Lawsuit Against Ozempic, Mounjaro Over ‘Stomach Paralysis’

Close-up of a person injecting a weight loss drug into his stomach

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Although rare, weight loss drugs such as Ozempic and Mounjaro can cause gastroparesis, also known as gastric paralysis. myskin/Shutterstock
  • Lawsuits have been filed against Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, makers of blockbuster weight loss drugs Ozempic and Mounjaro.
  • A woman from Louisiana claims she was prescribed medication by her doctor and experienced severe gastrointestinal side effects, including gastroparesis.
  • Also known as gastric paralysis, gastroparesis is a rare side effect of GLP-1 and similar drugs.
  • Another case with severe outcomes from Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro has been recently reported.
  • Experts say that patients and doctors should be aware of a severe side effect such as gastroparesis and its consequences.

The emergence of popular GLP-1 drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy and similar drugs such as Mounjaro, which are used to treat type 2 diabetes and, in some cases, obesity, has led some people to report severe side effects.

The active ingredient in this injectable medication is semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) or tirzepatide (Mounjaro), which slow down digestion in the stomach. In rare cases, the stomach takes too long to empty, causing “stomach paralysis” or gastroparesis.

One such case led to a lawsuit filed on August 2 by Jaclyn Bjorklund, a 44-year-old woman from Louisiana who lost 150 pounds by taking medication prescribed by her doctor.

Lawyers for Bjorklund said he had suffered severe drug-related injuries, including abdominal paralysis, claiming they could be permanent. He sued the manufacturers of the two drugs, Novo Nordisk (Ozempic and Wegovy) and Eli Lilly (Mounjaro), for failing to warn of the risk of severe gastrointestinal events.

“As a result of using Defendants’ Ozempic and Mounjaro, Plaintiffs caused severe gastrointestinal illness, which resulted in, for example, severe vomiting, abdominal pain, burning sensation in the digestive tract, hospitalization for stomach problems several times including visits to the emergency room. , lost teeth due to excessive vomiting, required additional medication to suppress his excessive vomiting, and vomited food hours after eating,” the lawsuit claims.

Stomach paralysis can be caused by a variety of factors but is a documented side effect of using GLP-1 and similar drugs such as Ozempic and Mounjaro.

If food takes too long to leave the stomach due to a condition called gastroparesis, it can solidify into a mass called a bezoar. National Institutes of Health (NIH). This can cause blockages in the intestines and other problems.

Stomach paralysis, alongside more common symptoms like vomiting and nausea, is something Dr. Shilpa Mehra Dang, a gastroenterologist at the Manhattan Medical Office, needs to be remembered by patients and doctors alike.

“The relationship between GLP-1 drugs and gastric paralysis is not fully understood,” Dang told Healthline.

“But it is thought to have something to do with how these drugs affect the autonomic nervous system, which controls the bodily functions of the digestive tract. It is very important for doctors and nurses to monitor patients taking GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs for signs of stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, and feeling full before they should. These are all symptoms of gastroparesis.”

Weight loss specialists like Dr. Mir B. Ali, a bariatric surgeon, wants to make it clear that severe abdominal paralysis is still a rare side effect.

“I was a bit surprised to see this as a long-term complication with patients continuing to have problems even after stopping the medication,” said Ali.

“I would caution patients who already have a diagnosis of gastroparesis not to use this drug and make all patients aware of this. However, I will also tell them that the incidence of these side effects is relatively low.”

Wegovy, for example, has been approved for weight loss by the FDA and has been shown to effectively treat type 2 diabetes. Research on reported side effects has been carried out ongoing.

The latest reports of gastric paralysis come after the FDA received complaints through their public reporting system, according to CNN.

Andrew Boxer, a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey, is one of a number of gastroenterologists who say he’s seen an increase in the number of patients coming to his practice complaining of side effects from this type of medication.

“I see lots of people who come in with just nausea, vomiting and a feeling of fullness, fullness quickly, just not feeling well… In general these patients are on GLP-1.”

Boxer says there are two main problems treating patients with this symptom. First, they may not realize that these side effects are even possible. Second, she says that many people don’t think to mention they’re taking these drugs at all, especially if they’ve started them since their last visit.

“They saw a GI doctor for a colonoscopy. They think you [only] need to know about constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stool if someone has colon cancer in their family, and that’s it,” said Boxer.

Dr. Amy Lee, Chief Medical Officer at the California-based Lindora clinic, prescribes GLP-1 as part of her practice. He said he had yet to see a patient who experienced such severe side effects. However, he emphasized that communication about all possible side effects including severe ones is very important for the patient’s health.

“I think some of my patients have this mentality, ‘Just give me this medicine, I don’t want to hear more about it. I just want to take it as it is now, as quickly as possible.’ But you really need to sit down with the provider administering your medication, who follows up with you to document all side effects,” says Lee.

Lee, whose work involves obesity drugs, also said doctors should be careful about choosing candidates for these drugs who have a prior history of gastrointestinal problems. He wants people to know that it’s important for practitioners to be able to differentiate between what might be side effects of medication versus symptoms.

“Understanding your patient population is key. Also, if someone comes in with a lot of stomach issues from the start, then don’t put them on anything you know will slow down their intestines even more. Since you are not helping anyone, you are probably causing more harm than good.

If you experience side effects from GLP-1 or a similar medication, whether you’re taking Ozempic, Wegovy, or Mounjaro, your doctor may order tests to identify whether those medications are the problem.

After discussing your symptoms, Boxer says one of the first steps is to do a gastric emptying study.

“That’s when you give the patient a radio-labeled meal, usually an egg sandwich or sometimes oatmeal, and take serial X-rays or different images to see how fast it’s going. [going] through the stomach.”

From there, the patient may be asked to discontinue GLP-1 and given medication to manage this symptom.

Regardless of the possible course of treatment, Dang said that symptoms such as fluctuating blood sugar, heartburn, bloating, or vomiting should all be reason enough for patients taking GLP-1 drugs to consult a medical professional.

“If a patient has any of these signs or is concerned about possible side effects, they should speak with their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to manage gastroparesis well and avoid problems.”

A woman filed a lawsuit against drug makers for Ozempic and Mounjaro after experiencing severe gastrointestinal events, including gastroparesis, also known as gastric paralysis.

Anyone taking GLP-1 or similar drugs to treat diabetes or obesity should talk to their doctor about their concerns about side effects and report any unusual side effects right away.

#Lawsuit #Ozempic #Mounjaro #Stomach #Paralysis

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