The treatment offered underneath the model names Ozempic and Wegovy — semaglutide — has skyrocketed in reputation over the previous couple of years.
Ozempic was first permitted in 2017 for the administration of kind 2 diabetes.
After some individuals started utilizing it for weight reduction, it was permitted in 2021 underneath the model title Wegovy, which is meant for power weight administration.
Judging by research and firsthand accounts, semaglutide seems to be working for weight reduction. A 2021 examine in The New England Journal of Medication discovered that contributors misplaced a median of 14.9% of their physique weight in a 68-week interval, in comparison with 2.4% misplaced with out the treatment.
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Whereas semaglutide is meant for long-term use, some individuals might want or must cease taking it after a time frame. There are some issues they need to know earlier than they give up, nonetheless.
How semaglutide works for weight reduction
The burden loss treatment Wegovy works by mimicking GLP-1, a hormone that regulates urge for food, in line with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). It slows down the digestive course of, maintains fullness longer and reduces urge for food.
Moreover, GLP-1 helps regulate blood sugar ranges in individuals with diabetes.
Arden McLaughlin, 44, pictured right here in earlier than and after photographs, spoke with Fox Information Digital about her private expertise with taking Wegovy for weight reduction. In a six-week interval, she misplaced 20 kilos on the treatment. (Arden McLaughlin)
Though Wegovy and Ozempic are each semaglutides, Wegovy is obtainable in greater doses, which implies it will possibly obtain sooner weight reduction.
In medical trials of Wegovy, contributors misplaced a median of 15.8% of physique weight over a 68-week interval.
With Ozempic, the trials confirmed a median weight lack of 6% over one 12 months.
“The merchandise will not be interchangeable.”
“Though Wegovy and Ozempic each comprise semaglutide, they’re completely different merchandise with completely different indications, dosages, prescribing data, titration schedules and supply units,” Allison Schneider — a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the corporate that makes Ozempic and Wegovy — stated in a press release to Fox Information Digital.
“The merchandise will not be interchangeable and shouldn’t be used outdoors of their permitted indications,” she additionally stated.
Causes individuals cease taking the treatment
Individuals who take semaglutide to realize a wholesome weight could resolve to cease taking the treatment once they attain their goal aim.
For others, unwanted effects could drive them to discontinue use. The most typical complaints are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly ache, constipation, heartburn and burping, as said on the MedlinePlus web site.
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In uncommon circumstances, individuals could expertise extra intense ache, fainting or dizziness, rashes, imaginative and prescient adjustments, swelling, problem respiratory or swallowing, yellowing of the pores and skin and eyes, or fast heartbeat.
The treatment may be cost-prohibitive in the long run. If insurance coverage doesn’t cowl Ozempic or Wegovy for weight reduction, the typical month-to-month value is $1,430, in line with Medicine.com.
Individuals could must cease as a consequence of unwanted effects, price or well being points.
“Typically individuals’s insurance coverage protection adjustments — so what was once $20 a month could improve to $200 a month, and that will not be within the price range,” Dr. Adam Wolfe, an inner medication specialist with College of Michigan Health-West Hospital, advised Fox Information Digital in an interview.
Individuals also needs to cease taking these medicines if they’re pregnant or plan to turn into pregnant (or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed). The web sites for each Ozempic and Wegovy state that the medicines could hurt unborn infants.
In medical trials for the Ozempic semaglutide treatment, contributors skilled a median weight lack of 6% over one 12 months. (Getty Pictures)
Throughout a latest phase of “Fox & Associates,” Fox Information medical contributor and NYU Langone inner medication specialist Dr. Marc Siegel spoke concerning the potential threat of Wegovy’s long-term digestive results.
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“I don’t need to commit individuals to years and years and years of a drug that I don’t know all of the potential unwanted effects about,” he stated. “I’d moderately use it short-term if I can.”
Schneider of Novo Nordisk advised Fox Information Digital that whether or not a affected person stays on Ozempic or Wegovy long-term or short-term relies on particular person well being wants and the suggestions of the particular person’s well being care supplier.
The danger of regaining weight
Dr. Wolfe stated he prescribes each Ozempic and Wegovy for diabetes and weight administration.
Regaining misplaced weight is a chance when somebody goes off the treatment, he famous — significantly for many who do not have a strong sport plan from a life-style standpoint.
“After stopping, the starvation comes again and the abdomen begins emptying at a sooner tempo,” stated Dr. Wolfe, who focuses on bariatric care and weight reduction.
Dr. Daniela Gamboa, who runs an built-in care/medical weight reduction apply in Irving, Texas, agreed that when Ozempic or Wegovy is discontinued, the person’s urge for food will improve again to baseline ranges, making it more durable to comply with a lower-calorie eating regimen to retain the load loss.
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“That is additionally because of the phenomenon referred to as metabolic adaptation, the place the physique tries to regain the load it misplaced by slowing down the metabolic price, rising the starvation hormone and reducing satiety,” she defined to Fox Information Digital.
