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Ozempic Dangerous Drug Issues | New York Personal Injury Attorney

ozempic safety

By now, everyone has heard of Ozempic. In only five years since FDA approval, this blockbuster drug has risen to become the fourth most-prescribed medicine in the country. Only about half the people with Ozempic prescriptions are taking the drug for its approved use as a treatment for type 2 diabetes; the fastest-growing segment of Ozempic users are people who have heard about the drug’s miraculous weight loss effects and are taking it “off-label” simply to lose weight.

While everyone has heard about Ozempic for its weight loss effects, an increasing number of people are hearing about Ozempic for a different reason – the serious side effects and severe medical problems some people who take the drug have been experiencing. If you are taking Ozempic now and are worried about the news you have been hearing of adverse side effects, you are right to be concerned. But before you decide to throw away your pills, make sure you talk to your doctor first. Read on to learn more about Ozempic and its potential dangers, as well as the importance of not discontinuing prescription medication without seeking your doctor’s advice. If you have suffered any of the problems associated with Ozempic described below, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C., to speak with a skilled and experienced New York personal injury lawyer with decades of experience dealing with dangerous drugs and defective products.

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is the brand name for semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1 for short. Ozempic was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in December 2017. It was not long before patients started reporting significant weight loss while using the drug, and Ozempic use quickly exploded as more and more people began to seek Ozempic prescriptions for weight loss even without a diabetes diagnosis. This so-called “off-label” use is not illegal, and many doctors are more than willing to prescribe Ozempic for weight loss, since being overweight or obese can increase the risk of many health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

According to a 2023 report from the healthcare data analytics firm Trilliant Health as reported by the Washington Post, prescriptions for Ozempic increased by 300% between 2020 and 2022. Over ten billion dollars has been spent on semaglutide in 2021, with Ozempic accounting for over 65% of all GLP-1 prescriptions (Wegovy is another drug whose active ingredient is semaglutide, but unlike Ozempic, Wegovy has been FDA-approved for weight loss. Both Ozempic and Wegovy are manufactured by the same pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk.)

Nationwide, nearly half of all Ozempic prescriptions appear to be off-label prescriptions taken for weight loss and not to control a diagnosed condition of type 2 diabetes. New York, meanwhile, has seen a 98% increase in the number of patients with a history of obesity or weight problems taking Ozempic from 2021 to 2022.

As enormous as these numbers are, they only take into account insurance claims for Ozempic prescriptions. Many more people are likely paying out of pocket to use Ozempic off-label for a purpose not covered by their insurance, i.e. weight loss.

Serious Side Effects Noted by Patients Taking Ozempic

Ozempic mimics the action of a naturally occurring hormone in the body that slows down stomach emptying and sends a signal to the brain that generates a feeling of fullness or satiety. This action provides health benefits of weight loss for overweight or obese people with or without diabetes, including lessening the risk of heart attack or stroke for people with heart disease.

But Ozempic is not without unwelcome side effects. Nausea and vomiting are two side effects that are known and noted by Novo Nordisk in its packaging materials for doctors and patients. Doctors likely make their patients aware of these side effects before prescribing Ozempic, and patients can learn about these side effects on their own as well.

However, it is now coming to light that Ozempic use can involve many more serious side effects that were not disclosed by the drug maker to patients or doctors. These more serious conditions could be the basis of a legal claim against Novo Nordisk for certain types of harm that ensue. Specifically, if you experienced any of the following conditions while taking Ozempic or within six months of stopping, you should consult a personal injury lawyer attorney to evaluate whether you might have a legal claim:

  • Gastroparesis
  • Cyclical vomiting
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Ileus or bowel obstruction
  • Intestinal blockages
  • Gallbladder removal prior to 2022
  • Intraoperative Pulmonary Aspiration
  • Malnutrition-related disorders
  • Pancreatic cancer (even if developed more than six months after stopping Ozempic)

Concerned About Ozempic? Talk to Your Doctor.

These serious side effects are enough to make many people change their minds and decide that taking Ozempic to lose weight is not worth the risks. However, even though Ozempic may be linked to severe physical illnesses, including cancer, it is still never advised to stop taking a drug prescribed by your doctor without first consulting with the doctor. Depending on the reason you were prescribed Ozempic in the first place, your doctor might want to keep you on the drug despite the risks. If the doctor agrees you should stop, they might prescribe a course of lowering the prescription to wean you from the drug safely over time rather than stopping cold turkey. Of course, the doctor’s advice might be to stop taking Ozempic immediately, but it’s important to make that decision with your prescribing doctor. If you don’t like what you are hearing, you can also seek a second opinion, but medical decisions regarding prescriptions you are taking are not decisions you should make without personalized medical advice from a physician who has examined you and understands your specific health condition, needs and risks.

Don’t Wait to Seek Professional Help Regarding Issues With Ozempic

If you are taking Ozempic and are concerned it might be harmful to your health, raise those concerns with your doctor and thoughtfully consider their advice before making changes to your prescription drug regimen. If you suffered any of the conditions described above during or after Ozempic use, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney experienced in dangerous drug litigation who can evaluate your case and protect your rights to any legal claims you may have. In New York, call Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C., at 212-889-9362 for immediate assistance.

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