What happens when you stop taking Ozempic and side effects occur?
Ozempic, an injectable drug to treat type 2 diabetes, has long faced a shortage due to the growing number of individuals using it due to its unintended side effect of effective weight loss.
In recent years, medications designed to treat people with diabetes have become a staple of the weight loss industry. Known as “Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret,” Ozempic and his brother Wegovy gained huge fame, making them a hot commodity around the world.
A KFF Health survey found that “nearly half of adults (45%) say they would generally be interested in taking a safe and effective weight-loss medication, including nearly 6 in 10 (59%) of those currently trying to lose weight.” . And half (51%) of those trying to lose less than 10 pounds.
Axios explained that medications have made a major change in dealing with obesity as a chronic disease, but this comes with expensive repercussions. The controversy surrounding prolonged use of these drugs is largely fueled by the insurance companies responsible for financing them and the health care professionals who recommend them.
How does Ozempic work?
Semaglutide, the main ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, is known for its effectiveness in aiding weight loss and managing diabetes. However, its benefits only last while it is being used effectively, like other medications. Experts say that stopping regular treatment with semaglutide usually leads to the return of the lost weight.
“Semaglutide works by boosting the body’s level of the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). This hormone stimulates the release of insulin. GLP-1 medications help lower blood sugar and delay stomach emptying, making people feel full longer.
The Food and Drug Administration does not approve the use of Ozempic for weight loss; It is approved only for diabetes. However, according to UC Davis Health, semaglutide, the active compound in Ozempic, is approved for weight loss and is marketed under the brand name Wegovy.
“Wegovy has been approved by the FDA to treat overweight and obesity,” Dr. Rekha Kumar, an endocrinologist in New York City, told Healthline. “Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide (2.4 mg) than Ozempic and was specifically developed to treat overweight and obesity.”
What happens when you stop using Ozempic?
Due to the high demand for medicines, their high prices, and the lack of insurance coverage, many people were forced to stop taking injections.
“When you stop using Ozempic, all of the drug’s mechanisms that work to help control your blood sugar and lose weight will stop. Your health problems, such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease, may get worse, and your risk of serious events (such as a heart attack or Stroke), according to Drugs.com.
Other things can happen, especially if you use it for weight control:
Your appetite will return
Ozempic can suppress your appetite. One of its effects is to slow gastric emptying, which means food stays in your stomach longer, which can lead to feelings of fullness or reduced hunger. This effect on appetite is a crucial reason why Ozempic is effective for weight loss in many people.
“I used to be able to eat half a pizza, but now after taking semaglutide, I take a few bites and feel full,” says Dr. David Shafer, a plastic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital and Northwell Health in New York City who takes semaglutide. He told Daily Health. “If I miss a dose, my consumption increases as I lose the fullness effect.”
Once the drug is stopped, these effects stop, and appetite may return to its previous level, resulting in increased calorie intake and possible weight gain.
One of the most common effects of stopping use of Ozempic, especially if it is used for weight loss, is the potential for weight regain. This is because the drug suppresses appetite and helps regulate blood sugar levels, which may lead to weight loss.
“A year after stopping Ozempic, people regained two-thirds of the weight they originally lost. This still resulted in a net weight loss of about 5% more than before starting Ozempic,” according to GoodRx.
“People have the most success when they follow a healthy diet and regular exercise habits. In other words, don’t get frustrated or feel like you need to rely on pills,” GoodRx added. “Having a healthy relationship with food and movement is the most important thing you can do.” Do it to maintain a healthy body weight.
High blood sugar levels
For those using Ozempic to manage diabetes, stopping the medication can cause high blood sugar levels to return.
Ozempic helps improve the body’s response to insulin and lower blood sugar levels. Without it, individuals may need to adjust their other diabetes management strategies to maintain blood sugar control.
“Experts share that people who do not have diabetes or obesity should not use Wegovy or Ozempic for any reason, including losing small amounts of weight,” according to Healthline.
“Normal weight patients who don’t have diabetes may lose weight if they take GLP-1, but the risks of the drug outweigh the benefit of losing weight just to be thin versus treating the disease,” Kumar told Healthline. “GLP-1 has not been studied in this population, and we are likely to see more side effects with this type of inappropriate use.”