What Happens When You Stop Taking Ozempic?

May 28, 2024 | Weight Loss

If you’re taking Ozempic for type 2 diabetes or weight loss and contemplating stopping the medication, you may be worried about what may happen. Stopping or lowering the dose of a prescription medicine, such as Ozempic, can impact your health.

Drug shortages, changes in your insurance coverage or financial status, drug side effects, and other situations beyond your control might make you discontinue or take less medication than usual. However, stopping or exploring alternative options should be done under the guidance of experienced healthcare professionals.

Discover Ozempic “withdrawal symptoms” and the tips to maintain weight loss after stopping Ozempic.


What Is Ozempic?

Also known generically as semaglutide, Ozempic was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for use in people with type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic is a weekly injection that helps the pancreas produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels. Although it is not approved for weight loss, some doctors prescribe it off-label. (Off-label use is when doctors prescribe a medicine for a purpose other than the one for which it is approved).

According to research, the active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, helps people lose weight. People must continue to make lifestyle adjustments to help lose weight, such as eating healthy and exercising.

Semaglutide is approved for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy. Ozempic contains a lower dosage of semaglutide than Wegovy.

It’s crucial to know that if you start taking either of these drugs for weight loss, your body may become accustomed to them, establishing a new norm. This may cause your weight to plateau.

According to research, if you stop taking Ozempic (or Wegovy), you will likely regain your lost weight. These medications are designed to be taken long-term.


What Does Ozempic or Wegovy Do to Your Body?

Ozempic and Wegovy (semaglutide) decrease appetite and slow down stomach emptying, increasing satiety and reducing food cravings.

Semaglutide stimulates the body’s glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) levels. This hormone binds to GLP-1 receptors, signaling the pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream when blood sugar levels rise. Increased insulin in the body reduces blood sugar levels. Semaglutide, which mimics the GLP-1 hormone, stabilizes blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide also delays digestion, allowing food to stay in the stomach longer. This restricts the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream and reduces food intake by suppressing hunger.

GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Ozempic signal the brain that you are full after eating, providing another layer of appetite regulation. All of these leads to significant weight loss.


How Long Does Ozempic Stay in Your System?

Ozempic is estimated to stay in your system for approximately 5 weeks following your last dose. That’s because your body requires 7 days to remove half of it, a period known as its half-life.

The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for the body to reduce it to half of its starting dose. Different medications have different half-lives, influencing when the body excretes the drug.

Ozempic, according to research, has a half-life of approximately one week. Half the initial medicine is usually eliminated from your system within a week.


What Happens When You Stop Taking Ozempic?

Ozempic is a highly effective medication for controlling blood sugar levels, lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes in individuals with type 2 diabetes, as well as greatly lowering body weight in people who are obese or overweight.

However, people may stop taking Ozempic for various reasons, including side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, or reactions at the injection site.

Another factor is the cost associated with Ozempic. Like many prescription drugs, it can be expensive, posing a financial challenge for some individuals.

It’s important to consult your healthcare practitioner before stopping Ozempic. Abruptly discontinuing medication can decrease its benefits. Your healthcare provider can help you develop a plan to safely taper off the medication, minimizing potential complications.

Here’s what to expect when you stop taking Ozempic:


1. Your Appetite Might Return

Semaglutide slows digestion, keeping food in the stomach longer and boosting feelings of fullness. Since it causes changes in the brain that reduce appetite and the sensations of satisfaction that can accompany eating, people eat less when using Ozempic.

When you discontinue Ozempic, that reaction no longer occurs. When you start taking less medicine, your hunger is likely to increase. You won’t feel full as soon, and you’ll be hungry longer.


2. You Might Gain Some Weight

Ozempic is associated with weight loss in many people. Stopping the medication comes with changes in food cravings and increased hunger, leading to changes in weight, with some people experiencing weight gain.

A 2022 study found that after discontinuing Ozempic, participants regained two-thirds of their previous weight loss. It’s important to note that individuals who regained two-thirds of their weight stopped lifestyle modifications and the medicine.

