What happens when you stop taking Ozempic?

Ozempic’s short term benefits as a weight loss drug are established, but what happens when you come off the medication?
Simon Lovick
min read
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Quick summary

The effects of the drug Ozempic, by now, are fairly well-known.

Originally licensed as medication for people with type 2 diabetes, Ozempic quickly gained popularity as a weight loss drug, helping people achieve their healthy target weights over the course of a prescription.

But what happens when you stop taking Ozempic? Here we take the chance to break down what you might see when you halt your course of medication on Ozempic, and our recommendations for seeing sustained, long term weight loss.

A quick recap on Ozempic

Ozempic is a type of semaglutide, which belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) analogs, or otherwise known as GLP-1s. Semaglutide is known under several brand names, including Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus. 

So how does it work? It works by mimicking a naturally occurring gut hormone called incretin, which is naturally released after you have eaten. This has a number of effects including: increasing your insulin response and raising concentration of glucose and fatty acids in the bloodstream [1]; slowing down the food leaving your gut, meaning that you stay fuller for longer [2]; decreasing the perceived “reward” of eating [3].

Ozempic comes as an injection pen which you take once a week (each pen contains four shots). Your dosage increases as you go along your prescription, from 0.25mg for the first four weeks, up to 0.5mg for at least four weeks [4]. This may then be increased to 1mg or 2mg (the maximum concentration). 

Access to Ozempic may depend on where you are based. In the UK, it is available on prescription through the NHS, although prescription is limited to those with type 2 diabetes. For anyone else, your best route is a private prescription although buying Ozempic online has changed recently due to new restrictions.

What happens when you stop taking Ozempic? 

Ozempic’s ability to help people achieve weight loss is well-documented. But what happens to you when you stop taking the medication? 

Much of the evidence shows that, once you stop taking Ozempic, you will see many of its benefits subside. Principally, this means you will most likely start to put on weight again. One study showed that, after withdrawing from taking Ozempic, patients regained around two-thirds of their original weight within a year [5]. 

Taking Ozempic may have helped suppress or limit your appetite, but stopping taking it will mean the opposite. You’ll likely see your normal appetite resume.

There are also chances that you will see your blood sugar spike. Since Ozempic is designed to lower your blood sugar (especially in patients with type 2 diabetes), when you stop taking it, the amount of glucose in your body can spike [6]. 

On the plus side, stopping taking Ozempic will also stop any of the side effects you may see as a result of the medication. This is good news since this is one of the more common reasons why people withdraw from taking their medication. 

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Our recommendations for sustained weight loss

The above results of stopping taking Ozempic demonstrate a fundamental truth about the weight loss drug—you should not view Ozempic (or similar medications) as a cure for obesity or being overweight, nor should you see it as a magic pill that solves your health challenges instantly. 

Anyone looking to lose weight by taking Ozempic, or similar medications, therefore shouldn’t see it as a standalone treatment, but rather as a part of a more holistic course of action to improve your health. 

This should include several things. Firstly, your diet. Don’t just rely on your medication to determine how much you eat, and what you are eating. You should take steps to consider a well-balanced nutritious diet that ensures you are getting enough of what you need when you are eating. Cut out unhealthy foods (sugary, simple carbohydrates, fatty proteins like red meat) where possible and replace them with complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. 

Secondly, exercise. A good routine of exercise should include 2.5 hours a week (or 30 mins for five days a week). Vary how and where you are exercising to keep yourself excited and motivated. 

Finally, cut out or reduce unhealthy habits like excessive drinking and smoking. There is a close link between these things and putting on weight. They might not be the easiest things to cut down on, but they will be highly effective.

You can, and should, seek support for changing your lifestyle habits. Behavioural care support, which is available through the Habitual platform, will help you make the right decision and keep you on track on any weight loss journey. 

Implementing these healthier lifestyle habits while you are taking Ozempic will pay huge dividends for if and when you eventually decide to stop taking the medication. That way, with or without medication, you’ll see a much higher chance of achieving and staying at a healthy weight. 


[1] Kapitza, C., Dahl, K., Jacobsen, J., et al. (2017). Effects of semaglutide on beta cell function and glycaemic control in participants with type 2 diabetes: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Diabetologia, 60(8): 1390–1399. Accessible here

[2] Friedrichsen, M., Breitschaft, A., Tadayon, S., et al (2020). The effect of semaglutide 2.4 mg once weekly on energy intake, appetite, control of eating, and gastric emptying in adults with obesity, Diabetes Obes Metab, 23(3), 754-762. Accessible here

[3] Blundell, J., Finlayson, G., Axelson, M., et al (2017). Effects of once‐weekly semaglutide on appetite, energy intake, control of eating, food preference and body weight in subjects with obesity, Diabetes Obes Metab, 19(9): 1242–1251. Accessible here

[4] Ozempic dosing. Ozempic, retrieved July 10th 2023. Accessible here

[5] Wilding, J., Batterham, R., Davies, M. et al (2022). Weight regain and cardiometabolic effects after withdrawal of semaglutide: The STEP 1 trial extension, Diabetes Obes Metab. 2022 Aug; 24(8): 1553–1564. Accessible here

[6] Here’s What Happens When You Go Off Ozempic, Hone Health, April 25th 2023. Accessible here

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