The diabetic medication, Ozempic, has recently made headlines for its weight loss benefits. While the medication was initially intended to help treat Type 2 diabetes, many individuals have experienced significant weight loss from taking the drug. However, like all medications, Ozempic can have some adverse side effects, especially in those who do not have Type 2 diabetes and are using it for weight loss. So, what are the bad side effects of Ozempic that have led to lawsuits?
If you or a loved one has suffered severe side effects from Ozempic, you’ll need an experienced pharmaceutical injury attorney on your side every step of the way. To learn more about your legal options, call 713-622-7271 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic is an injectable medication form of semaglutide intended for blood sugar control (glucose) in patients with Type 2 diabetes. This medication is one of the more popular semaglutides on the market. It’s important to note that it is not a substitute for insulin.
What Is Ozempic Used For?
Ozempic was approved in 2017 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults with Type 2 diabetes. It’s a weekly injection used by diabetics to lower blood sugar. Ozempic helps the pancreas make more insulin, lowering blood sugar levels. While it’s not approved for weight loss, some healthcare providers have prescribed it for weight loss.
Is Ozempic Safe in 2023?
For those with Type 2 diabetes, Ozempic is a relatively safe prescription medication. Individuals who participated in clinical trials for the drug typically experienced mild side effects.
Ozempic doesn’t have many drug interactions, but since it slows digestion, it could impact the absorption of certain medications. It’s important to notify your healthcare provider of all medications you’re currently taking.
What Were the Most Common Side Effects of Ozempic in Clinical Trials?
During the clinical trials, participants most often reported experiencing nausea. Other common side effects are vomiting and diarrhea. These side effects occurred more frequently when patients increased their dosage.
During the Ozempic clinical trials, 5% of participants reported the following side effects:
- Abdominal pain
What Are the Bad Side Effects of Ozempic?
Like all medications, Ozempic comes with its fair share of side effects. However, some side effects are more serious than others and can lead to major health issues.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is the most common side effect that people experience when taking Ozempic. During the clinical trials, 20% of patients reported nausea when taking Ozempic for Type 2 diabetes. Those taking higher doses of Ozempic have an increased chance of experiencing nausea. Since increased amounts of Ozempic can experience more severe effects, healthcare providers slowly raise the dosage to help patients minimize these side effects.
In addition to nausea, some individuals may experience vomiting, but it’s not as common as nausea. It’s recommended for those taking Ozempic to eat small, low-fat meals and to stay upright after eating to decrease the risk of nausea and vomiting.
Over time, patients should notice a decrease in these side effects. If the side effects continue or worsen, it could signify a more serious medical condition.
Abdominal pain is another common side effect of Ozempic, but much like nausea and vomiting, the pain should decrease over time. If you experience severe stomach pain, you may be experiencing gallbladder issues or pancreatitis, and you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Diarrhea affects around 9% of individuals taking Ozempic for Type 2 diabetes and 30% of those taking it for weight loss per the same clinical trials mentioned above. These side effects, like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, should lessen the longer a patient takes Ozempic.
Fatigue is a less common side effect of Ozempic. However, it does affect those taking another semaglutide, Wegovy. Since this medication aids weight loss by decreasing patients’ appetites, the fewer calories that are being consumed can lead to patients feeling tired. As you continue to take semaglutide, fatigue should reduce as your body gets used to the lower calorie intake.
Another common side effect patients experience is changes to their faces as they lose weight. This side effect has become so popular in the entertainment industry that it has even received the nickname “Ozempic face.”
While the medication was originally prescribed for those with Type 2 diabetes, Ozempic was discovered to help those without diabetes lose weight. (It’s important to note that Ozempic has NOT been approved as a weight loss drug.)
As individuals continue taking Ozempic, they may notice a slimmer, less full face. In some cases, they may have loose skin and more prominent wrinkles.
Low Blood Sugar
Those taking Ozempic with other blood sugar-lowering medications may experience lower blood sugar. Anyone taking insulin or sulfonylureas in addition to Ozempic is at risk of this side effect. If you add a semaglutide to your medication routine, your doctor may adjust the dosages on your current blood sugar-reducing medicines.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, you may be at an increased risk of experiencing severe low blood sugar. Under these circumstances, your doctor may prescribe an emergency glucagon product to raise low blood sugar if severe hypoglycemia occurs.
People who lose weight quickly may experience hair loss or shedding, which doctors believe is the reason those taking Ozempic for weight loss have been losing their hair. Much like the side effects above, the longer a person takes Ozempic, they should notice less shedding and hair loss.
Since Ozempic lowers appetite, healthcare professionals recommend taking vitamins and supplements to ensure patients receive enough vitamins, minerals, and protein.
While gallbladder disease has been known to affect some patients taking Ozempic, this side effect is much less common than those mentioned above. In fact, fewer than 2% of the clinical trial participants reported gallbladder disease or gallstones.