Ozempic should be part of an ultimate weight loss treatment plan that includes dietary changes and exercise. Sticking to your diet and exercise program will help prevent some of the rebound weight gain that can occur when you stop taking Ozempic.


3. ‘Ozempic Face’ May Go Away

“Ozempic face” refers to the facial alterations that patients who have shed a significant amount of weight might experience.

The drooping or sagging of facial skin happens because your face has a lot of fatty tissue, which gives it volume. However, when you lose weight, the fat cells shrink faster than the facial skin, causing wrinkles.

Facial fillers can help restore volume lost with weight loss. However, if you gain weight after discontinuing Ozempic, some of that weight will return to your face, minimizing “Ozempic face.”


4. Your Blood Sugars May Increase

One of Ozempic’s primary effects is its ability to lower blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes and stop taking Ozempic, your blood sugar levels may fluctuate. Without the medication’s assistance in regulating blood sugar, you may experience hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).


5. The Side Effects Will Go Away

Ozempic side effects may not affect everyone and may be minimal. They can also be reduced by gradually increasing the dosage of Ozempic from the lowest initial dose to the higher dose needed for continuous treatment.

Anyone who experiences the negative effects of this drug but continues with the treatment will see those effects disappear after they stop taking it.


Tips to Prevent Weight Gain After Stopping Ozempic

Establishing long-term healthy habits is the key to losing weight and keeping it off, even after you stop taking your medication. Here are a few things to help maintain your weight loss.


1. Follow a Healthy Diet

Ozempic works best when combined with diet and exercise. When food cravings return, remember that you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. Be mindful of your caloric intake and strive to maintain a calorie balance that supports weight maintenance or loss, depending on your goals. Keep track of your food intake using a food diary or tracking app to ensure you’re not consuming more calories than you burn.

Consume a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excessive intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-calorie beverages. Pay attention to portion sizes and aim for regular, well-balanced meals to keep hunger and cravings in check.


2. Incorporate Regular Physical Activity

Incorporating regular physical activity will help you avoid regaining weight after stopping Ozempic.

Engage in regular physical activity to support weight maintenance and overall health. Try at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly, such as walking, cycling, or swimming. You should also perform strength training exercises at least twice weekly to build muscle and boost metabolism.

Exercise has additional benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, including improved blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and lower cardiovascular risk.


3. Get Enough Sleep

Poor sleep quality can disrupt hunger hormones and increase cravings for high-calorie foods. Getting enough sleep can make you feel energized and cheerful, allowing you to stay motivated and stick to your weight loss plan.

Prioritize quality sleep to support metabolic health and weight management. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, and establish a consistent sleep schedule to regulate your body’s internal clock.


4. Manage Stress

Stress can contribute to emotional eating and weight gain. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature. Engage in activities you enjoy and prioritize self-care to reduce stress levels and support overall well-being.


5. Consider Ozempic Alternatives

Within a year of beginning treatment with a GLP-1 medicine such as Ozempic, approximately one in four persons with type 2 diabetes switch to an alternative. If Ozempic isn’t the right fit for you, an Ozempic alternative might be.

Some Ozempic alternatives include Mounjaro, Zepbound, Wegovy, and Retatrutide. These drugs regulate blood glucose levels and decrease digestion, reducing hunger and promoting weight loss. They can have slightly different side effects and be tolerated differently by various people, so you should consult with your doctor about alternative options.


Contact NP2GO Clinic for Safe Guidance on Stopping Ozempic and Exploring Alternatives

If you’re considering stopping Ozempic or have questions about how to do so safely, we can help you. Our healthcare professionals are versed in obesity medicine and can provide personalized guidance and support to help you confidently navigate the process.

If your insurance doesn’t cover Ozempic or there’s a drug shortage, we can offer Ozempic alternatives such as Wegovy, Mounjaro, Zepbound, or Retatrutide. These medications provide similar benefits in managing blood sugar levels and supporting weight loss. Our team can help you explore whether they may be a better fit for your individual health goals.

Whether you need assistance developing a tapering plan, managing potential side effects, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle after discontinuing Ozempic, our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health outcomes.

Don’t wait until you experience challenges or complications. Contact us today to ensure a smooth, safe transition off Ozempic.