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Do You Gain Weight Back After Stopping Ozempic?

Do You Gain Weight Back After Stopping Ozempic?

It is common for you to gain weight back after stopping Ozempic®. In one study, people regained up to two-thirds of the weight they lost after they stopped taking semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic during the first year.

What happens when you stop taking Ozempic?

Many patients will experience weight gain when they stop taking Ozempic. The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) medication mimics natural hormones in your body that release insulin, slows digestion and regulate blood sugar levels. This allows you to feel full for longer, leading to reduced caloric intake and weight loss.

However, Ozempic only works for those who continue to use it. Once the semaglutide leaves your system, your weight loss may be temporary. When your body no longer relies on weight loss drugs to reduce your appetite, your metabolism may slow down and the hunger hormone may kick in.

Even if you continue with any healthy lifestyle changes you made when you began taking Ozempic, you could still gain back the weight you lost because you may soon feel intensely hungry again. People using Ozempic should be aware of a possible weight gain after they stop taking the medication.

In addition to gaining weight, you may experience other Ozempic withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Ozempic. These could include:

  • Decreased side effects: More than 5% of Ozempic users have reported gastrointestinal issues, including acid reflux, vomiting, nausea, constipation, gastroparesis, abdominal pain, blood clots and diarrhea. When you stop taking Ozempic, these side effects may decrease. However, if your symptoms continue, you should consult your doctor and consider reaching out to a legal advocate to discuss your options.
  • Increased appetite: Without the semaglutide slowing your digestion, you will not feel full for as long as you did while taking Ozempic. With the increase in your appetite levels, you may feel the need to binge eat, which could lead to weight regain if you are not careful with your diet and nutrition levels.
  • Increased blood glucose levels: Since Ozempic is designed to regulate blood glucose levels for patients with Type 2 diabetes, you may see an increase in your blood sugar when you stop taking it. Diabetic patients have reported experiencing the "rebound effect," which refers to your blood sugar spikes getting worse. Some patients even experience higher blood sugar levels than before they started taking Ozempic.
  • Reduced Ozempic face: Ozempic often causes rapid weight loss that can lead to noticeable changes in your facial appearance. "Ozempic face" can result in the face having a wrinkled, shrinking or dehydrated appearance. If you gain weight after stopping Ozempic, your facial volume may fill out and the Ozempic face side effect could go away.
  • Weight regain: When you stop taking Ozempic, the appetite suppression side effects will likely go away. As your appetite returns to normal, weight gain after Ozempic is common. For this reason, many Ozempic users will need to take additional lifestyle measures to reduce the likelihood of regaining weight after stopping Ozempic.

You should never stop taking semaglutide or other prescription medications without first discussing the Ozempic risks and potential side effects with your doctor. Your health care provider can help you stop taking the medication to help minimize these potential side effects. They can also help you develop a plan to mitigate weight regain after stopping medications like Ozempic, Rybelsus, Mounjaro or Wegovy.

Contact an Ozempic attorney

Have you been harmed by Ozempic? Contact attorneys Sara Couch and Jonathan Orent for more information or to discuss a potential Ozempic claim. You can get in touch by filling out our contact form or calling 1.800.768.4026.

Does Ozempic cause permanent weight loss?

Ozempic does not cause permanent weight loss. When your body no longer relies on semaglutide to keep your appetite levels low and slow digestion, you may regain weight and potentially experience other side effects. However, this does not necessarily mean you will gain back all the weight you lost.

The GLP-1 agonists help the pancreas release insulin and prevent your liver from storing glucose, which can stabilize blood sugar levels. As a side effect, your digestion slows and impacts your hunger levels. The fuller you feel, the fewer calories you will consume. This significant decrease in your caloric intake can lead to rapid weight loss, leaving your body feeling malnourished. For these reasons, people cannot rely on the temporary use of Ozempic to treat obesity and maintain their weight loss.

When you stop taking Ozempic, your body overcompensates by rapidly increasing your appetite, which can lead to weight regain. In fact, in one study, 50% of all patients who stopped taking semaglutide regained weight after being off the drug for two years. Another analysis of 327 patients revealed that people regained 11.6% of the weight that they lost within 120 weeks.

Do you have to stay on a semaglutide forever for weight loss?

You may need to stay on a semaglutide for the foreseeable future to maintain your weight loss. This is because Ozempic does not address the root cause of obesity. Patients need to focus on the underlying issues of weight gain if they do not want to continuously take Ozempic.

When patients stop taking Ozempic, regaining weight is common. Many patients plan to continue taking the drug forever to maintain their weight loss. However, how long you can take Ozempic and the long-term effects are still being studied.

In fact, there may be significant safety concerns associated with the continued use of Ozempic over time. This is particularly true since the FDA has not approved Ozempic for weight loss. Based on the number of adverse reactions reported by patients and physicians across the country, it’s possible that the risks of taking Ozempic could be life-altering or fatal.

FDA investigations into semaglutide drugs like Ozempic began to ramp up after a number of dangerous side effects began being reported globally. In one study, 87.6% of patients being injected with 2.4 mg of semaglutide experienced adverse events, including gastrointestinal issues in 63.5% of patients.

