Rethinking “Magic” Weight Loss: Confronting the True Cost of Ozempic and Wegovy
Are you using Ozempic or Wegovy for weight loss?
Have you experienced severe side effects from taking a semaglutide or tirzepatide medication like Ozempic for weight loss? The company that makes Ozempic and Wegocy ran commercials using the song “Magic” to convince you they had solved weight loss. However, their potentially permanent side effects may have impacted your physical and emotional health, your daily activities, and your quality of life. You are not alone, and Ready Law is your trusted partner in navigating your path to recovery and seeking justice. Call Colorado Ozempic lawyer Vern Ready to determine whether your situation may qualify you for compensation. In this blog, I will walk you through some of the issues and complications many are experiencing after taking these so-called miracle weight loss drugs.
“Miracle drug”: Too good to be true?
It sounds too good to be true: Media outlets everywhere have been touting a “miracle” drug to “solve” the puzzle of weight loss and even give celebrities and influencers the bodies they want in time for that red carpet premiere or social media post. For a large number of people, it IS too good to be true. Ozempic, along with other semaglutide or liraglutide medications like Wegovy, Rybelsus, Trulicity, Mounjaro, Zepbound, and Saxenda, are increasingly linked with reports of severe gastric side effects like uncontrolled vomiting and diarrhea (gastroenteritis), poor nutrient absorption, malnutrition, major nausea, unbearable stomach cramps, and, in the more serious cases, ileus (reduced or stopped intestinal flow), intestinal blockages, and stomach paralysis (gastroparesis).
A few years ago, providers began prescribing drugs previously intended for Type 2 diabetics off-label for patients seeking weight loss. Some providers have even recommended the drugs for other unrelated conditions, believing that weight loss may help their patients’ symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then rushed to approve versions of the drug for weight loss, the first being Wegovy in June 2021. Unfortunately, the drug manufacturers, and many providers, failed to adequately warn patients about potential side effects, some of which are very serious and could be permanent.
In fact, much of the advertising around these drugs has minimized the potential side effects. In January of 2023, the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, filed a complaint with the FDA for a segment on the show 60 Minutes, which was sponsored by Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Wegovy and Ozempic. The segment made it seem like a news story but spent very little time on side effects or potential risks, and included only experts who are paid by Novo Nordisk. The FDA has since confirmed an investigation is underway into whether the segment violates the FDA’s “fair balance” requirements, which requires “a ‘fair balance’ of information about drug risks as compared with information about drug benefits.”
What is known about Ozempic side effects?
Media reports have brought the severity of these side effects to light, sharing the stories of some of the people affected. Additionally, a recent scientific study in the Journal of the American Medical Association warned of increased risk of adverse gastrointestinal events in patients taking these drugs for weight loss. The FDA has received thousands of reports of gastrointestinal issues from people taking these medications, including many from people experiencing stomach paralysis or intestinal blockages. The reports were prevalent enough to warrant the FDA recommending a change to the drug’s label to warn about the potential of ileus (but not gastroparesis, or stomach paralysis). And yet, the manufacturers have rejected accusations about the drugs’ safety, even as more sufferers come forward. The FDA is still careful to mention the limitations of their public reporting process and does not go so far as to link the instances of ileus or even deaths resulting from these blockages to Ozempic use.
Semaglutides, tirzepatides and a harsh reality
While Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, the manufacturers, continue to insist that these drugs are safe, more and more patients have shared serious repercussions on their health. Before taking these medications, patients should understand the risks and potential for side effects and should discuss those with their medical provider. Patients should be fully informed that there are correlations between taking Ozempic or other similar medications and a variety of health issues:
- Stomach paralysis (gastroparesis) and other serious stomach or intestinal symptoms
- Acute kidney injury
- Gallbladder inflammation or gallstones
- Liver or kidney failure
- Thyroid cancer
- Vision loss or retinopathy
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
Some of these side effects are listed on the drugs’ labeling, but some of the more serious side effects like gastroparesis have yet to be listed. Ileus, a condition where contents of the intestines can slow or stop and occasionally leading to dangerous blockages, was only recently listed. The FDA has received thousands of reports of patients suffering gastrointestinal side effects, but the increasing frequency of the reports of ileus was concerning enough that the agency recommended a change in the labeling to list it as a reported adverse reaction.
