Doctors weigh in on the folly of weight-loss drugs amid lawsuits against drug companies

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Thousands of Americans say weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro have helped them lose weight quickly, but a pending lawsuit alleges they can cause serious health problems.

“That’s literally been the only thing that’s worked for me,” Mariel Rosenwasser in West Palm Beach told WPTV.

It’s a trend that Rosenwasser said changed his life.

“I have a hormonal disorder called PCOS for short,” Rosenwasser said. “My body overproduces insulin to break down the glucose in the body and so I guess my body doesn’t work like a normal person’s body. So this drug has helped me a lot personally because it makes the my body is normal.”

WPTV

Mariel Rosenwasser explains why she takes the weight loss drug Mounjaro.

He is talking about Mounjaro, which is an anti-diabetic drug used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Rosenwasser told WPTV that he was also previously prescribed a similar drug called Ozempic, commonly known as a quick fix for weight loss.

“The celebrity stuff, people who have disordered eating and don’t get it through a notable health care provider like they’re going to a medical spa, I think that’s gotten so much negative publicity in the news.” , Rosenwasser said. .

“People are struggling, they’re looking for a way to lose weight,” said Dr. Kanwal Bawa, owner of a medical spa in Boca Raton.

Bawa tells WPTV that he has been prescribing Ozempic for three years.

Dr. Kanwal Bawa says she has been prescribing Ozempic to patients for the past several years and has also used the drug herself.

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Dr. Kanwal Bawa says she has been prescribing Ozempic to patients for the past several years and has also used the drug herself.

“I saw that it worked for people, and then before I started offering it to my patients, I tried it myself. I had gained weight from cancer treatment,” Bawa said. “It wasn’t easy to exercise. I was in a lot of pain, so when I took it myself and lost a considerable amount of weight with no side effects, I felt I had to bring that to my patients.”

However, according to a 2023 lawsuit filed by the Morgan and Morgan law firm, some patients are experiencing serious side effects.

“We have retained more than 11,000 cases where people have claimed to have taken these drugs and had persistent vomiting for more than a month or been diagnosed with gastroparesis,” said Jonathan Sedgh, a lawyer at Morgan and Morgan.

Gastroparesis is a condition that causes delays in stomach emptying, and in some cases it can be serious, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

That’s why Morgan and Morgan filed their lawsuit last year against the makers of Ozempic and the makers of Mounjaro, asking for a jury trial.

Jonathan Sedgh discusses the lawsuit filed by Morgan and Morgan involving Ozempic and Mounjaro.

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Jonathan Sedgh discusses the lawsuit filed by Morgan and Morgan involving Ozempic and Mounjaro.

The suit alleges that the “defendants’ drugs delay gastric emptying.”

“There really was a failure to warn consumers about this despite extensive marketing and advertising,” said Nina Spizer, another attorney at Morgan and Morgan.

In a statement sent to WPTV, Ozempic’s manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, said:

“GLP-1 has been used to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) for over 18 years, and for the treatment of obesity for 8 years, including Novo Nordisk GLP-1 products such as semaglutide and liraglutide that have been on the market for more years Semaglutide has been extensively examined in robust clinical development programs, large real-world evidence studies, and has accumulated more than 9.5 million patient years of exposure.

Gastroparesis is a clinical syndrome characterized by delayed gastric emptying in the absence of mechanical obstruction of the stomach. Although diabetes is a known risk factor, there are other risk factors that can increase the risk of gastroparesis, including overweight/obesity, gender (female), viral infection, and nervous system disease ( Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis).

Gastrointestinal (GI) events are known side effects of the GLP-1 class. For semaglutide, most gastrointestinal side effects are mild to moderate in severity and short in duration. GLP-1s are known to cause delayed gastric emptying, as noted on the label of each of our GLP-1 RA medications. Symptoms of delayed gastric emptying, nausea and vomiting are listed as side effects.

Patient safety is of utmost importance to Novo Nordisk. We recommend that patients take these medications for their approved indications and under the supervision of a healthcare professional. We are continuously monitoring the safety profile of our products and working closely with authorities to ensure patient safety, including appropriate information about gastrointestinal side effects on the label.”

Eli Lilly, the makers of Mounjaro, also sent a statement to WPTV saying:

“Patient safety is Lilly’s highest priority, and we are actively engaged in monitoring, evaluating and reporting the safety information of all our medicines. Our FDA-approved label [uspl.lilly.com] clearly warns that Mounjaro may be associated with gastrointestinal adverse reactions, sometimes severe. These risks were communicated and widely known by health care providers. We vigorously defend ourselves against these claims.”

Now, a fairly new drug called Zepbound is on the market after it was approved by the FDA in November. It contains some of the same ingredients as Mounjaro, according to the FDA, and is made by the same company, Eli Lilly.

According to an FDA press release, “Zepbound causes thyroid C-cell tumors in rats.”

In a statement to WPTV, the FDA said, “It is not known whether these drugs will cause C-cell thyroid tumors or medullary thyroid cancer in people.”

Eli Lilly sent WPTV the following statement regarding the concerns:

“It is unknown whether Zepbound causes thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans. As a reminder, Zepbound’s label [uspl.lilly.com] contains a boxed warning about the potential risk of thyroid C-cell tumors and is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of TCM or in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2. If anyone experiences any side effects while taking any Lilly medicine, encourage them to talk to their health care provider.”

“All medications have their side effects,” said Dr. Jason Radecke, a bariatric surgeon at HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital in Fort Pierce.

Radecke said she advises potential patients to stay away from these drugs if thyroid cancer runs in their family, which is also included as a boxed warning on drug labels.

“I would say it’s a risk versus benefit situation. I think pharmacology is a complicated business,” Radecke said. “I think if you opened up any label on any medication, you could pick out Tylenol, aspirin, things that we’ve taken for years. Well, if you open up the side effect booklet, there’s a litany of items listed.”

Dr. Jason Radecke shares his thoughts with WPTV Consumer Research reporter Jessica Bruno on what people should know about weight loss drugs.

WPTV

Dr. Jason Radecke shares his thoughts with WPTV Consumer Research reporter Jessica Bruno on what people should know about weight loss drugs.

Radecke advises people to do their research when considering any new medication.

“If I had like 10 pounds to lose, I don’t think it’s worth any kind of risk, you know,” Rosenwasser said. “If I can do it another way, and I don’t have to worry about it, but for people who can’t do it that way, like there’s something that gets in the way and this drug fixes it, I see it. as totally different.”

According to Spizer and Sedgh, Morgan and Morgan’s lawsuit has now been bundled with other similar lawsuits across the country, which is called multidistrict litigation.

The cases have not yet gone to trial.


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