Obesity isn’t just being overweight, and contrary to common misconception, you can’t just cure it by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. A medically recognized chronic disease, obesity impacts more than 70 million adults in the United States of America alone and is associated with risks such as Type 2 Diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), overall high mortality rates, and more. With these statistics in mind, it’s no wonder that obese and overweight patients in the U.S. and all over the world are actively seeking solutions.

Approved by the FDA for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in 2017, the injectable prescription drug Ozempic (manufactured by Novo Nordisk) quickly gained popularity based on its widely recognized side effect of promoting healthy weight loss. Initially, this side effect was only noted in patients with Type 2 Diabetes, but clinical trials soon showed that semaglutide (Ozempic’s active ingredient) promoted significant weight loss in patients without Type 2 Diabetes as well.

In 2021, the name-brand drug Wegovy (also produced by Novo Nordisk) was FDA-approved for weight loss and obesity management in adults and then for severely obese teens in 2022. Aside from Wegovy’s slightly higher dosage, Ozempic and Wegovy are identical. Both are injected once per week and contain the active ingredient semaglutide. That being said, Ozempic has not been officially approved for chronic weight loss management but is sometimes prescribed off-label for that purpose.

Semaglutide is meant to treat chronic conditions and is considered a long-term medication. In other words, patients are meant to take it indefinitely. Inevitably, however, many patients need to stop taking Ozempic or Wegovy for a wide variety of reasons.

What happens, then?

In this article, we’ll consider how effective Ozempic and Wegovy are as weight loss medications and what to expect in terms of weight gain in the event that you need to discontinue their use. As always, keep in mind that the information provided on Bisonpharmacy.com’s website does not constitute and is not meant to replace medical advice. For specific questions and concerns related to your medical health and the use of prescription medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy, it’s always recommended to speak directly with your doctor or healthcare provider.

The Effectiveness of Ozempic for Weight Loss

Semaglutide belongs to the class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. In layperson’s terms, this means that it mimics a hormone produced in the human gut that is responsible for signaling various body systems that digestion is underway. In addition to helping regulate blood sugar levels through the release of pancreatic insulin and control of glycogen in the liver, semaglutide also suppresses appetite, reduces cravings, and slows down the digestive process, which promotes feelings of satiety (fullness). When used as an adjunct to a healthy diet and regular exercise, semaglutide is associated with substantial weight management outcomes.

How substantial?

A study published in 2021 revealed that, after 68 weeks on a once-weekly dose of 2.4 mg of semaglutide (Wegovy’s dose), the vast majority of obese or overweight adult patients without Type 2 Diabetes experienced medically significant weight loss (more than 5% of their starting body weight). More than 50% lost 15% of their starting body weight or more. Important to note is that participants in the study took semaglutide alongside healthy lifestyle changes.

If you’re currently taking Ozempic and not losing weight (or not losing as much weight as you’d anticipated), check out our post called Why Am I Not Losing Weight On Ozempic?” to help determine why not.

See also: How much weight can you lose on Ozempic?

Why Weight Gain Occurs After Stopping

Weight regain after discontinuing semaglutide injections is very typical for obese and overweight patients. In fact, research published in 2022 suggests that one year after stopping semaglutide injections, the majority of participants in a clinical trial had gained back at least two-thirds of the weight they lost while on the drug—much more, in some cases.

Why does weight gain recur when semaglutide injections are discontinued?

Simply put, obesity is a chronic illness, and while semaglutide helps to mitigate obesity’s associated risks, it doesn’t actually address its underlying cause. When you stop injecting semaglutide, your hunger and cravings return (sometimes more intensely than before), and you gain back lost weight.

For more information about what patients can expect when they stop taking Ozempic or Wegovy, take a look at our post called, What Happens if I Stop Taking Ozempic?”

The Key to Maintaining Long-Term Weight Loss

Regaining weight after Ozempic or Wegovy treatment is to be expected, but it can still feel discouraging and disappointing after you’ve worked so hard to lose weight. So, what is the key to weight maintenance over the long term?

Obesity is a chronic disease that requires continual management, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That being said, diet and exercise play major roles in reducing the risks associated with obesity and can improve your overall health as well as facilitate medically significant weight loss (even if it’s not as much as you might have lost with additional help from semaglutide).

If Ozempic or Wegovy isn’t a good fit for you, we recommend speaking to your doctor about other lifestyle changes, potential medications, or even bariatric surgery.

See also: Ozempic: Before and After Results

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) can be highly effective for chronic weight loss management in obese or overweight patients with or without a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, but they’re not the right solution for everyone.

Before considering taking semaglutide, it’s important to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider. Equally important is to seek medical advice if you need to discontinue your use of the medication for any reason.

Do you have an Ozempic prescription you’re looking to fill at an affordable price? Consider ordering high-quality Ozempic from the qualified and meticulous team at Bisonpharmacy.com.

About the Author

Ida Edlweiss Gumpal is a licensed Pharmacist and medical writer. She took her internships at Mercury Drug Corporation, Inc., a Hospital internship at De Vera Medical Center, Inc., and a Manufacturing internship at Philmed Laboratories, Inc. She has plans on attending medical school with the goal of specializing in Neurosurgery or Cardiothoracic surgery.