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What to Do After Ozempic Weight Loss to Keep the Weight Off

Published

Mar 13, 2024

What happens when you stop Ozempic, and what to do to keep the weight off.

Woman looking in the mirror smiling
Woman looking in the mirror smiling
Woman looking in the mirror smiling

Imagine a scenario where someone has worked diligently for months to lose weight. They were approved for the weight loss medication Ozempic — also known generically as Semaglutide — and put in the effort to improve their diet, exercise regularly, and build a healthier lifestyle. They’ve seen great improvements in their blood sugar and weight loss, feeling healthier and better than ever before.

A bottle of Semaglutide medication

However, a situation arises where they need to discontinue using Ozempic. The reasons could vary: Perhaps the side effects keep getting to them, or their healthcare provider ran out of Ozempic. Or, perhaps their budget changed and they can’t afford the out-of-pocket cost each month anymore.

These situations can happen to anyone. Either way, it’s only natural to wonder: What now? What’s going to happen to my body? Will I gain all the weight back that I worked so hard to lose?

Thankfully, it’s not impossible to maintain weight loss results after you stop Ozempic. In this article, we’ll discuss what happens when you stop treatment and what to do after Ozempic weight loss to continue to enjoy a healthier body.

Please note that Henry Meds doesn’t offer Ozempic. We offer Compounded Semaglutide, an effective form of Semaglutide created in partnership with licensed compounding pharmacies.

Taking a Closer Look at Ozempic

First, let’s look at what Ozempic is. Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, which is a medication designed to manage blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes and help them lose excess weight.¹

How Does Ozempic Cause Weight Loss?

Your pancreas doesn’t secrete enough insulin and your body becomes insulin-resistant when you have diabetes.² Insulin is the hormone in your body that regulates blood sugar, and GLP-1 is a hormone that stimulates insulin release from the pancreas.³

As a GLP-1 agonist, Ozempic works by mimicking GLP-1 and binding to your body's GLP-1 receptor. This enhances insulin secretion to help with blood sugar control. It also slows down gastric emptying, which is the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine. In turn, it reduces your appetite by making you feel full. These functions help you:

  • Keep your blood sugar at a healthy level

  • Control your appetite

  • Reduce calorie intake

Thanks to these effects, Ozempic can help with weight management.⁴ However, it’s important to note that Ozempic isn’t meant to help you lose weight on its own. Combining it with regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet is crucial for success.⁵

Who Is It For?

Ozempic is designed to treat high blood sugar and obesity in people with Type 2 Diabetes. It’s also used off-label for weight loss if you’re overweight or obese, though it hasn’t been FDA-approved for this use.⁶

A smiling woman exercising

Who Shouldn’t Take It?

Several contraindications may disqualify you from Ozempic treatment. First, Ozempic isn’t meant to treat Type 1 Diabetes.⁷ It’s also not meant to be used as the primary treatment to control blood sugar alone. Instead, it’s best used in conjunction with diet and exercise.

Certain medical conditions also disqualify you from treatment, including:⁷ 

  • A history of thyroid cancer

  • Endocrine disorders

  • Hypersensitivity to Semaglutide or any of the Ozempic components

Women planning to be pregnant within the next two months also shouldn’t take Ozempic.⁷ Finally, if you have a known complication from diabetic retinopathy, your healthcare provider will have to monitor you closely to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

How Do You Take It?

Ozempic is administered at a once-weekly injection under the skin in the upper arm, abdomen, or upper thigh.⁷ You or your healthcare provider can use the single-patient-use pen to administer it at any time of the day, with or without food. 

What if you miss an injection? You should speak with your provider to ensure that you stay on track. 

What Are the Benefits?

Besides improving blood sugar levels and helping with chronic weight management, Ozempic has many positive cardiometabolic effects. Some health benefits include:³

  • Lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure

  • Lowered total cholesterol

  • Fewer issues leading to heart disease

  • Increased glucose uptake in the muscles

  • Decreased glucose production in the liver

  • Increased satiety by working on the hypothalamus

What Are the Potential Side Effects?

