What Really Happens If You Stop Taking Ozempic, Doctors Say

Quitting Ozempic? Here's what to expect.

Just as Taylor Swift is the person of the year and "rizz" is the word of the year, you could make a pretty strong argument that Ozempic is the drug of the year. Approved as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, the medication's popularity has skyrocketed in recent months thanks to its off-label use as a weight loss drug. Ozempic has helped many people lose significant amounts of weight—an average of 15 pounds over three months, one study reports.

However, it's also common to experience side effects while taking Ozempic, some of which may make it difficult to continue the regimen. Those unable to tolerate these side effects—or unwilling to shell out over $1,000 per month to pay for the drug's benefits indefinitely—may choose to discontinue their use of Ozempic.

Yet doctors say that weaning yourself from the drug may come with some surprising side effects, too. Wondering what really happens to your body when you stop taking Ozempic? Here are five of the most common consequences.

RELATED: Brand New Drug Reverses Obesity With No Real Side Effects, Researchers Say.

What Happens If You Stop Taking Ozempic

1. You may gain all the weight back.

A close up of a person's feet as they step onto a scale
mapo/iStock

Most doctors recommend that if you begin taking Ozempic, it should be with the intention of taking it indefinitely. Semaglutide, the main active ingredient in Ozempic, does not work as a short-term solution for weight loss, they warn.

"GLP-1 medications [such as Ozempic and Wegovy] work in part by suppressing appetite. People who stop the medicine sometimes feel like their appetite comes roaring back—a double effect with hormonal changes due to weight loss," explains William Dixon, MD, MEd, a physician, clinical assistant professor at Stanford University, and the co-founder of Signos.

Dixon adds that if the patient loses lean body mass from muscle tissue and bone while taking Ozempic, this may affect body composition as they regain the weight.

"Subsequent weight gain may be a higher proportion of fat than before starting the medication. This effect may be lessened by increased attention to resistance training, diet composition, and other healthy behaviors such as adequate sleep," he tells Best Life. 

RELATED: New Drug Has People Losing 60 Pounds on Average, Research Shows—And It's Not Ozempic.

2. You may notice a spike in cravings.

sugar craving
Shutterstock

One of the ways that Ozempic can help you lose weight is by curbing your intense cravings for food and reducing "food noise," your persistent or obsessive thoughts about food. This means you may notice a spike in cravings after discontinuing your use of the drug.

"Ozempic can help reduce appetite and food cravings, so stopping the medication may lead to increased hunger and a return to normal appetite sensations," says Spencer Kroll, MD, PhD, FNLA, a physician and founder of The Kroll Medical Group.

3. Your blood sugar may destabilize.

doctor checking blood sugar levels
Proxima Studio / Shutterstock

Ozempic is first and foremost a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes, meaning it can have a profound effect on your blood sugar.

"Ozempic helps lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production and reducing glucagon release in response to meals. When a patient stops Ozempic, the blood sugar levels may start to rise again, potentially leading to higher glucose readings," says Kroll, who is also the co-author of The Ozempic Diet.

He adds that if you have diabetes, it's important to have an alternative plan in place for managing the condition before discontinuing Ozempic. This may include adjusting other medications, making dietary changes, or beginning insulin therapy.

RELATED: Certain Foods Trigger Natural Ozempic-Like Weight Loss Effect, Doctor Says.

4. Addictive behaviors that were curbed while on the medication may return.

Woman looks upset struggling with alcoholism.
fizkes/Shutterstock

As Ozempic has risen in popularity, patients have begun reporting a surprising trend—besides craving food less intensely, they also found that the drug lessened their cravings for alcohol, nicotine, and opioids.

"Ozempic seems to have effects on other behavior—hence why some are reporting less alcohol craving, less illicit drug use, and less obsessive thoughts," explains Kroll. "These actions may all return with the cessation of Ozempic."

RELATED: Ozempic Patients Report Debilitating New Side Effect: "Wish I Never Touched It".

5. You may experience withdrawal symptoms.

woman with stomach pain
sebra / Shutterstock

Though many people will stop experiencing side effects once they stop taking Ozempic, others may experience a spike in discomfort upon discontinuation.

"Patients have reported side effects or withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing Ozempic, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, or stomach upset," says Kroll.

Dixon adds that some reports suggest that gastroparesis, or decreased function of the stomach, might be even more persistent after stopping the medicine.

Speak to your doctor to help weigh the risks and benefits of beginning or discontinuing an Ozempic regimen.

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Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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