglutide users and around 0.3% of those on Contrave. The study highlighted that injectable semaglutide and liraglutide were significantly more likely to cause stomach paralysis and bowel obstruction than Contrave.

“From the date Novo Nordisk received FDA approval to market Ozempic until the present time, Novo Nordisk made, distributed, marketed, and/or sold Ozempic without adequate warning to Plaintiff’s prescribing physician(s) and/or Plaintiff that Ozempic was causally associated with and/or could cause gastroparesis and its sequelae,” Huffman’s lawsuit states. “Defendants’ actual and constructive knowledge derived from their clinical studies, case reports, and the medical literature, including the medical literature and case reports referenced in this Complaint.”

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new Ozempic warning label update, indicating that it can increase the risk of intestinal blockages. The warning links Ozempic to a condition known as ileus, which can cause abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation, difficulty passing gas and difficulty eating.

December 2023 Ozempic Gastroparesis Lawsuit Update

On the same day Huffman filed her complaint, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to centralize all Ozempic gastroparesis lawsuits brought throughout the federal court system, asking the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to transfer the claims to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, given similar questions of fact and law raised in each complaint.

While the motion indicates there are currently less than two dozen cases filed in different U.S. District Courts, and Ozempic stomach paralysis lawyers are currently investigating more than 10,000 additional claims that may be filed in the coming months and years.

In complex pharmaceutical litigation, where large numbers of claims are brought by users of the same medication or medical product, each experiencing the same or similar injuries, it is common for the U.S. JPML to centralize the litigation to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues that will arise in all claims, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of certain witnesses and parties who will be required to testify in each of the lawsuits.

If an MDL is established the lawsuit filed by Hoffman will be transferred to the Western District of Louisiana or wherever the U.S. JPML centralizes the pretrial proceedings. However, if the parties fail to negotiate Ozempic gastroparesis settlements during the MDL proceedings, each individual claim may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.


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