Ozempic Side Effects May Cause “Risky Behavior” Among Users, Study Warns

Researchers say the sudden metabolic and caloric weight loss caused by Ozempic, combined with direct effects the drug has on brain functions may cause impulse control disorders.

As the popularity of Ozempic and similar drugs used for diabetes and weight loss grow, so do concerns over their side effects, which a new study now says include psychological changes that may affect decision-making skills and increase the risk that users engage in risky behaviors.

Researchers from the U.K. say a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GPL-1) agonists may cause impulse control disorders that could lead to sudden, poor life choices, potentially resulting in sudden divorces and addictive behaviors, according to findings published last month in The Quarterly Journal of Medicine.

GLP-1 drugs include the diabetes medications Ozempic and Mounjaro, as well as the weight loss drugs, Wegovy and Zepbound. Originally only approved for the treatment of diabetes, they have been hailed as breakthrough weight loss drugs, which has led to the widespread use by individuals throughout the United States.

The new research highlights concerns that adoption of the drugs has outpaced the ability of independent researchers to complete thorough studies on the potential side effects of Ozempic and other GLP-1.

Several safety signals have already emerged among users, most notably involving the development of a painful and debilitating stomach paralysis among some users, known as gastroparesis, which has resulted in a number of Ozempic lawsuits and Mounjaro lawsuits being filed against the drug makers, each raising nearly identical allegations that drug makers withheld critical information from consumers and the medical community to increase profits.

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In this latest study, researchers from the University of West London and the Institute of Psychiatry are warning doctors to be aware that of the potential for impulse-control disorder (ICD), which could lead to negative consequences due to reckless life changes, and the potential for addiction to gambling and sex.

“Effects on cognition has received scant attention, with the few studies published focusing on longer term outcomes, rather than during the immediate phase of rapid weight loss,” the researchers indicate. “The authors of this article (a gastroenterologist and a psychiatrist) have become aware of individuals who have started on GLP-1 medication and made major life changing decisions regarding their domestic situation (such as divorce, house moves) within the first few months of starting treatment.”

The researchers note that while there may be other underlying motives for these events, some appear to be reckless and seemed to occur shortly after patients began receiving injections of Ozempic and other drugs of the same class.

They indicate that these cognitive changes in how recipients of the drugs make decisions, due to a combination of “metabolic changes resulting from calorie deficient/rapid weight loss, in combination with direct effects of GLP-1 agonists on brain functions.”

Failure to Warn Lawsuits Over Ozempic Side Effects

The manufacturers of Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs already face lawsuits over failing to warn about side effects linked to the medication, following growing reports of users experiencing stomach paralysis, intestinal blockages, and other serious gastrointestinal problem.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided in February 2024 to centralize all gastroparesis lawsuits involving any GLP-1 medication in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

As lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months, it is widely expected that thousands of failure to warn Ozempic lawsuits, Mounjaro lawsuits and other gastroparesis claims will be transferred to the MDL, as nearly 2% of the U.S. population has been prescribed one of the GLP-1 medications, either for diabetes treatment or weight loss.

To help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation, the presiding will likely establish a bellwether process to prepare a small group of lawsuits involving gastroparesis side effects for early trial dates. However, if the parties are unable to negotiate GLP-1 settlements or another resolution for the litigation after the bellwether trials, the Court may later remand each case back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.


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