Can You Die from Taking Ozempic? Here’s What You Need to Know

Can You Die from Taking Ozempic? Here’s What You Need to Know

Lately it seems like everyone from Hollywood stars to your next-door neighbor have gone crazy for Ozempic. Chelsea Handler, Tracy Morgan, and Amy Schumer have talked about their own experiences, while others denounce the trend. But there’s no denying its popularity. One study found that prescriptions for drugs like Ozempic increased 2,000% percent between 2019 and 2022, with more than 5 million handed out in 2022.

Now, patients are making claims of severe side effects and beginning to file Ozempic lawsuits. But what is Ozempic? Are there any Ozempic-related deaths? And what should you do if you’ve been harmed by this weight-loss miracle drug?

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a drug that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for type 2 diabetes, but it’s also frequently prescribed “off label” as a weight-loss drug. Its generic name is semaglutide, and it’s given once a week as an injection. It works by helping your body produce a hormone called incretin, which causes the pancreas to make more insulin and lowers your blood sugar.

The same hormone that helps you make more insulin also signals to your brain that you’re full, slowing down your digestion and lowering your appetite. That’s why it has taken off as a weight-loss drug – and that’s also the reason behind the recent lawsuits against Ozempic.

Drugs Similar to Ozempic

Ozempic isn’t approved for weight loss, but semaglutide is approved for that purpose under another name: Wegovy. Ozempic and Wegovy work in a similar way and are both made by Novo Nordisk, but Wegovy contains higher doses of semaglutide and is specifically approved for overweight or obese people.

Another Drug, Mounjaro, has also become popular for weight loss. It has a different active ingredient, tirzepatide, but also works by activating incretin hormones. Ozempic and Mounjaro are both approved for type 2 diabetes, not weight loss. Mounjaro is also made by a different manufacturer, Eli Lilly.

Side Effects of Ozempic

The most common side effects of Ozempic are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. In clinical trials, one in five people report nausea and one in 10 reported vomiting, which are very high numbers. These side effects are included on the label, along with a warning about “delayed gastric emptying,” which means you don’t digest and excrete food as quickly as you should. However, the label doesn’t include a warning about gastroparesis specifically, which is the basis for the Ozempic lawsuits we’ll get into later.

Who Is Novo Nordisk?

Ozempic is made by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, which saw more than $25 billion in total sales in 2023. (Yes, you read that right.) Their sales for GLP-1 diabetes drugs, which includes Ozempic and Wegovy, increased by 56% that year. In September 2023, they were even listed as Europe’s most valuable company, with stock prices soaring 40% during the year.

Novo Nordisk is making weight-loss drugs a big part of its offerings, recently paying $1 billion for Inversago Pharma and $16 million for Embark Biotech, both makers of diet drugs. But it has been under the microscope in Europe. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) suspended the company for two years for sponsoring weight-loss-related LinkedIn courses that promoted its drug Saxenda without disclosing its involvement. And the French National Agency for Drug Safety recently announced they would closely monitor Ozempic for misuse, including as a weight loss drug. In this climate, lawsuits may not come as a surprise.

What Are the Lawsuits Against Ozempic?

So far, there haven’t been any Ozempic class-action lawsuits, but there have been several personal injury lawsuits, as well as plenty of complaints. In one recent lawsuit, a Louisiana woman who used Ozempic for over a year claims the manufacturer failed to warn its patients of the severity of the gastrointestinal side effects, including gastroparesis, or paralysis of the stomach, and gastroenteritis, or stomach inflammation. The legal issue is whether Novo Nordisk knew or should have known about these side effects, and should have specifically included them on the drug label.

Aside from this lawsuit against Ozempic, there have been other complaints about semaglutide-based drugs. A CNN article documented two people diagnosed with severe gastroparesis and one with cyclic vomiting syndrome. And complaints about “rotten egg burps” have been well-documented on social media, including in a reply to a post by Elon Musk.

While it hasn’t happened yet, a class-action lawsuit against Ozempic could be coming. And many lawyers are accepting clients who have complaints against the drug.

What Is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a medical condition also known as stomach paralysis. It slows down or stops your digestive system’s normally strong muscle contractions, which help move food through the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. That means food doesn’t leave the stomach, or does so slowly, and your digestive system gets backed up.

Symptoms of gastroparesis include loss of appetite, acid reflux, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and bloating, constantly feeling full, and changes in your blood sugar levels. It can lead to a laundry list of complications including malnutrition, stomach ulcers, fluctuating blood sugar, and even a total blockage of the stomach, which can be life-threatening.

One of the things complicating the lawsuits against Ozempic is that gastroparesis has many different causes, one of which is diabetes, the very thing the drug is prescribed for. It’s also more common in women and people who may have already had delayed gastric emptying, but didn’t know it. Most of the time, doctors can’t find a cause.

What About Ozempic Gallbladder Lawsuits?

Most Ozempic lawsuits are still early in litigation, and there haven’t yet been any related to gallbladder problems. However, a 2022 study found a link between inflammation of the gallbladder and GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. Novo Nordisk added the risk of gallbladder disease to the Ozempic label in March 2022. If you took it before that, you could still have a case for an Ozempic gallbladder lawsuit.

Can Ozempic Cause Death?

There haven’t yet been any deaths directly linked to Ozempic. However, it has been in the news lately as doctors warn against potentially deadly consequences. After the death of Lisa Marie Presley was linked to a blockage due to bariatric surgery, Dr. Terry Dubrow, the surgeon of “Botched” reality-show fame, warned against the dangers of drastic weight-loss measures. Even earlier in the year, Fox News medical contributor Dr. Janette Nesheiwat took to the airwaves to speak out against GLP-1 drugs.

Many other doctors have contributed to stories about dangerous conditions like pulmonary aspiration, which is when you inhale food into the lungs because your stomach is too full. And while deaths from Ozempic may not happen directly, life-altering surgeries certainly do, including stomach bypass so patients can eat again, if only in small amounts.

Do You Have a Case Against Ozempic?

While there haven’t been any wrongful death lawsuits against Ozempic, many law firms are currently investigating cases related to personal injury or medical malpractice. They’re using the following criteria to determine if potential clients may be eligible:

  • You received Ozempic, Wegovy, or Mounjaro injections
  • You’re 75 years old or younger
  • You were diagnosed with gastroparesis, gastric obstruction, or gallbladder problems within 30 days of taking the drug
  • The injury occurred within the past two years (the statute of limitations in most states)
  • You were admitted to the hospital or ER in the past two years

How to File an Ozempic Lawsuit

If you meet the conditions outlined above, you may be able to file a lawsuit against Ozempic, Wegovy, or Mounjaro. With a lawsuit, you could recover money from Novo Nordisk for:

  • Medical bills, including surgery and rehabilitation
  • Lost income and loss of the ability to earn income
  • Pain and suffering including loss of enjoyment of life
  • Punitive damages for criminal activity by the drug manufacturer

An experienced personal injury attorney like the Oklahoma Injury Guy can help you determine if you qualify and get you the compensation you deserve. We will:

  • Investigate your case and gather evidence, like medical records and witness testimony
  • File your lawsuit in the proper jurisdiction and within the statute of limitations
  • Negotiate the best possible settlement with the defendant
  • Take your case to court if necessary

The Bottom Line

While there’s no direct link between Ozempic and death – at least not yet – that doesn’t mean it’s totally safe. The long-term effects of Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs remain to be seen, and complaints are piling up as it becomes more and more popular. If you’ve been harmed by this weight-loss drug, you deserve to get compensation for your injury. To see if your case qualifies, get your free case evaluation from the Oklahoma Injury Guy today.