Can You Maintain Weight Loss After Using Ozempic?

Can You Maintain Weight Loss After Using Ozempic?

It’s no secret that new weight loss drugs are highly sought after in the United States. The reason for that is because they are highly effective, so long as you continue using them. Ozempic, Wegovy, Zepbound, Mounjaro, and other similar medications work by recreating the effects of GLP-1, a hormone that the gut produces once you finish eating. This hormone reduces both hunger and cravings, helping you to eat less, which promotes weight loss

What happens when you stop taking these medications, though? Recent research suggests that you can regain weight once you stop taking them. Health experts have started to refer to this weight gain as “Mounjaro plateau” or “Ozempic rebound.”

Why Do People Stop Using These Medications?

People stop taking these medications for numerous reasons, with a common one being the high cost, which is especially true for people without health insurance. Even if you have health insurance, many providers don’t offer coverage for these drugs. There is a huge demand, supply issues, and many unwanted side effects that come from using these medications. In fact, clinical trials found that up to 10% of users stop using these medications because of side effects, including nausea and disruptive bowel movements. 

It’s possible that the number of people who stop using these medications is higher than that 10% figure. Patients may have less aftercare, support, and accountability than they do in clinical trials. That means there is most likely a higher percentage of people who experience unwanted side effects, which could be easily managed. Doctors also state that people stop using these medications once they meet their goal weight. 

Why Do You Gain Weight Post-Medication?

Ozempic, and other related drugs, were originally intended to help people with type 2 diabetes manage blood sugar levels. During clinical trials, researchers observed weight loss to be a surprising side effect. That got them thinking, so they started to prescribe these medications for weight loss (an off-label purpose). 

In present day, many people with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or fatty liver disease, have been struggling to lose weight for 20 to 30 years. Drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy help people lose weight by temporarily altering hunger mechanisms. Basically, they provide a synthetic form of GLP-1, which is the hormone that helps you feel satiated and less hungry. At the same time, these drugs also promote an increase in insulin response to food, which works to regulate blood sugar. They also reduce the release of glucagon, a hormone that opposes insulin and tends to increase blood glucose levels. 

When you stop taking these medications, the body naturally produces more ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Once off the medications, the body’s metabolic rate slows down. The combination of a slower metabolic rate and a rapid onset of hunger causes weight gain, especially if there is no modification in lifestyle or diet. 

How Common Is Weight Gain After Stopping Ozempic?

If you use Ozempic to lose weight, the last thing you want is to see the weight return once you stop taking the drug. As it turns out, it is very common for a person to gain weight after quitting Ozempic or similar medication. One study found that people who stopped taking semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic) and quit lifestyle interventions gained two-thirds of their weight back within a year. Another study monitored people who stopped taking tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Zepbound and Mounjaro. Within one year of quitting the drug, they gained more than half the weight they’d lost while on the drug. 

The Takeaway

Before you take any GLP-1 agonist (such as Ozempic), consult your healthcare professional and make sure you understand the risks. Are you using the drug for short-term or long-term results? If you decide to take Ozempic, make sure you understand what will happen once you stop. Your healthcare professional may be able to provide guidance, nutritional advice, and an exercise regimen to help stave off the weight you lost while on the drug.



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