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Ozempic is the type 2 diabetes ‘wonder drug’ that has taken the world by storm over the past few years. It is now commonplace to be prescribed ‘off label’ as a weight control injection. The manufacturer has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing and celebrity endorsements creating a new blockbuster drug with more than $100 billion in sales. However, since its approval, a plethora of medical studies and clinical trials have been conducted to investigate the relationship between Ozempic and gastrointestinal issues.

Medical Research

One notable study, published in the British Medical Journal on January 29, 2024, examined the side effects of GLP-1 agonist medications. This study analyzed 76 studies to evaluate the efficacy and safety of various GLP-1 receptor agonists, among them semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound). The findings underscored the positive impact of GLP-1 drugs in managing type 2 diabetes by lowering hemoglobin A1c and fasting plasma glucose levels. However, they also highlighted a significant rise in adverse gastrointestinal reactions, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, leading to the discontinuation of these medications.

A study published in JAMA on October 5, 2023, reported that Ozempic users faced a threefold increase in the risk of stomach paralysis compared to those using alternative non-injectable weight loss medications. Researchers compared the incidence of gastrointestinal issues among users of Ozempic, liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda), and Contrave (bupropion-naltrexone) – an oral weight management medication. The study revealed higher rates of stomach paralysis and bowel obstruction among injectable semaglutide and liraglutide users in comparison to those using Contrave.

Furthermore, a meta-analysis conducted in 2017 associated Ozempic usage with a heightened risk of gallbladder disease, particularly in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. This highlighted a concerning correlation between Ozempic and gallbladder deficiencies. Fast forward to July 2023, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) emphasized the risks of delayed stomach emptying induced by Ozempic and Wegovy during surgical procedures due to potential complications such as aspiration of food into the airways.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated Ozempic’s warning label on September 22, 2023, to include ileus as a potential side effect. This revision aimed to alert users to the increased risk of ileus following Ozempic use, as well as a range of other gastrointestinal disorders associated with the medication.

These various medical studies surrounding Ozempic underscore the importance of monitoring and addressing the potential gastrointestinal complications associated with the medication to ensure patient safety and well-being.

Current Status Of Litigation

In December 2023 a group of plaintiff firms filed a motion to transfer all GLP-1 cases into an MDL. In February 2024 the JPML pannel agreed that pretrial coordination would benefit the litigation and transferred all GLP-1 cases to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, creating MDL #3094 under the purview of Judge Judge Gene E.K. Pratter. On May 17, 2024, Judge Pratter tragically passed away due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Ozempic Science Day, which had been scheduled for June 14th has been postponed indefinitely until a new judge can be appointed to oversee the litigation.