Ozempic Gasteroparesis Risk Concealed By Novo Nordisk Through Misleading Marketing: Lawsuit

Pennsylvania woman was taken off of the Ozempic injections after her stomach pains and constant vomiting symptoms were linked to gastroparesis, also known as stomach paralysis.

According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, Novo Nordisk has engaged in a massive campaign to conceal information about the risk of gastroparesis from Ozempic, by providing false and misleading information to consumers and the medical community about side effects linked to the drug.

In a complaint (PDF) filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Laura Marrero indicates that she developed severe nausea and vomiting, as well as difficulty swallowing and rectal bleeding, while using Ozempic weeky to treat her diabetes.

Even after she was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pain and vomiting, she continued to take Ozempic as prescribed for months, until her nurse practitioner advised that the symptoms may be related to side effects of the medication. However, she indicates that neither she nor her other medical providers were aware of the Ozempic gastroparesis risk since the drug maker concealed information that may impact sales of their blockbuster medication.

Misleading Marketing About Ozempic Created a “Mega Seller”

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. Marrero’s lawsuit claims those promotions were misleading.

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 pursuing Ozempic lawsuits and Wegovy lawsuits against Novo Nordisk, each raising similar claims that the drug maker has provided false and misleading information to users and the medical community.

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“Throughout the marketing, Defendants fail to disclose the true serious side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy, including but not limited to hospitalization and death,” according to the complaint. “Defendants also fail to disclose on their label and patient brochure for Ozempic and/or Wegovy that in order to maintain any weight loss, the patient must stay on the drug permanently or most patients will regain most of the weight within one year and virtually all weight will be regained within five years.”

Ozempic Gastroparesis Side Effects

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 the stomach paralysis 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.

Novo Nordisk Concealed Link Between Ozempic and Gastroparesis

Marrero indicates that Novo Nordisk knew or should have known that users and consumers were unaware of the risks and magnitude of problems that may be caused by gastroparesis from Ozempic, and repeatedly failed to warn users or the medical community about the potential side effects.

According to the complaint, Marrero was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and prescribed Ozempic in May 2023, receiving a .25 mg injection of the diabetes drug every week. However, she repeatedly suffered nausea, vomiting and diarrhea the night and following day every time she received an Ozempic injection.

In August 2023, Marrero was hospitalized due to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and rectal bleeding. She was diagnosed with chronic gastritis and reactive gastropathy. Two months later, she was told to stop taking Ozempic, which a healthcare professional told Marrero was causing her nausea due to gastroparesis.

However, Marrero claims that she was unaware of the connection since Novo Nordisk promoted the injections as safe and downplayed health risks linked to the medication.

“Defendants ignored the association between the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists and the risk of developing severe gastrointestinal issues, including gastroparesis and gastroenteritis,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ failure to disclose information that they possessed regarding the association between the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists and the risk of developing severe gastrointestinal issues, including gastroparesis and gastroenteritis, rendered the warnings for this medication inadequate.”

As a result of the failure to warn about the Ozempic gastroparesis risks, Marrero seeks compensatory damages for the injuries she suffered, as well as punitive damages designed to punish the drug maker for reckless disregard for the health, safety and welfare of users of the medication.

December 2023 Ozempic Lawsuit Update

Marrero’s claim comes as a growing number of nearly identical complaints are being filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, each describing similar circumstances were users experienced permanent injuries from stomach paralysis caused by Ozempic side effects.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the cases, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to centralize all Ozempic stomach paralysis lawsuits on December 1, asking the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to transfer claims brought throughout the federal court system to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, for coordinated management before one judge during discovery and pretrial proceedings.

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 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, Marrero’ lawsuit 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 settlements for stomach paralysis 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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