While Ozempic can improve your health in numerous ways, it also has its set of adverse effects. The most common side effects of Ozempic include:⁷

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

Other more serious potential side effects include:⁷

  • Pancreatitis

  • Hypoglycemia (when used with insulin or an insulin secretagogue)

  • Severe gastrointestinal reactions

  • Acute kidney injury

It may also impact the absorption of your other oral medications due to delayed gastric emptying and cause injection site reactions.⁷

Ozempic (Semaglutide) at a Glance

How Much Is Ozempic?

Ozempic currently has a list price of $935.77.⁸ The list price is the price you pay before any rebates or discounts are applied. So if you have insurance, you may pay less for Ozempic.

However, even with insurance, patients may have to pay for the medication out of pocket. Therefore, Semaglutide costs can range anywhere between $730 to $1,400 per month.⁹

You can get treatment for a cheaper price through online weight loss clinics like Henry Meds. Henry Meds isn’t affiliated with Novo Nordisk and doesn’t provide Ozempic. However, we offer a Semaglutide weight management program through which you can get a compounded form of Semaglutide sent to your mailbox for only $297 per month, including your doctor and prescription.

If you’re interested in starting Compounded Semaglutide treatment, get in touch with a licensed weight management expert on the Henry Meds platform today.

How to Stop Taking Ozempic

People may stop Ozempic for a variety of reasons. Side effects like unusual cravings or aversions, loss of appetite, and gastrointestinal pain may be too much to bear. The cost of Ozempic may become too much to afford, especially if you don’t have insurance or experience changes in insurance coverage during treatment.

In addition, the FDA has currently declared a national shortage of Semaglutide.¹⁰ Therefore, the supply of Ozempic may run out during treatment. 

So, how do you stop taking it in one of these instances? There’s no no particular regimen for stopping Ozempic. You don’t have to stop it gradually — you can stop taking it cold turkey. Once you stop taking it regularly, your body will naturally cycle through the remaining medication. Ozempic has a half-life of about seven days, so it takes about 4–5 weeks to reach a steady state and the same amount of time to completely leave your system.¹¹

However, before stopping, you should consult your healthcare provider and get their guidance first, especially if you have Type 2 Diabetes.

What Happens to Your Body After You Stop Taking Ozempic? 

Several things happen to your body after you stop taking Ozempic. Let’s take a look at five common effects after withdrawal.

The results of stopping Ozempic

1. You May Regain Weight

One study revealed that patients who quit Semaglutide along with exercise and diet counseling regained an average of about two-thirds of the lost weight.¹² This is because once you stop the medication, appetite suppression through gastric emptying stops. 

Additionally, weight loss resistance is an ongoing condition that recurs. Therefore, you’re likely to revert to your previous eating habits and lifestyle choices. It also no longer helps with metabolic control, so you may go back to unhealthy eating levels and cause weight regain.

The speed of weight regain depends on your lifestyle choices after stopping Ozempic. Clinical trials show that patients who continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly regain weight at a slow rate of 6.9% in about a year.¹³

Conversely, patients who reverted to their old eating habits and low activity levels regained weight at a rate of about 11.6% in about a year.¹² Therefore, you can minimize the weight gain effects of Ozempic by continuing good eating habits and a regular exercise routine.

2. The Side Effects Go Away

If you experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and more, those side effects will go away when you stop treatment and the medication completely cycles out of your system within 4–5 weeks.

3. Your Appetite Returns to Normal

As mentioned above, Semaglutide slows digestion, increasing feelings of fullness and altering the hypothalamus to decrease hunger and satisfaction from eating food.¹⁴

When you stop taking Ozempic, those effects disappear. Therefore, your appetite may return to how it was before, making it harder to continue following a low-calorie diet.

4. Your Blood Sugar Goes Up

Since Ozempic helps control blood sugar levels by boosting insulin production, your blood sugar levels can potentially go back up when you quit due to a lack of regulation. You may also eat more calories and larger portions than you did when on Ozempic due to your appetite returning to normal, which can also increase blood sugar.