Ready Law can help you
If you or a loved one have been experiencing concerning side effects caused by a weight loss medication, it is critical to get the right medical care as soon as possible. It is also important to preserve your rights, in the event you need to seek legal help.
- Consulting an attorney like Vern Ready will help you understand your options as you navigate recovery. Colorado personal injury attorney Vern Ready has experience fighting for injured people just like you. Consultations are always free, and the first step is to understand your situation and evaluate your case. Vern can then tell you what to expect and advocate for you throughout the process.
- Keep detailed records and notes of what you have experienced, including your symptoms, side effects, and complications since you began taking the medication, noting start and stop dates and exactly which drugs and dosages you were taking.
- Gather evidence, such as records of doctor office, urgent care, or emergency room visits, receipts for prescriptions, photographs of any visible symptoms, records of lost time at work or difficulties you experienced in participating in daily life, and any other documentation that may help your claim.
- Act now and seek help from an Ozempic lawsuit attorney to ensure you meet requirements and do not pass any deadlines for statutes of limitations.
Vern Ready helps clients pursue justice and hold those who cause harm accountable. If you or a loved one has experienced injuries from taking Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, Rybelsus, Saxenda, or other weight loss drugs, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical care costs and other related losses.
Dig deeper: Common questions
What do semaglutide, liraglutide, and tirzepatide mean?
Semaglutide is the generic name for medications that are known as “glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists,” or GLP-1 agonists. Liraglutide is also a GLP-1 agonist but has different active ingredients and different frequencies of dosage than semaglutide. Originally prescribed for type 2 diabetics to help control blood sugar, GLP-1 agonists do this by increasing insulin resistance, which lowers the amount of glucagon (a natural hormone in your body produced by the pancreas) released. Tirzepatide also targets feelings of fullness and appetite, but tizepatide mimics two hormones in the body, where semaglutide simulates one. Recently, drug companies like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have marketed additional uses for weight loss, since these drugs delay stomach or gastric emptying, increasing feelings of fullness and reducing appetite.
What are the different medications?
- Ozempic, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, is an injectable prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes.
- Wegovy, also an injectable manufactured by Novo Nordisk, is the name used to market the semaglutide drug as a weight loss medication, as it contains a higher dose of semaglutide.
- Rybelsus is also a semaglutide produced by Novo Nordisk but is an oral tablet and works by mimicking the effects of GLP-1.
- Saxenda is Novo Nordisk’s daily injectable liraglutide GLP-1 medication.
- Trulicity—manufactured by Eli Lilly—is an injectable GLP-1 medication intended to treat type 2 diabetes by helping to control blood sugar levels.
- Mounjaro, also manufactured by Eli Lilly, is used to help manage type 2 diabetes, but targets a hormone in addition to GLP-1 to reduce blood sugar levels.
- Zepbound, manufactured by Eli Lilly, was just approved by the FDA and is intended to be a competitor to Wegovy. It is a tirzepatide, a class of drugs that are “so new, we do not know much yet about its long-term effects,” according to a doctor quoted in a recent New York Times article.
Is there a cure for gastroparesis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no known cure for gastroparesis, or stomach paralysis, but treatment can help reduce or manage symptoms. Gastroparesis has many possible complications, including dehydration, malnutrition, acid reflux, bloating, constipation, and low energy or fatigue. It is critical to seek medical care for any severe symptoms.
Is there a cure for ileus?
The Cleveland Clinic states that most cases of ileus resolve within a few days and can improve with hydration and nutrition therapies. In some cases, however, ileus can lead to blockages, which can be life-threatening or can cause lifelong problems with patients’ digestive systems. It is critical to seek medical care if you are experiencing symptoms of ileus, such as bloating, constipation, stomach distension, nausea and vomiting, or dehydration.
Schedule your free consultation
If you have been harmed or injured by taking a weight loss medication, you don’t have to suffer alone. Reach out for help from Ready Law today. Contact Vern Ready to tell me about your situation. Consultations are always free and there is no obligation to do anything other than discuss what you have experienced. Call 303-339-8846. You can also schedule your free consultation with me at my office or on Zoom/Facetime/Webex by clicking here.