When Was Ozempic First Linked to Gastrointestinal Issues?

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Defective Drugs, Defective Product, Ozempic Lawsuit, Product Liability

Ozempic (semaglutide) has garnered attention as a promising medication for managing type 2 diabetes. However, alongside its benefits, concerns have arisen regarding its potential link to gastrointestinal (GI) issues. Some research is suggesting that Ozempic may be linked to gastrointestinal issues including gastroparesis, pancreatitis, and acute kidney injury.

To better understand the connection between Ozempic and gastrointestinal issues, the defective drug lawyers at Kherkher Garcia have created the following guide. Below, we provide insights into the timeline, mechanisms, prevalence, and management of these adverse effects.

Ozempic Linked to Gastrointestinal Issues

The link between Ozempic (semaglutide) and gastrointestinal issues has not been a single definitive moment, but rather a growing body of evidence over time. Here is a timeline of key points:

  • Prior to 2023:There were scattered reports and case studies suggesting a possible link between GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic and gastroparesis (stomach paralysis) and other gut issues. However, these were mostly anecdotal and lacked large-scale data.
  • May 2023:The FDA warned about potential risks associated with compounded semaglutide, highlighting the importance of using approved medications like Ozempic.
  • August 2023:A lawsuit was filed against Ozempic’s manufacturer alleging it caused stomach paralysis in a patient. This brought broader public awareness to the potential side effects.
  • August 2023:A major study from the University of British Columbia published in JAMA found a higher risk of gastroparesis, pancreatitis, and bowel obstruction in patients taking GLP-1 agonists for weight loss, compared to those not taking the drugs. This was the first large-scale study suggesting a link.
  • February 2024:There are at least 55individual lawsuits filed against Ozempic, mainly focused on allegations of gastrointestinal issues. These cases were consolidated into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, streamlining the legal process. Some sources claim investigations continue in more than 500 additional potential lawsuits for clients.

The research on Ozempic and gastrointestinal issues is ongoing. While the UBC study provides strong evidence, more research is needed to fully understand the risks and potential mechanisms involved. Regulatory agencies like the FDA are monitoring the situation and may take further action if necessary.

What Gastrointestinal Issues are Linked to Ozempic?

Despite its efficacy, Ozempic is associated with an increased risk of adverse events, particularly during the initial stages of treatment. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. These symptoms can be bothersome and may lead to treatment discontinuation in some individuals. More serious gastrointestinal issues that are linked to Ozempic include:


Gastroparesis is a digestive disorder characterized by delayed gastric emptying, where the stomach takes longer than normal to empty its contents into the small intestine. This delay in stomach emptying can lead to a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, feeling full quickly when eating, and erratic blood sugar levels. The condition is often caused by damage to the vagus nerve, which controls the muscles of the stomach, but it can also result from diabetes, surgery, infections, or certain medications.

Treatment typically involves dietary changes, medications to stimulate stomach contractions, managing underlying conditions, and in severe cases, procedures like gastric electrical stimulation or surgery may be necessary. Managing gastroparesis requires a multidisciplinary approach involving gastroenterologists, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals to improve symptoms and quality of life for affected individuals.


Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach that plays a key role in digestion and blood sugar regulation. Acute pancreatitis typically manifests as sudden and severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever, often requiring hospitalization for management. It can be triggered by factors such as gallstones, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications, infections, or trauma. Chronic pancreatitis, on the other hand, involves long-term inflammation and irreversible damage to the pancreas, leading to persistent abdominal pain, weight loss, malabsorption, and diabetes.

Treatment aims to relieve symptoms, manage complications, and address underlying causes, often involving pain management, dietary adjustments, enzyme replacement therapy, and in severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Quitting alcohol and adopting a healthy lifestyle are essential for preventing recurrent pancreatitis episodes and preserving pancreatic function.

Acute Kidney Injury

Acute kidney injury, characterized by a sudden decrease in kidney function, has been linked to some individuals taking Ozempic. This injury typically presents with symptoms such as decreased urine output, swelling in the legs or ankles, fatigue, confusion, and nausea. It can be triggered by various factors, including dehydration, medications, infections, or underlying kidney disease. Some studies have suggested a potential link between GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic and acute kidney injury, although the exact mechanism remains unclear.

