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Woman Sues Drugmakers Over Alleged Failure to Warn of Gastrointestinal Side Effects

A woman from Louisiana, Jaclyn Bjorklund, has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, the makers of popular drugs Ozempic and Mounjaro. The lawsuit alleges that the companies did not adequately warn patients about the severity of certain gastrointestinal side effects associated with these medications. Bjorklund claimed that both drugs, which are used to improve blood sugar control in adults with Type 2 diabetes, caused her severe injuries.

H2: Allegations of Downplayed Risks

According to the lawsuit, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly downplayed the severity of gastrointestinal events caused by Ozempic and Mounjaro, failing to warn patients about the risks of gastroparesis (“paralyzed stomach”) or gastroenteritis. Bjorklund, who had used Ozempic for over a year before switching to Mounjaro, alleged that she suffered severe gastrointestinal events and had to be hospitalized on several occasions due to stomach issues after using the medications.

H2: The Popularity of Ozempic and Mounjaro

Ozempic and Mounjaro are injectable prescription medications used alongside diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with Type 2 diabetes. Despite their intended use, the drugs have become popular among individuals looking to achieve weight loss, as some celebrities and high-profile figures have touted their effectiveness in this regard.

H2: The Manufacturers and Their Responsibility

Novo Nordisk manufactures Ozempic, the brand name for semaglutide, while Eli Lilly manufactures Mounjaro, the brand name for tirzepatide. The lawsuit alleges that both companies were aware of the association between the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists (the class of drugs to which Ozempic and Mounjaro belong) and the risk of developing severe gastrointestinal issues, including gastroparesis and gastroenteritis. However, they failed to disclose this information, rendering the warnings inadequate.

H2: Understanding Gastroparesis and Gastroenteritis

Gastroparesis is a condition that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. It can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, and a feeling of fullness after eating just a few bites. The disorder, also known as delayed gastric emptying, has no cure, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

On the other hand, viral gastroenteritis, often referred to as stomach flu, is an intestinal infection that leads to symptoms like watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. The lawsuit claims that “gastroenteritis may also be caused by ingesting medications.”

H2: Bjorklund’s Suffering and the Drugmakers’ Response

Bjorklund claims that the severe gastrointestinal events she experienced included vomiting, stomach pain, and gastrointestinal burning. Her condition became so severe that she was hospitalized multiple times, and her teeth even started falling out due to excessive vomiting. She alleges that she would throw up undigested food hours after eating.

In response to the lawsuit, Novo Nordisk stated that gastrointestinal events are well-known side effects of the GLP-1 class of drugs, including semaglutide. They pointed out that the majority of these side effects are mild to moderate in severity and of short duration. The company also mentioned that their drug labels clearly list symptoms of delayed gastric emptying, nausea, and vomiting as side effects.

H2: Risk Factors and Safety Monitoring

Both Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly reiterated that they continuously monitor the safety of their drugs. Novo Nordisk mentioned that while diabetes is a known risk factor for gastroparesis, there are other risk factors, such as overweight/obesity, gender (female), virus infection, and nervous system diseases like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

A spokesperson for Eli Lilly emphasized that patient safety is their top priority, and they actively engage in monitoring, evaluating, and reporting safety information for all their medicines.

H2: Seeking Accountability

As the lawsuit moves forward, Jaclyn Bjorklund hopes to hold the drugmakers accountable for allegedly downplaying the risks associated with Ozempic and Mounjaro. The case also highlights the importance of thorough disclosure of potential side effects in medication labels, ensuring patients are informed about the risks before starting treatment.

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