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People Who Stop Taking GLP-1 Drugs Such As Ozempic and Wegovy Rapidly Gain Back Weight

Diane Herbst, who covers the health beat for The Messenger, has run a series of articles documenting weight gain when people stop using GLP-1 drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy. She cites both the evidence from scientific studies and anecdotal evidence from people who have gone public with their experiences.

On the scientific side, Herbst references a study published in 2022 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism: A Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The purpose of the study was to look at weight gain after withdrawal from a semaglutide. A portion of the 327 participants were given a placebo. Participants were tracked for 68 weeks. The study’s conclusion:

One year after withdrawal of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg and lifestyle intervention, participants regained two-thirds of their prior weight loss, with similar changes in cardiometabolic variables. Findings confirm the chronicity of obesity and suggest ongoing treatment is required to maintain improvements in weight and health.

Herbst quotes Dr. Melanie Jay, director of New York University’s Langone Comprehensive Program on Obesity, about the weight boomerang when someone stops taking a semaglutide such as Ozempic and Wegovy:

“I’m not surprised that people have gained the weight back when they go off the medicines. When we treat other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, we don’t get surprised if people stop taking the medicine and their blood pressure goes up,” Dr. Jay said.

In another article, Herbst documents the weight gain experienced by people who stopped taking tirzepatide drugs such as Mounjaro and Zepbound. In a recently published study of 670 people who stopped receiving injections of Zepbound, participants gained back an average of 50% of the weight loss within one year.

Herbst tells the story of two women who rapidly lost weight with Wegovy, Ozempic and Mounjaro, and rapidly gained it back. A major problem is the expense, which one of the women said would have cost her $1,400 a month and which her insurance wouldn’t cover.

Another woman who lost 13 pounds on the drugs, gained 19 back when she stopped. She switched to Noom, a weight loss app, and reports she lost 13 pounds on the app and the weight is not coming back. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that GLP-1 drugs suppress the appetite by suppressing urges, including the urge to eat or drink or take illicit drugs. Even such compulsive behaviors as excessive gambling, smartphone use, and binge shopping are said to be calmed by the drugs. Do these compulsions return when the drugs go away? Stay tuned for more research.

Written by Steve O’Keefe. First published January 9, 2024.


“These Women Stopped Taking Ozempic and Wegovy, Then Regained More Weight Than They’d Lost: ‘I Was Insatiable’,” The Messenger, January 2, 2024.

“Weight regain and cardiometabolic effects after withdrawal of semaglutide,” Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism: A Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, August 2022.

“Want to Drop Your Weight Loss Drug? You’ll Likely Regain the Lost Pounds: Study,” The Messenger, December 11, 2023.

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