For the nearly one in three Americans who are overweight and the more than two in five who live with obesity, the prospect of taking a simple injection once per week that could dramatically reduce body weight is a dream come true. Ozempic (semaglutide), the Type 2 Diabetes blood sugar medication turned weight loss sensation, offers just such a prospect.
In a clinical trial, almost 90% of patients who injected a 2.4 mg dose of semaglutide weekly over a 68-week period experienced medically significant weight loss (5% or greater). Just over 50% lost 15% or more of their starting body weight. (During the trial, patients also received lifestyle coaching and committed to healthy eating habits as well as regular exercise.)
With results like that, it’s no wonder demand for semaglutide immediately skyrocketed, even causing a temporary worldwide shortage of the drug in parts of 2022 and 2023. Social media influencers and other celebrities shared their successful weight loss journeys with Ozempic and Wegovy (both semaglutide-based medications), and healthcare professionals also took notice of semaglutide’s incredible potential.
Obesity is considered the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and any medication that can help Americans impactfully reduce their weight is a game-changer. But what happens when patients stop taking semaglutide?
In this post, we’ll take a look at what Ozempic is, how it promotes healthy weight loss, and how patients can continue to maintain a healthy body weight after discontinuing its use. Stopping semaglutide is associated with rebound weight gain, but this trend can often be mitigated with proper planning and a commitment to healthy lifestyle choices.
The information provided below is not intended to constitute or replace medical advice. Before starting or stopping semaglutide injections, it’s crucial to speak with a doctor or other healthcare provider who can offer professional advice based on your particular needs and circumstances.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic is an injectable, name-brand drug produced by Novo Nordisk. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for helping to control blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 Diabetes as well as helping to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events (such as heart attack or stroke) in adults with a diagnosis of both Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Ozempic has also been shown to promote weight loss but has not been approved for this purpose (though some healthcare professionals may prescribe it off-label for weight loss if they feel the benefits outweigh the risks for a particular patient).
After extensive clinical trials, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy was approved as a weight loss drug for adults in 2021 and for teens in 2022. Wegovy and Ozempic both contain semaglutide as their active ingredient, and the only appreciable difference between them is that Wegovy is injected at a higher dose (2.4 mg instead of 0.5, 1, or 2 mg).
Ozempic and Wegovy both come in prefilled, single-patient-use injectable pens. They are both injected subcutaneously once weekly in the thigh, upper arm, or abdomen.
What Does Ozempic Do?
Ozempic imitates an incretin hormone that is naturally produced in the human gut. This hormone, called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), is produced in response to food and signals the brain and other body systems that digestion is underway.
Semaglutide is known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. In plain terms, this means that it binds to GLP-1 receptors and, just like the naturally occurring hormone, signals the body that the digestive process has begun. Unlike the naturally occurring hormone, however, it doesn’t disappear when digestion is finished. It remains present in the body all the time and perpetually “tricks” the body into responding accordingly.
Ozempic is responsible for the following:
- Triggering the production and release of natural pancreatic insulin into the bloodstream
- Decreasing the production of glucagon by the liver
- Slowing gastric emptying (the rate at which food moves from the stomach into the small intestine)
What Makes Ozempic So Effective for Weight Loss?
Semaglutide is extremely effective for weight loss because it acts on many body systems simultaneously. By slowing digestion, it increases feelings of satiety (fullness) and reduces cravings. It also works on the hunger centers of the brain to suppress appetite and convince the body that it’s full, even when it’s not.
Many patients who use semaglutide for weight loss report that, in contrast to dieting, which often requires constant vigilance, the drug makes it almost effortless to reduce portions and avoid snacking because hunger and cravings are naturally kept in check.
See also: Ozempic: Before and After Results
Weight Loss Challenges When Stopping Ozempic: What Happens After You Stop?
Unfortunately, research has shown that patients who discontinue the use of semaglutide typically regain much of the weight they lost while on the drug. In some cases, patients may actually regain all of the weight they lost or even exceed their original starting weight.
