Discontinuing Ozempic: What to Expect, Insights from Bergen County Physicians

Discontinuing Ozempic: What to Expect, Insights from Bergen County Physicians | Healthcare 360 Magazine


When it comes to stopping Ozempic, patients often have questions about potential outcomes: Will the weight return? What about previous health risks? And how quickly might these changes occur? Experts shed light on these concerns, offering insights into the effects of discontinuing Ozempic medication.

Understanding the Impact of Stopping Ozempic

Dr. Hans Schmidt, director of the Center for Weight Loss and Metabolic Health at Hackensack Meridian Health, likens stopping Ozempic to ending a crash diet. He warns that once the medication, known for its effectiveness in treating diabetes and aiding weight loss, is discontinued, individuals may experience weight regain, often surpassing their initial loss.

Explaining the mechanism of Ozempic, Dr. David Shaker, an internal medicine specialist at Holy Name Medical Center, describes it as a GLP1 receptor agonist, mimicking a naturally occurring molecule released during meal digestion. This drug, hailed for its efficacy in managing diabetes, has also gained popularity for its weight loss effects, notably endorsed by figures like Oprah Winfrey.

Ozempic functions by delaying gastric emptying, promoting satiety, and improving blood sugar levels, making it a valuable tool in combating obesity. However, both physicians emphasize that weight loss should be approached as a long-term goal, requiring sustained lifestyle changes rather than quick fixes.

The Importance of Lifestyle Changes for Sustainable Weight Loss

According to Schmidt, adopting habits aligned with those of a healthy weight individual, including dietary modifications and behavioral adjustments, is crucial to preventing Ozempic rebound. He suggests that maintaining medication adherence or implementing lifestyle changes for at least two years can help sustain weight loss achievements.

While some patients may taper off or reduce their Ozempic dosage, completely discontinuing Ozempic medication could lead to increased appetite, blood sugar fluctuations, and the resurgence of pre-medication symptoms, Shaker cautions.

To qualify for Ozempic, patients typically need a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 or a BMI of 27 with weight-related risk factors such as hypertension. Shaker highlights that the medication can serve as a valuable adjunct to lifestyle modifications, accelerating weight loss efforts.

Doctor on discontinuing Ozempic: Obesity ‘requires life-long management’

Also Read: Goldman Sachs Forecasts Economic Boost from Increased Use of Weight-Loss Drugs

Access and Affordability Challenges with Ozempic

Both physicians stress the importance of medical oversight and caution against seeking cheaper alternatives without proper supervision, emphasizing the need for adequate access to Ozempic for those who truly benefit from it.

However, affordability remains a significant hurdle, with Ozempic costing between $500 and $1,200 monthly and often not covered by insurance once BMI thresholds are no longer met. This poses a challenge for many patients, particularly those with limited financial resources.

Ultimately, while Ozempic offers promising benefits for weight management and health improvement, its accessibility and affordability issues underscore the need for comprehensive healthcare policies that prioritize patient well-being and equitable access to essential medications.

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