Here’s What Really Happens When You Stop Taking Ozempic

Doctors share the truth about life after this popular weight loss drug.

Ozempic has become famous for its ability to promote weight loss, and a handful of celebrities are said to have tried it. Current trend on social networks, the hashtag «Ozempic» has been viewed 450 million times on TikTok.

Long story short: Ozempic is popular. But it’s important to note that Ozempic is primarily a diabetes medicine, intended to control blood sugar levels in adults. However, in recent times it has been used to help with weight loss, as many people who take Ozempic lose weight.

«Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs have become so popular for weight loss because they are effective,» says dr. Rekha Kumar, MD, endocrinologist and medical affairs manager for the weight management program, Found. «The average weight loss on GLP-1 is 15% to 22% of a person’s total body weight. Even a small amount of weight loss, like 5-10% of your total body weight, can lower your blood pressure, stabilize your blood sugar, improve your blood cholesterol and give you more energy.

Ozempic (semaglutide) helps with weight loss by delaying stomach emptying, which helps you stay full longer and feel full faster. Semaglutide also signals the center in the brain responsible for sensing fullness. So when someone takes Ozempic, their stomach and brain feel fuller, leading to decreased appetite, fewer cravings, and an inability to eat large portions for most people, adds Dr. Kumar .

Although semaglutide is an FDA-approved injectable drug for type 2 diabetes under the brand name Ozempic, it has also been approved by the FDA for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy. And there is a pill version for diabetes called Rybelsus.

Ozempic Side Effects

Any prescription drug can have side effects, and Ozempic is no exception. Here’s what we know: Ozempic can cause gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, Dr. Kumar says. The majority of these side effects disappear a few weeks after using the drug.

Related: Real Talk—Does the Diabetes Drug Metformin Make You Lose Weight?

More serious but rare possible side effects include a risk of new or worsening kidney failure, pancreatitis, hypoglycaemia and possible thyroid tumors.

In a study of overweight or obese adults, those who took the drug and made lifestyle changes lost almost 15% of their body weight, on average, compared to 3% in the placebo group.

The key word here is excess, says Dr. Kumar. Semaglutide has not been tested in people without obesity, i.e. people who want to shed those extra “vanity pounds”. So there is no way of knowing what type of weight loss (if any) or side effects may occur with improper use.

«GLP-1s are the safest and most effective drugs for treating type 2 diabetes and obesity (both of which are chronic diseases) and work on the root cause of biology for weight and health. metabolic,» says Dr. Kristin Baier, MD, Calibrate Clinical Director. “It is important to note that these drugs have only been studied and approved for these chronic conditions and have been specifically developed for people who meet the drug eligibility criteria. Side effects or long-term implications for people without diabetes or obesity are unknown.

What happens when you stop taking Ozempic?

If you’re hoping for sustained weight loss with Ozempic, we don’t have good news for you: research shows that stopping Ozempic completely will likely cause most of the lost weight to be regained within a few months.

«Clinical trials for Wegovy (the same molecule as Ozempic, semaglutide) show that patients will regain weight after stopping the drug,» says Dr. Baier. «Another trial reports that even with continued access to the drug, it may become less effective, leading to some weight regain.»

However, if you compare Ozempic to other weight loss methods that don’t just focus on calorie restriction or eating certain foods, like bariatric surgery, for example, it makes sense that if you implement real behavioral change, somewhat sustained weight loss is possible. . Unfortunately, there just isn’t the science to support this idea at present. So from now on, if you are considering Ozempic, you should expect that if you stop the drug, you will probably regain the lost weight.

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