Patients taking Ozempic should be monitored regularly for signs of kidney dysfunction, particularly those with pre-existing kidney disease or other risk factors. If acute kidney injury is suspected, healthcare providers may adjust the dosage of Ozempic or discontinue its use, depending on the severity of the condition.

The Link Between Ozempic and Gastrointestinal Issues

Ozempic belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). It works by mimicking the action of the hormone GLP-1, which regulates blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release and reducing glucagon secretion. By enhancing glucose control and promoting weight loss, Ozempic has emerged as a valuable tool in diabetes management.

Unfortunately, many patients taking Ozempic have experienced more serious side effects, such as the gastrointestinal issues discussed above. Research into exactly how Ozempic causes or contributes to gastrointestinal issues is ongoing. Here is what we do know based on current research:


The precise mechanisms underlying Ozempic-induced adverse effects remain incompletely understood. However, several factors are believed to contribute to these symptoms. GLP-1 receptors are widely distributed in the gastrointestinal tract, and their activation by Ozempic can stimulate gastric motility, delay gastric emptying, and increase intestinal transit time. These alterations in gut function may manifest as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Clinical trials evaluating Ozempic have reported varying rates of gastrointestinal issues, ranging from mild to severe. In the SUSTAIN trials, which assessed the safety and efficacy of Ozempic in patients with type 2 diabetes, approximately 15-20% of participants experienced nausea, while 5-10% reported diarrhea. The incidence of these symptoms tends to be highest during the initial weeks of treatment and often decreases over time as patients acclimate to the medication.

Management Strategies

Effective management of Ozempic-related gastrointestinal issues involves a combination of preventive measures and symptomatic treatments. Healthcare providers may recommend initiating treatment at a lower dose and gradually titrating upwards to minimize gastrointestinal intolerance. Patients are advised to take Ozempic with meals to reduce the likelihood of nausea and vomiting.

For individuals experiencing persistent symptoms, antiemetic medications such as ondansetron (Zofran) may provide relief from nausea and vomiting. Antidiarrheal agents such as loperamide can help alleviate diarrhea. Additionally, ensuring adequate hydration and dietary modifications, such as consuming smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding spicy or greasy foods, may help manage gastrointestinal discomfort associated with Ozempic therapy.

Monitoring and Follow-up

Close monitoring of patients starting Ozempic is essential to promptly identify and address any emerging adverse events. Healthcare providers should inquire about symptoms during follow-up visits and adjust treatment regimens as needed based on individual tolerability and response. Patients are encouraged to communicate openly with their healthcare team regarding any concerns or difficulties they encounter while taking Ozempic.

Is Ozempic Linked to Your Gastrointestinal Issues?

As this guide has explored, the precise mechanisms underlying Ozempic-induced gastrointestinal issues are not fully understood. However, it is believed that the activation of GLP-1 receptors in the gastrointestinal tract plays a role in these adverse effects. Understanding the prevalence, mechanisms, and management strategies for Ozempic-related gastrointestinal issues is crucial for both healthcare providers and patients alike.

Individuals who have experienced severe gastrointestinal complications while taking Ozempic may have legal recourse to seek compensation for their injuries. Whether through product liability claims or class action lawsuits, legal avenues exist to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the harms caused by their products. Consulting with a qualified attorney who specializes in defective or dangerous drugs can help individuals understand their rights and pursue appropriate legal action if warranted.

Get a Free Ozempic Injury Consultation

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues or other complications while taking Ozempic, contact Kherkher Garcia to learn more about your potential case. Our experienced team of defective drug lawyers is here to help you understand your rights and explore your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation if your gastrointestinal issues are the result of Ozempic.

Contact Kherkher Garcia today for a free Ozempic injury consultation. Call us at 713-333-1030, or submit our online form to get started.

Image by DC Studio on Freepik

Schedule a free Consultation

Jesus Garcia

Jesus Garcia

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Jesus Garcia. Jesus has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 20 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force of nature in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road. Abogado Jesus Garcia is bilingual and passionate about being the voice in the courtroom for the spanish speaking community here in Houston, across the state of Texas, and throughout the Nation.

Learn moreRead more articles