Even though gallbladder disease does not affect many people taking this medication, it’s still important to be aware of the symptoms. Those experiencing gallbladder problems may notice serious abdominal pain, jaundice, and fever. If you notice these symptoms, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.
Pancreatitis is another medical condition that is rare in patients taking Ozempic. Despite this being an uncommon side effect, pancreatitis can be life-threatening. When you experience the following symptoms, contact your doctor – severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or jaundice.
Kidney damage has been reported in some rare cases. Severe vomiting, nausea, and/or diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can cause kidney damage. Patients with kidney problems are at a higher risk of kidney disease. In more severe cases, patients treated with Ozempic who already have kidney issues have had kidney failure.
Serious Allergic Reactions
Patients taking Ozempic may experience allergic reactions, like rash, redness, or itching around the injection site. A serious allergic reaction to Ozempic is rare but has been reported. If you notice throat, tongue, or face swelling or shortness of breath following your injection, call 911 immediately.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in Ozempic or have had reactions to medications in the same family, as it can increase your chances of serious allergic reactions.
Increased Risk of Thyroid C-Cell Tumors
Boxes of Ozempic come with a very strict warning label from the FDA about the risks of developing thyroid tumors. This warning comes from animal studies that resulted in rodents developing thyroid tumors after exposure to GLP-1 antagonists. However, human studies did not confirm the risk of developing thyroid C-cell tumors.
If your family has a history of thyroid cancer, it’s important to be aware of this side effect. Signs of thyroid tumors may include lumps in the neck and jaw and neck pain.
How to Manage Ozempic Side Effects
There are some ways that patients can manage or prevent the side effects of Ozempic. Watching what you eat, taking anti-nausea medication, or eating slowly has helped some individuals manage side effects like nausea. These side effects usually last the first several weeks after they begin taking the medication and should stop over time.
Listed below are some tips to help manage the side effects of Ozempic:
- Begin with a small dose and increase over time
- Avoid eating greasy or fried foods and large, fatty meals
- Eat bland foods like toast, crackers, or rice.
- Monitor blood sugar to prevent hypoglycemia
- Eat slowly
- Eat meals with high water content, like soup
- Take anti-nausea medication
- Eat more frequent, light, small meals
- Monitor the signs for pancreatitis, thyroid problems, and retinopathy
- Take Ozempic at the same time every day with a meal
- Stay hydrated by drinking cold drinks, like water
How Long Do Ozempic Side Effects Last?
The mild Ozempic side effects, like nausea, should disappear after several days or weeks. In rare cases, the side effects may not dissipate. If side effects continue over several months, seeing your healthcare provider is recommended.
When to See Your Doctor About Ozempic Side Effects
If side effects continue over time and become troublesome or if you’re having severe allergic reactions, you should meet with your doctor. If the allergic reactions affect your breathing, it’s considered a medical emergency, and you should seek treatment immediately.
Some side effects of Ozempic are more serious and will require medical attention. You should meet with your doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following side effects.
- Serious allergic reactions: Symptoms include swelling of the tongue, throat, face, or lips. It can also include issues with breathing, rapid heart rate, rash, or dizziness.
- Pancreatitis: Symptoms include abdominal pain that won’t go away and may move to the back. Patients can also experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, and fever.
- Hypoglycemia: Symptoms include fast heartbeat, sweating, shaking, hunger, nervousness, dizziness, confusion, or irritability.
What Ozempic Side Effects Have Led to Lawsuits?
As of August 2023, some patients who experienced serious side effects have filed lawsuits against Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk. One patient, Jaclyn Bjorklund, filed an Ozempic lawsuit after suffering gastroparesis, or paralyzed stomach. Gastroparesis is a medical condition that causes food to move too slowly or stop moving completely through the stomach. Bjorklund suffered from severe nausea and vomiting, which caused her teeth to fall out. She named both Ozempic and Mounjaro in her lawsuit, claiming they failed to adequately warn patients about the risk of developing gastroparesis.
Symptoms related to gastroparesis are:
- Severe vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal bloating
- Issues with blood sugar levels
- Significant weight loss and malnutrition
The law firm representing Bjorklund is investigating over 500 more semaglutide gastroparesis claims.
Contact an Ozempic Lawsuit Attorney at Reich & Binstock
If you or a loved one has suffered from severe Ozempic side effects, you may be eligible to file a drug injury lawsuit. The Houston personal injury attorneys from Reich & Binstock will evaluate our claims, collect evidence, and help you through the entire legal process.
For over 30 years, our law firm has represented countless clients with pharmaceutical and personal injury cases. When you’re looking to file a lawsuit at this level, you want only the best legal representation fighting for your rights. At Reich & Binstock, we never back down from a fight, even against major pharmaceutical companies. No case is too big (or small) for our law firm to handle.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call 713-622-7271 today.