What to Do After Ozempic Weight Loss to Keep the Weight Off for Good

While rebounding after stopping Ozempic is common, the good news is that it’s possible to minimize weight regain if you continue good habits and implement a few beneficial lifestyle changes. Consider four things you can do to keep the weight off even after stopping Ozempic.¹²

It’s important to note that implementing these alone can be difficult. You should work closely with your healthcare provider to create a plan that’s best for you.¹⁵

What to do after Ozempic

1. Continue to Eat a Balanced, Healthy Diet

First, watch your food intake closely to make sure you’re not consuming too many calories per day. You should also monitor the type of foods you eat, opting for healthy foods instead of unhealthy ones. That means avoiding ultra-processed foods and those high in carbs.¹⁶

In general, it’s recommended that you consume a low-calorie diet with a low carbohydrate or fat content. However, some diets, such as the ketogenic or high-protein diet, may be better for you depending on your health condition and history.¹⁷

It’s always best to work with your healthcare providers to work out a diet plan that’s best for you.

2. Maintain a Good Exercise Routine

Physical activity is the most effective way to maintain your weight loss results.¹⁶ Therefore, it’s recommended to do moderate-intensity exercise for the best results. The ideal amount for people with Type 2 Diabetes is a minimum of 150 minutes a week spread out over at least 3 days a week.¹⁸ That’s a total of about 2.5 hours of exercise per week, or roughly 20 minutes a day. 

3. Build Good Sleep Habits 

Disturbed sleeping patterns and sleep deprivation lead to increased energy intake due to excessive snacking on foods high in carbohydrates and fats. Additionally, regularly sleeping six hours or less per night is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI), and sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of several conditions, including:¹⁹

  • Obesity

  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • Cardiovascular diseases

  • Hypertension

Between 7–9 hours per night is generally recommended for adults. Improving sleep quality and getting more than seven hours of sleep at night has been proven to increase the likelihood of weight-loss success by 33%.²⁰ Therefore, building a good sleep routine can help you avoid regaining weight after stopping Ozempic.  

4. Explore Alternative Weight Loss Treatments

Many alternatives to Ozempic exist, such as:

  • Wegovy

  • Trulicity

  • Saxenda

  • Rybelsus

  • Mounjaro

They may not affect you in the same way as Ozempic, but all have been proven to be effective for chronic weight management.²¹ Some may also be more affordable. You can discuss these alternatives with your healthcare provider, and they can choose an alternative for you based on your unique needs and health condition.

A smiling weight management doctor

Start Your Weight Management Journey with Compounded Semaglutide from Henry Meds

Though there is a national shortage of Ozempic, Henry Meds can help fill the void with Compounded Semaglutide — a legal form of Semaglutide that’s been mixed, combined, or had its ingredients altered to make a tailored solution.²²

One of the licensed sterile compounding pharmacies on the Henry Meds platform will fill your prescription and ship your medication directly to you with all the supplies you need to get started. Simply fill out our form online, get a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional, and receive your medication in the mail if approved. 

Contact us to get started on your weight management journey today!

Please note: Henry Meds does not offer Ozempic® or Wegovy®, which are only available from the Novo Nordisk company. Compounded Semaglutide is a patient-specific medication created in a state Board of Pharmacy or FDA-licensed compounding facility per a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. Compounded drugs are required to exclusively use ingredients from FDA-licensed facilities, and test sterile compounds for potency, sterility, and purity. While compounded drugs are legal they do not undergo pre-market approval from the FDA as they are not made in large batches for the public, compounds are made based on specific orders from a medical professional. Because of that the dose, route of administration, safety, and efficacy may differ from commercially available, brand-name, drugs. Henry Meds exclusively works with licensed sterile compounding pharmacies in the United States. 

To help you trust the information we provide, every article written by Henry relies on peer-reviewed studies and medically-reviewed facts. We ensure that data, ideas, and figures cited are reliable, current, and accurate. Our team of medical reviewers aim to help you cut through the noise with clear and authoritative primary and secondary sources.

Nothing in this article is intended to be prescriptive or medical advice. Talk to your doctor before starting a new diet and exercise plan. The information presented is about our medically supervised weight management programs and is not an advertisement for a specific drug.

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