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Do You Regain Weight After Stopping Ozempic? If So, Does That Mean it Doesn't Work?

Do you regain weight after stopping Ozempic? This is a real concern that many patients have. Why take the medication only to have the disappointment after stopping it? Many patients liken Ozempic to the diets they have tried--the diets worked while they were following the diets.

women injecting medication into arm

Do You Regain Weight After Stopping Ozempic?

The quick and simple answer is yes, weight regain occurs after stopping Ozempic. Understanding how the medication works will help you understand why that is so.

How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic does not directly cause weight loss. It does not cause adipose tissue to shrink or be metabolized. Ozempic acts on the areas of our brain that mediate satiety and influence the hedonic reward system. The molecules in Ozempic attach to receptors, and as those receptors get filled, the brain gets a satiety signal. Ozempic causes a decreased appetite, leading to about 35% decrease in energy intake. It is the decreased energy intake that leads to weight loss.

Ozempic needs to be taken weekly because the molecules in Ozempic do not last forever. After about 7 days, half of the Ozempic dose is already out of the body. That means that eventually none of the receptors will have Ozempic, and appetite will return. As appetite returns, energy intake increases, and weight regain occurs.

Holding Ozempic to a Higher Standard

Many people believe Ozempic is not a good medication because of the weight regain after stopping Ozempic. I think this comes from holding Ozempic to a higher standard than other medications.

Do we expect blood sugars to stay lower after stopping diabetes medications, or do we expect blood sugars to rise again? Are we surprised that blood pressure becomes elevated after stopping anti-hypertensives? What about cholesterol levels after stopping statin therapy.

Obesity is a chronic metabolic condition just like diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. These types of chronic conditions require chronic treatment.

I think that the reason many hold obesity medication to a higher standard has to do with our societal perception of obesity. Most people do not understand obesity to be a chronic medical condition. Obesity, or the excess weight, is imagined to be something that came at some point and can leave with no trace. So obesity medication is expected to make the weight go away--completely get rid of the problem with no trace.

Yes, You Regain Weight After Stopping Ozempic--What Does That Mean For You?

Over time, society, including the medical world is gaining the understanding of what obesity is. I believe that when we truly understand obesity to be a multifactorial chronic medical condition, some of the stigma around obesity will dissipate. What this can mean for someone with obesity is that they and those around them lose the belief that weight loss is all about self control and willpower. The guilt can diminish. Weight can be placed in proper perspective--as something that is influenced by lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity, genetics, medical conditions, medications, and socioeconomic factors.

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