If you’re currently taking Ozempic or are considering starting the medication, you may be quite focused on the positive potential of a future where your blood sugar is regulated, your cravings reduced, and your weight loss goals enhanced and supported. While, indeed, these are the goals of taking Ozempic and do become a reality for many patients, there can be other facets to taking the drug as well.
Unpleasant or risky side effects, ranging from mild gastrointestinal issues or headaches, all the way to severe allergic reactions or the development of thyroid tumors, are some reasons some patients ultimately discontinue the use of Ozempic. In other cases, patients are forced to stop taking the drug due to shortages or because their insurance won’t cover its high price tag.
No matter the reason, the fact remains that not all patients who begin taking Ozempic will necessarily be able to continue taking it indefinitely. But, because Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition, Ozempic is meant to be taken as a long-term medication. (Those patients who have been prescribed Ozempic off-label for weight loss are also treating a chronic condition—obesity.) So, what happens when you stop taking it?
Below, we’ll explore some of the ways that your body may react if you stop taking Ozempic. Though well-researched and accurate, none of the information in this post constitutes medical advice. If you’re contemplating starting or stopping Ozempic, it’s important to seek personal advice directly from your primary healthcare provider.
- Ozempic treats chronic conditions and is meant to be taken on an ongoing basis. Stopping Ozempic will impact your body, and it’s important to consult with your doctor before doing so.
- Most of the effects of Ozempic will reverse to a large extent when you stop taking the drug. This may be a positive if you were experiencing unpleasant side effects, but can also be challenging if your blood sugar spikes or you regain most of the weight you had lost.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a name-brand, prescription Type 2 Diabetes medication for adults. It’s injected subcutaneously once weekly and has an off-label reputation for promoting healthy weight loss.
Belonging to the class of drugs known as GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonists, it regulates blood sugar, stimulates the natural pancreatic production of insulin, suppresses appetite, and slows down gastric emptying (the emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine) and digestion as a whole.
Though Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss, Wegovy is. Wegovy is the same drug as Ozempic, but at a slightly higher dose. These two semaglutide-based drugs have garnered so much attention for their weight loss potential that worldwide shortages have occurred and continue to occur.
As with any prescription drug, Ozempic is associated with some side effects. Common mild side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches, and dizziness. Though rare, more serious side effects can include pancreatitis, kidney issues, gallbladder issues, vision issues (diabetic retinopathy), the development of thyroid tumors, and severe allergic reactions.
5 Things That Can Happen When You Stop Taking Ozempic
When you begin taking Ozempic, your doctor gradually tapers up your dosage so that your body can adjust. When you stop taking Ozempic, it’s important to take the same (but opposite) approach. Slowly decreasing your dosage of the drug will allow your body to return to life without Ozempic as smoothly and naturally as possible.
That being said, even with a gentle decrease of Ozempic, it’s to be expected that you will notice some changes once you’ve stopped taking the drug. Here are the top five as reported by patients:
1. Your Appetite Will Return
Because Ozempic and Wegovy both reduce appetite and slow down digestion, it’s only natural that your appetite and food cravings will return full force when you stop taking them. In some cases, especially those where you’ve lost a lot of weight on the drug, you may find that you have an even bigger appetite than before. This could be attributed to the fact that your body has essentially been in starvation mode while on semaglutide.
2. You’ll Likely Regain Any Weight Lost
Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to keep off the weight you lost on Ozempic once you stop taking it. Your digestive speed will increase along with your appetite and weight gain will likely occur quite rapidly. A 2022 study found that one year after stopping semaglutide, participants had, on average, regained two-thirds of the weight they had initially lost. A 2021 study found that ongoing treatment with Ozempic yielded significantly better weight loss management results than stopping Ozempic after a short period of time.
3. Your “Ozempic Face” Will Disappear
Patients who lose a substantial amount of weight while on Ozempic sometimes experience “Ozempic Face”, a moniker that describes a gaunt or shrunken appearance in the facial area. As you regain weight after stopping Ozempic, your face should fill out once again.
4. Ozempic Side Effects Will Subside
If you experienced unwanted side effects while taking Ozempic, you’ll be relieved to feel them dissipating as you reduce and eventually stop your Ozempic injections altogether.
5. Your Blood Sugar May Spike
Ozempic’s main purpose is to regulate blood sugar levels, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your blood sugar levels may spike when you stop taking it. This can be a major concern if you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, so be sure to plan accordingly to mitigate the risks. Your doctor will likely start you on an alternate Type 2 Diabetes medication immediately.
When To See a Medical Professional
You should consult a medical professional before you take any action on reducing or stopping Ozempic treatments and follow their advice carefully. If you experience unexpected reactions or are concerned about your blood sugar levels as you reduce your Ozempic dosage, seek medical assistance immediately.
To conclude, there can be a variety of impacts on your body when you stop taking Ozempic (semaglutide). Like starting a medication, stopping a medication must be done gradually, carefully, and under the advice and observation of a trusted medical professional. Ozempic is no exception.
If financial concerns comprise any portion of your hesitation around continuing to take Ozempic, Bisonpharmacy.com may be able to help. To find out more about sourcing high-quality, affordable Ozempic from Canada, contact us today!
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.