Continued use of Ozempic as a treatment for chronic obesity could have negative implications. It could lead to dangerous adverse reactions as described on the FDA warning label, which include:

  • Acute kidney injury
  • Cardiovascular effects
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Gallbladder events
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis

An additional potential risk of using Ozempic is developing thyroid C-cell tumors. The FDA has ordered that the effects and safety of these medications be monitored, also know in the medical world as pharmacovigilance. This order will require monitoring of the incidents of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in the United States over a minimum of 15 years.

Does Ozempic have a rebound effect?

Some people experience a rebound effect after stopping Ozempic because their appetite increases. When you undereat for an extended period, weight cycling is common. Weight cycling is a repetitive pattern of gaining and losing weight. The weight cycling rebound comes into play when you stop taking Ozempic because your body will try to make up for the malnourishment by increasing your hunger to encourage you to consume more calories.

Maintaining weight loss after discontinuing medication is challenging, even when someone makes other lifestyle changes. The body's physiological response tries to restore body weight from prior malnourishment.

Though semaglutide drugs can cause weight loss, they only continue to work while you take them. Weight gain can occur once you stop taking Ozempic and is commonly referred to as the “Ozempic rebound.”

How to reduce your risk of weight gain after stopping Ozempic

When you are ready to stop taking Ozempic, you should do so gradually and under a doctor’s advice to reduce your risk of weight gain. Slowly reducing your Ozempic intake can give you time to adjust for side effects like an increase in appetite and blood sugar levels. Tapering off the medication instead of stopping Ozempic suddenly also allows your doctor to closely monitor your blood pressure and other cardiovascular changes.

When you stop taking Ozempic or other semaglutide medications, you should expect your appetite to significantly increase. With a bigger appetite, weight regain is common. However, you may be able to curb your hunger by adjusting the types of meals you consume and how often you eat. Your doctor can help you devise a plan to ensure you remain in good health and avoid gaining weight.

Tapering off Ozempic

Working with your doctor to gradually taper off your Ozempic prescription is necessary. The different doses could influence your hunger levels. It could also determine how quickly your body begins to digest food without the presence of the semaglutide.

By tapering off slowly, you may experience fewer side effects. Taking extra time to change may allow you to develop new behavioral strategies, dietary patterns and lifestyle choices. You will likely need to do this to combat the potential for weight regain. Improperly tapering could lead to Ozempic withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Decreased satiety
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Weight gain

These Ozempic rebound weight gain symptoms can also come with side effects of their own. For instance, if your body’s blood sugar levels increase, you may experience hyperglycemia. This can cause shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and dry mouth.

If you develop any new symptoms after stopping Ozempic, be sure to address these concerns with your doctor. You should always taper medication as safely as possible. Generally, semaglutide has a half-life of seven days. This means it can take the same amount of time you were taking the drug for it to be fully eliminated from your system. For example, if you took Ozempic once a week for five weeks, it would take approximately five weeks to clear out of your body.

You should never completely stop Ozempic alone. Do not try to self-taper your dosage without consulting your health care provider. Without proper monitoring, you may experience extreme side effects or worse withdrawal symptoms. Rebound effects are possible and common with semaglutide. By working with your doctor, you may be able to combat the physiological effects that come with stopping Ozempic.

Despite working with a health care professional to taper off Ozempic, many people have been harmed by the drug. If you have experienced negative side effects that were not listed on the warning label, you may be eligible to file an Ozempic lawsuit.

Contact an Ozempic attorney

Have you been harmed by Ozempic? Complete this webform or call 1.800.768.4026 to contact attorneys Sara Couch or Jonathan Orent for more information or to discuss a potential Ozempic claim.

Our medical drug experience

The medical lawyers at Motley Rice have advocated for the rights of thousands of patients. Our clients have suffered serious injuries after taking harmful over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and Rybelsus.

Many pharmaceutical companies have failed to properly warn users of the risks and side effects associated with on and off-label use. If you believe a semaglutide drug has hurt you, we can help you:

  • Investigate whether Ozempic’s manufacturer is liable for your medical condition
  • Gather evidence to help prove if the drug manufacturer failed to follow FDA regulations
  • Identify potential issues that could impact potential compensation related to a diabetes lawsuit

Read more on our medical drug litigation experience.

Do not stop taking a prescribed medication without first consulting with your doctor. Discontinuing a prescribed medication without your doctor's advice can result in injury or death. Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Rybelsus remain approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sources
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  4. Everyday Health. Is It Possible to Maintain Weight Loss After Ozempic and Similar Drugs?
  5. FDA Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS) Public Dashboard. Ozempic.
  6. FDA. Ozempic Highlights of Prescribing Information. 
  7. Healthline. Ozempic Rebound: Why Most People Regain Weight After Stopping Semaglutide.
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  12. Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Davies M, Van Gaal LF, Kandler K, Konakli K, et al. Weight regain and cardiometabolic effects after withdrawal of semaglutide: The STEP 1 trial extension. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2022 Aug;24(8):1553–64.