‘I Wish I Never Touched It’, Ozempic Users Report Stomach Paralysis As Weight Loss Drug Side Effect


By Meredith Clark

A recent investigation has found that some Ozempic and Wegovy patients suffered from severe gastroparesis, also known as stomach paralysis, after taking the medications.

Two patients reported that their “stomachs are paralysed” after taking type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic – a semaglutide injection known for its weight loss side effects.

“I wish I never touched it. I wish I’d never heard of it in my life,” said Joanie Knight, a 37-year-old from Louisiana. “This medicine made my life hell. So much hell. It has cost me money. It cost me a lot of stress; it cost me days and nights and trips with my family. It’s cost me a lot, and it’s not worth it. The price is too high.”

Emily Wright, a 38-year-old teacher from Toronto, said she vomits so frequently that she had to take a leave of absence from her job. “I’ve almost been off Ozempic for a year, but I’m still not back to my normal,” she said.

Both women have been diagnosed with severe gastroparesis, a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine, per the Mayo Clinic. Wright has also been diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome, which causes her to throw up multiple times a day.

Meanwhile, one Wegovy user claimed she began experiencing stomach problems after her doctor prescribed her the weight loss drug – which works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), regulating blood sugar levels and slowing down the rate at which food leaves the stomach to create the feeling of fullness.

However, the medication caused her to vomit so much that she became dehydrated and needed to visit urgent care. Brenda Allen, from Texas, has since been managing her nausea and vomiting with a medication called Zofran and prescription probiotics.

Now, the US Food and Drug Administration has said they’ve received reports of stomach paralysis among patients taking the medications.

“The FDA has received reports of gastroparesis with semaglutide and liraglutide, some of which documented the adverse event as not recovered after discontinuation of the respective product at the time of the report,” the agency said in a statement.

However, officials clarified that they were unable to determine whether taking Ozempic or Wegovy was the cause of stomach paralysis, or if it was caused by a different issue. “Gastroparesis can be a complication of diabetes that is related to long-standing or poorly controlled disease, further complicating the ability to determine what role the drugs played in the reported events,” they said.

As for whether patients should be warned about taking the drugs, the FDA maintained that taking the medications, such as for treating diabetes or weight management, may still “outweigh the risks in some patients with gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying”.

In response to reports of stomach paralysis, Novo Nordisk – the manufacturer behind Ozempic and Wegovy – noted that these drugs have been used to treat type 2 diabetes “for more than 15 years”, and for the “treatment of obesity” for eight years.

“Semaglutide has been extensively examined in robust clinical development programs, large real world evidence studies and has cumulatively over 9.5 million patient years of exposure,” a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk said in a statement. “Gastrointestinal (GI) events are well-known side effects of the GLP-1 class. For semaglutide, the majority of GI side effects are mild to moderate in severity and of short duration. GLP-1’s are known to cause a delay in gastric emptying, as noted in the label of each of our GLP-1 RA medications. Symptoms of delayed gastric emptying, nausea and vomiting are listed as side effects.”

Last week, the American Society of Anesthesiologists also issued a warning that those who take GLP-1 agonists should avoid the medications a week before surgery because they may increase “risk of regurgitation and aspiration of food” while under anesthesia and deep sedation.

Ozempic, a once-weekly injection used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, has skyrocketed in use after people were reportedly prescribed the FDA-approved diabetes medication as an “off-label” weight loss drug. However, because of its increasing popularity, it has led to national shortages of the diabetes treatment - leaving those who actually need Ozempic without it.

Meanwhile, Wegovy and Mounjaro are popular once-weekly semaglutide injections specifically approved for the treatment of obesity and weight loss.

There are many side effects of taking medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. According to the FDA, the most common side effects of taking Wegovy are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, indigestion, dizziness, and digestive disorders.

The FDA has also warned about more serious complications that can occur from use of Wegovy or Mounjaro, such as the “potential risk of thyroid C-cell tumours,” pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, acute kidney injury, increased heart rate, and suicidal behaviour or thinking.

Taking Ozempic can also lead to possible thyroid tumours, including cancer, pancreatitis, changes in vision, and kidney and gallbladder problems.


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