While discouraging, it’s perhaps not altogether surprising that weight loss promoted by semaglutide is prone to reversal once the drug is no longer in the system. That being said, understanding why rebound weight gain may occur upon the discontinuation of Ozempic injections can help patients plan ahead and mitigate the risks accordingly.
Why Rebound Weight Gain Occurs
Why do people regain weight after stopping Ozempic? Simply put, rebound weight gain occurs when patients stop taking Ozempic because Ozempic is not a cure for overweight or obesity. It helps to manage hunger and cravings effectively, but it doesn’t actually address the underlying issues that lead to weight gain in the first place. Nothing is fundamentally changed in the body by taking Ozempic, and the body will return to its natural patterns once the drug is no longer present.
Tips for Keeping the Weight Off
Like Type 2 Diabetes, obesity is a chronic disease, and Ozempic is intended as a long-term treatment. For many patients, however, staying permanently on the drug is not ideal for various reasons. If you must stop semaglutide injections, here are some ways you can increase your chances of keeping off the weight you lost while on the drug and maintaining a healthy body weight for the future:
Review Your Eating Habits
When you stop taking semaglutide, your hunger and cravings will likely return, and it’s important to be prepared for that. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy foods, create an intentional meal plan, and be consistent about balanced portions and portion sizes. Experiment with cooking tasty yet nutritious meals while still on Ozempic so that you have some good habits and recipes to rely on when you need them most.
In addition, avoid engaging in mindless activities like scrolling on your phone or watching videos while eating, as they can lead to unintentional overeating. Focusing on enjoying each bite can truly help with weight management.
Engage in Regular Physical Activity
It’s not new news that physical activity can help you avoid weight regain (plus improve your physical and mental health in many important ways), but knowing it and doing it are sometimes very different. Build healthy lifestyle habits while on Ozempic and continue them as you remove the drug from your system. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day and explore a range of options until you find something truly enjoyable and sustainable based on your own needs and interests.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting involves eating on a specific schedule and not eating at all (fasting) for periods. Research has shown that intermittent fasting may contribute to healthy weight loss and help patients maintain weight loss across a wide variety of contexts. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine whether or not intermittent fasting may be a good option based on your medical history and specific circumstances.
Eat More Filling and Satiating Foods
It’s not just about the quantity of food you eat—it’s also about the quality of that food. If you find that you’re constantly hungry between meals, consider filling your plate with denser, more filling, but still healthy foods that may help you feel more satiated for longer. Types of ingredients that fall into this category include lean proteins (meats, eggs, seeds, and dairy products), foods rich in fiber (whole grains and plenty of fresh produce), and healthy fats (nuts, fish, avocados, and more).
Monitor Your Weight Weekly
Though it may be tempting to weigh yourself daily, this can lead to an unhealthy focus on the number on the scale. That being said, never checking your body weight after stopping Ozempic can also be problematic.
Weighing yourself every week or two is a reasonable way to determine whether you are losing weight, gaining weight, or maintaining your weight. Aim to weigh yourself under the same conditions and at the same time of day each week while also taking natural fluctuations into account. Paying attention to trends in your weight maintenance efforts can help you to make adjustments accordingly and successfully reach your goals.
To conclude, Ozempic (semaglutide) is a name-brand drug indicated for treating Type 2 Diabetes but is sometimes prescribed off-label for weight loss purposes. It can be very effective in reducing appetite and promoting healthy weight loss, but patients often experience weight regain when they stop taking semaglutide.
Before stopping semaglutide, it’s important to create healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices that will help you maintain a healthy weight no matter what. These include creating intentional eating habits, committing to regular physical exercise, eating healthy but filling portions, and monitoring your weight regularly.
At Bisonpharmacy.com, our qualified and friendly team is always ready to help you to access quality Ozempic at an affordable price. For more information, reach out to us directly today!