Jaclyn Bjorklund, a Louisiana woman has filed a lawsuit against Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly. She claims that the drug companies failed to adequately warn patients about the potential risk of gastroparesis, also known as a paralyzed stomach, associated with their popular Type 2 diabetes drugs.
According to court documents filed on August 2, Ms. Bjorklund used Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic for approximately one year until July, at which point she switched to Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro.
The lawsuit alleges that as a result of using these drugs, Ms. Bjorklund experienced severe side effects, including persistent vomiting, intense stomach pain, and gastrointestinal burning. These symptoms were so severe that she had to be hospitalized for stomach-related issues on multiple occasions, even requiring visits to the emergency room.
Additionally, Ms. Bjorklund suffered from teeth falling out due to excessive vomiting, which likely resulted from the intensity of her symptoms. To cope with the excessive vomiting, she had to take additional medications to alleviate her discomfort.
Moreover, the effects were so severe that she even experienced episodes of throwing up whole food hours after eating, suggesting that her digestive system was significantly impaired.
The plaintiff’s lawsuit claims that both Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly should have provided clear and explicit warnings about the potential risk of gastroparesis when using their diabetes drugs. The failure to adequately inform patients about these risks allegedly led to Jaclyn Bjorklund’s suffering and various medical complications.
Gastroparesis is a medical condition characterized by delayed emptying of the stomach. In a healthy digestive system, the stomach contracts to move food into the small intestine for further digestion. However, in individuals with gastroparesis, the muscles of the stomach do not function properly, leading to slowed or stalled movement of food. This delay can cause a range of uncomfortable and sometimes severe symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, and feeling full quickly after eating even small amounts of food. Gastroparesis can be caused by various factors, including diabetes, neurological disorders, certain medications, and surgery affecting the stomach’s nerves or muscles.
Gastroparesis can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, affecting their ability to eat, digest food, and maintain proper nutrition. It can lead to complications like malnutrition, dehydration, and uncontrolled blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Ms. Jaclyn Bjorklund asserts that although the drug companies, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, did disclose the risk of gastrointestinal events in their drug labels, they failed to provide sufficient information about the severity and scope of gastroparesis. According to Ms. Bjorklund’s claims, the drug labels for Mounjaro, the medication she switched to from Ozempic, do not mention severe gastrointestinal issues, while Ozempic’s label only mentions a minor delay in gastric emptying during the early postprandial phase as part of its mechanism of blood glucose lowering.
Both Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly responded to the allegations by stating that they are actively monitoring the safety of their drugs. A spokesperson from Novo Nordisk clarified that delayed gastric emptying is indeed mentioned on the label of Ozempic. However, it remains to be seen how the ongoing legal proceedings will address these contentions and whether the drug companies will update their labels or provide further information regarding the potential risks associated with gastroparesis and the use of their Type 2 diabetes drugs. Monitoring drug safety and ensuring transparent communication of risks to patients are essential aspects of pharmaceutical companies’ responsibilities to protect the health and well-being of their consumers.