More than 100 US deaths linked to Ozempic and similar weight loss drugs – including 28-year-old who died from ‘intestinal mass’ and a pregnant woman, our analysis shows

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Fat loss shots like Ozempic and Zepbound have been linked to more than 100 deaths in the US, DailyMail.com can reveal.

One of the victims was a person in their 20s who developed an ‘intestinal mass’ and another was a pregnant woman.

The cases have been recorded in an FDA monitoring system used to track the safety of medicines used in the US, called FAERS.

None of the deaths are proven to have been directly caused by the injections. But experts say the reports indicate cases where the drugs were suspected to have been involved.

The cases have been recorded in an FDA monitoring system used to track the safety of medicines used in the US, called FAERS. They are shown above in a graphic

Trish Webster, 56, pictured above, died after using Ozempic to lose some weight before her daughter's wedding

Trish Webster, 56, pictured above, died after using Ozempic to lose some weight before her daughter’s wedding 

There are also concerns about counterfeit versions of the drugs which are becoming more common as patients struggle to get the real thing.

Fake versions have been found to contain insulin which if not used in correct doses can cause seizures, a coma and even death.

The youngest patient with information was a 28-year-old woman who was hospitalized and diagnosed with an ‘intestinal mass’.

Another fatality involved a woman who took Ozempic while she was pregnant, which the drug maker advises against after studies in pregnant rats on the drug showed their offspring had growth problems and developmental abnormalities.

In total, the FDA’s system has recorded 117 fatalities among people taking blockbuster weight loss drugs since 2018.

Of these, 81 were linked to patients using semaglutide — the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy — while 36 were linked to patients using tirzepatide, the ingredient in Mounjaro and Zepbound.

More than half of the fatalities linked to semaglutide — 54 deaths, or 66 percent — were recorded after a version of the drug, Wegovy, was approved for weight loss in June 2021. Ozempic has not been approved for weight loss but is prescribed off-label for this use.

No deaths have been recorded linked to tirzepatide after a version of the drug — Zepbound — was approved for weight loss, but it only got the green light for this use in November 2023.

Symptoms recorded ranged from seizures to blockages in the intestines and pancreatic cancer.

Fatalities surged 230 percent in 2023 compared to previous years, although experts said that about this time prescriptions also exploded. If there are millions more people taking a drug, then this raises the likelihood of fatalities in patients using it.

None of the US victims who died while using Ozempic have been identified. 

Last year, however, the family of a 56-year-old mother from Australia said she had died from Ozempic — after being diagnosed with ‘acute gastrointestinal illness’ and collapsing at home with a ‘brown substance’ foaming from her mouth.

Despite being hailed as one of the most powerful pharmaceutical tools to date, experts have warned it is not a 'magic pill' or miracle fix-all. Trials have shown that users can rapidly pile pounds back on once they stop taking the drug and it can trigger a variety of nasty side effects. Users commonly complain of nausea, constipation and diarrhea

Despite being hailed as one of the most powerful pharmaceutical tools to date, experts have warned it is not a ‘magic pill’ or miracle fix-all. Trials have shown that users can rapidly pile pounds back on once they stop taking the drug and it can trigger a variety of nasty side effects. Users commonly complain of nausea, constipation and diarrhea

She had lost 35lbs (16kg) while on Ozempic and another weight loss drug, as she tried to lose weight for her daughter’s wedding.

Experts told DailyMail.com they were surprised that the fatalities figure linked to weight loss drugs ‘was not higher’.

Toni Adamrovich, a nurse and obesity medicine specialist at TB2 in Ohio who works with patients prescribed semaglutide and tirzepatide, said: ‘I am not surprised by this number. I am actually surprised it is not higher.

‘I am not saying this because I believe these medications are inherently dangerous, but because of the surge in their use for weight loss.’

He added: ‘One must remember that the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) does not require a causal relationship between a medication and event be proven, so it can be ambiguous as to whether an event was solely due to the medication reported.

‘Conversely, the FDA also does not receive reports of all adverse events and any deaths at all are one too many.’

Broken down by drug, Ozempic had the most fatalities linked — 56 deaths — followed by Mounjaro — 36 deaths — and Wegovy, three deaths.

There were no deaths linked to Zepbound (active drug is tirzepatide), but there were 22 linked to other combinations of semaglutide.

Nearly all the reports in the FAERS were submitted by the manufacturer — Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilly — which are obliged to report serious adverse effects to the FDA. 

The FDA told DailyMail.com on the figures previously: ‘While FDA relies on the FAERS database as a drug safety surveillance tool after a product is approved and marketed, submission of a report does not mean that the information included in it has been medically confirmed.

‘The event may have been related to the underlying disease being treated, or caused by some other drug being taken concurrently, or occurred for other reasons.’

They added: ‘Duplicate reports and heightened awareness of an event with a particular product may inflate the reported occurrence of an adverse event.’

In comparison to the 100 deaths linked to weight loss drugs every year, there are 16,000 attributed every 12 months to NSAIDS — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat pain and inflammation such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

The FDA has previously warned that in rare cases Ozempic can cause an intestinal blockage, called ileus, because it slows the passage of food through the intestines.

This can cause them to rupture and spill their contents into the body, which can lead to sepsis and multiple organ failure if not treated quickly.

Many patients taking the drug are also obese, which puts them at a higher risk of suffering serious side effects from any complications caused by the drug.

Ozempic and its competitors have risen to prominence in the last few years, with a whopping 9million prescriptions written for the drugs in the last three months of 2022 alone, the latest available — marking a surge of 300 percent in three years.

Eli Lilly’s Zepbound overtook Wegovy this March, data showed — with 6,000 more prescriptions written in a month to a total of 77,590.

Deaths can be reported to FAERS by doctors, consumers, manufacturers, family members and others.

Medical documents are not requested with the initial report, but those submitting one will be asked to give detailed information on the adverse event.

Reports are reviewed and constantly monitored by FDA investigators to detect side effects of medications that may not have been picked up in clinical trials.

The agency previously used these to add the side effect ileus to the warning label — or a partial or complete blockage of the small intestine. 

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