Stomachs freeze up with Ozempic in rare result: 5 updates

Following reports of sunken faces, muscle mass loss and malnutrition with Ozempic, another rare side effect has popped up: severe gastroparesis, or stomach paralysis. 

Ozempic, a glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist approved for Type 2 diabetes, works by mimicking GLP-1 to suppress appetite and delay the passage of food in the stomach. Some patients told CNN in a July 25 report they were diagnosed with severe gastroparesis after taking the medication for weight loss. 

One of the patients, Joanie Knight of Angie, La., said she wished she never heard of the drug after four months passed before a gastroenterologist linked her severe vomiting to Ozempic. 

Medical experts said severe and long-lasting cases such as Ms. Knight's are rare. 

"Gastrointestinal events are well-known side effects of the GLP-1 class," a Novo Nordisk spokesperson told the news outlet. "For semaglutide, the majority of GI side effects are mild to moderate in severity and of short duration." The drug's label does not mention a risk of gastroparesis.

Four other updates on the popular drug:

1. Novo Nordisk has filed lawsuits against numerous compounding pharmacies, spas and clinics and accused them of selling illegal versions of its GLP-1 medications, Ozempic and Wegovy. 

2. The American Society of Anesthesiologists published a new guidance in late June to recommend patients forgo GLP-1 drugs before elective surgeries after the association received anecdotal reports of patients experiencing regurgitation and aspiration under anesthesia.

3. Some people who take Ozempic told The New York Times their "24/7 chatter" or "food noise" — the constant thoughts of food and planning to eat — diminished. 

4. As of April, Novo Nordisk reported 60,000 new weekly prescriptions for Ozempic.

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