A 2022 examine revealed within the journal Diabetes, Weight problems and Metabolism confirmed that one 12 months after stopping semaglutide, people regained two-thirds of the load they’d misplaced whereas on the treatment.
One girl’s story of transitioning off treatment
Arden McLaughlin, 44, proprietor of a public relations enterprise in Charlotte, North Carolina, stated she gained some further weight final 12 months after having surgical procedure.
To kickstart the load loss course of, she noticed a board-certified nurse practitioner to get a prescription for Wegovy.
Arden McLaughlin, proven right here, stopped taking the Wegovy weight-loss treatment as a consequence of her personal historical past of previous consuming issues. (Arden McLaughlin)
“I began the treatment final September and misplaced 20 kilos in six weeks,” McLaughlin advised Fox Information Digital in a telephone interview.
Nevertheless, she ended up having to cease the treatment abruptly.
McLaughlin has a historical past of consuming issues, she stated — however as a result of these tendencies had been underneath management for a while, they weren’t on her radar as she went via the steps to get began with Wegovy.
“As a substitute of simply not consuming, I began consuming the right meals for my physique.”
However as she began quickly dropping weight and dropping her urge for food, her outdated points with meals began to reappear.
“I began getting these ideas once more about how far I might take it,” she stated.
When McLaughlin advised her nurse practitioner about her disordered consuming historical past, she was advised she must cease taking the treatment.
To keep up a wholesome weight post-medication, McLaughlin targeted on diet and train.
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“Whereas I used to be on Wegovy, it was onerous for me to work out as a result of it made me nauseous,” she stated. “However after I finished, I used to be in a position to begin going to the health club once more.”
Her common starvation ranges returned inside every week, though she did discover that she obtained fuller sooner, possible as a result of her abdomen had shrunk.
“As a substitute of simply not consuming, I began consuming the right meals for my physique,” McLaughlin stated. “I additionally monitored my energy with an app.”
Though Wegovy and Ozempic are each semaglutides, Wegovy is obtainable in greater doses, which implies individuals can obtain sooner weight reduction with it. (iStock)
One factor she’s observed now’s that a few of her meals tastes and cravings have modified.
“Previous to semaglutide, I had an inclination to like fatty meals and sweets,” she stated. “I don’t crave sweets, bread, cheese or salty snacks anymore. As a substitute, I discover myself craving extra vegetables and fruit.”
By the assistance of nutritious meals and health club exercises, McLaughlin has misplaced much more physique fats and added lean muscle.
“With the proper plan in place, it’s potential to keep up the load loss with out the treatment.”
For anybody who’s seeking to transition away from a semaglutide treatment, McLaughlin stated that from her perspective, it’s necessary to plan wholesome meals and have them prepped forward of time.
“I reside alone and don’t prepare dinner quite a bit, so I exploit a service that delivers nutritious meals every week,” she stated. “In any other case, it could be too straightforward to slide again into the outdated habits.”
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Total, McLaughlin believes Wegovy helped her get heading in the right direction of more healthy consuming habits and changing into extra conscious of what her physique wants.
“Semaglutide was the jumpstart I wanted, however I additionally needed to collect a staff round me to maintain me going and assist me determine learn how to preserve the load off alone,” she stated.
“I feel individuals could also be afraid to cease as a result of they suppose they’ll regain the load, however with the proper plan in place, it’s potential to keep up the load loss with out the treatment.”
An individual’s care staff is necessary
Whereas he stated it’s secure to cease taking semaglutide, Dr. Wolfe recommends that sufferers first meet with their care staff to speak about particular life-style behaviors that may assist with the transition.
“In my apply, individuals coming off these medicines have essentially the most success once they work with a multidisciplinary staff,” he stated.
That may embrace behavioral well being assist from a psychologist, diet assist to place collectively meal plans and assist with portion management, and an train program to make sure average exercise every day.
“Whether or not sufferers take Ozempic for weight problems or kind 2 diabetes, this treatment needs to be only one piece of a remedy plan that additionally consists of wholesome life-style adjustments and common bodily exercise,” stated Dr. Gamboa.
“These wholesome consuming habits needs to be continued even after stopping the treatment to assist preserve the load.”
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Dr. Jess Diller Kovler, PhD — bariatric psychologist for Northwell Health at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York and the chief psychologist for Properly By Messer, a weight-loss-focused medical apply in New York Metropolis — has developed a protocol for sufferers taking such a treatment.
“Individuals ought to seek the advice of their well being care supplier earlier than making any adjustments to their remedy plan.”
It focuses on behavioral adjustments, feelings and shifting thought patterns round meals, she stated.
“To achieve success long-term, one actually must study expertise and techniques round weight reduction, and look at and work on emotion-based consuming and study new coping expertise,” she advised Fox Information Digital.
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“As well as, to make sure long-term success, seek the advice of with a dietitian and therapist. It is not about simply consuming much less — it is also about consuming extra healthful meals and tackling the emotional part,” Dr. Kovler added.
Stated Novo Nordisk’s Schneider, “As with every treatment, individuals ought to seek the advice of their well being care supplier earlier than making any adjustments to their remedy plan or for medical recommendation about unwanted effects.”