More than 70% of US adults are obese or overweight. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of various health issues, from heart disease to cancer. What is worrisome is that a significant number of adults are severely obese. Moreover, these people do not respond well to lifestyle interventions like dietary measures and exercise.
The rise of obesity is among the reasons for an increase in non-communicable diseases like heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, depression, and even cancer in the US. It means that one of the ways to reduce the incidence of these health issues is to fight obesity. Therefore, little surprise that obesity is now recognized as an ailment in the US that must be treated. Hence, if lifestyle interventions fail, doctors may use medication and every surgical method to manage obesity.
In recent years, there has been much progress in understanding obesity. Now researchers understand the complex nature of obesity. They know that obesity is not just about excessive food intake. It is also about specific changes in the brain, alterations in the gastrointestinal tract, significant changes in the body’s physiology, and much more. It means no single method is enough for weight loss, and the best way to achieve prolonged weight loss is by combining multiple methods.
Drug therapy for weight loss has some distinct benefits. It is generally more acceptable for obese people compared to surgical methods. Anti-obesity drugs work in different ways. Some act on the brain and reduce appetite, others on the gastrointestinal tract, and so on. One of the most popular and effective drugs for treating obesity these days are semaglutide or Wegovy, or Ozempic. In this drug, semaglutide is the active ingredient, whereas, Ozempic and Wegovy are its brand names.
What to expect when stopping Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. It belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. GLP-1 is a hormone naturally produced in the body and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Semaglutide mimics the effects of GLP-1, which leads to increased insulin secretion, decreased glucagon secretion, and slower digestion of food. These actions help to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
In addition to its effects on blood sugar, Ozempic has also been shown to promote weight loss. Clinical trials have demonstrated that people taking Ozempic lost more weight than those taking a placebo. Weight loss is thought to occur due to several factors, including decreased appetite, increased feelings of fullness, and slower digestion of food. Semaglutide is believed to decrease appetite by affecting the hypothalamus, which is part of the brain that controls hunger and satiety. Studies have shown that semaglutide reduces hunger and increases feelings of fullness, which can lead to a decrease in caloric intake.
Furthermore, Ozempic slows down the emptying of the stomach and reduces the rate at which food moves through the digestive system. This can lead to a prolonged feeling of fullness, which can help to reduce overall calorie intake and lead to weight loss. In clinical trials, people taking Ozempic experienced an average weight loss of approximately 10% of their initial body weight over 68 weeks. This weight loss was sustained over a longer period of time, with people maintaining an average weight loss of 7% after two years.
There is no doubt that this drug is amazing and can cause significant weight loss. Furthermore, it is quite safe for prolonged use. Therefore, people looking for weight loss need to take Ozempic for quite a long, often for a year or even a few years. However, once the weight loss target has been achieved, they can discontinue its use. Thus, the question arises, “What to expect when stopping Ozempic.”
Regretfully, there is some not-so-good news for Ozempic users. Studies show that many people start regaining body weight after Ozempic discontinuation. Studies show that on discontinuing the drug, most users might regain two-third of their weight.
It means that though on discontinuing Ozempic, their body weight would still be lower than what used to be before the therapy initiation. However, it also means that a significant number of benefits are reversed.
This does not mean that one should not use Ozempic for weight loss. However, it means that upon discontinuation of the therapy, other extensive lifestyle measures must be introduced. For example, to avoid weight-regain, one would need to practice dietary measures, exercise, and so on. Additionally, it may be a good idea for some individuals to continue taking Ozempic at a maintenance dosage.
Therefore, if you are on Ozempic or Wegovy for weight loss, do not discontinue the drug without consulting your healthcare provider.