• After someone stops taking Ozempic, they may experience changes in blood sugar, changes in appetite, and weight gain.
  • Experts emphasize that Ozempic is intended for long-term use and should always be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
  • Experts recommend people who are going off the drug should enroll in a nutrition program before going off the medication, so they’re better equipped to make healthy choices that support their health needs post-Ozempic.

Is there such a thing as an “Ozempic withdrawal?”

Whenever you stop taking a medication, you may experience certain side effects. This is also true with obesity drugs like Ozempic—stopping the medication will result in lowered levels of the drug’s active ingredients that work to stabilize blood sugar.

Ozempic withdrawal refers to the symptoms experienced in this after-period.

These effects include blood sugar changes and the potential for regaining weight that might’ve been lost while on the medication.

“With the changes of active ingredient levels, you will likely feel the changes of the blood sugar as well which can affect the way you feel about cravings and have effects on your overall appetite,” Amy Lee, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Lindora Clinic with 30 locations across Southern California, told Health.

Not all experts use the term “Ozempic withdrawal” in any official capacity, but according to Frances Lee, NP, a nurse practitioner at the weight loss center at Rush University Medical Group, patients do experience changes when stopping these medications.

Lee explained that symptoms from this medication change can last anywhere from weeks to months; this timeline is because the body’s physiological baseline function has to be kicked back in to perform the duties it used to do before taking the drug.

Here’s what happens to the body when you stop taking Ozempic, as well as how to best prepare for the medication change should you and your healthcare provider decide it’s the best decision for you.

Doctor talking to older man
GETTY IMAGES / WESTEND61

What Happens When You Stop Taking Ozempic

When you go from being on Ozempic to not taking the drug, a few main side effects can occur.

Since Ozempic works by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone released during digestion and delaying gastric emptying time, one of the first things you may notice is that you get hungry faster.1

“Without the medication, your gastric empty time will return to baseline which results in food being metabolized quicker and can be a trigger for you to feel hungrier faster or even requiring more food volumes to reach satiety,” said Lee.

According to Lee, stopping Ozempic can include any or all of the following:

  • Appetite and food cravings return
  • Weight gain occurs
  • Blood sugars increase
  • For patients with diabetes, reduced blood sugar control
  • Blood pressure can increase
  • Cholesterol may be negatively changed
  • Patients can experience mood changes related to weight regain

    No, You Can’t Just Stop Ozempic When You’ve Reached Your Goal Weight

    Whether you are taking Ozempic for type 2 diabetes or off-label for weight reduction, experts say there are many reasons why someone may stop taking Ozempic.

    Lee explained that she sees patients who are using Ozempic off-label for weight management, as well as clients who use Wegovy and the compound semaglutide.

    “They feel that they can just take themselves off when they reach their goal weight when in reality, that could relate to weight regain because the effects of appetite suppression goes away with disruption of use,” she said.

    Lee explained that it’s important for people to realize that the medication is intended to be used long-term.

    “Using Ozempic, Wegovy, and semaglutide short-term will definitely solve your short-term issues,” she said. “One may consider a lower maintenance dose and there should be a dietary eating plan in place.”

    A 2022 clinical trial followed participants for 52 weeks after they stopped taking the medication.2

    Participants who took semaglutide for 68 weeks lost significant amounts of weight, but when the medication was stopped and lifestyle changes were stopped, at 120 weeks (52 weeks later) patients were found to have regained two-thirds of the weight they had lost.2

    Moreover, they experienced similar changes in cardiometabolic variables, such as blood glucose.

    However, many were able to maintain a loss of 5% of their initial body weight, which is still an important change that provides health benefits, said Lee.

    How to Prepare Yourself to Stop Taking Ozempic

    While certain symptoms of going off Ozempic may seem daunting, Lee clarified that not everyone will experience these side effects.

    That’s why it’s important that patients follow up with their providers after stopping the medication so they can be monitored for changes in their blood pressure, blood sugar, and other lab values, she said.

    There are some ways to prepare yourself for the change.

    Lee suggests having a dietary program in place and cognitive support to override the potential hunger, cravings, and increased appetite that you may experience.

    “Enroll in a nutrition education program while you are on Ozempic for diet reasons,” she said. “And if you are a client with diabetes, have an alternative medication that can help control the sugars.”

    She also recommends the following strategy:

    • Reinforce the importance of maintaining lifestyle changes that support controlling blood sugar, losing weight, and maintaining healthy habits.
    • Use a food tracker or journal to track eating.
    • Consider making more frequent visits with your healthcare provider to focus on nutrition and lifestyle adjustments.
    • Look into whether it would be appropriate to consider an alternate anti-obesity medication.

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