Patients on Ozempic or Wegovy eat MORE calories after stopping medication than they did prior to taking drug, survey finds

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • One in five patients currently on weight loss medications reported eating more
  • This goes against the drug’s mechanism, which is meant to suppress appetite 
  • READ MORE: Millions of patients on Ozempic are at risk of gaining more weight

Many patients who stop taking blockbuster weight loss medications eat more calories than they did before, a survey suggests.

A survey by Deutsche Bank polled 600 Americans who were either taking or previously took drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy.

The researchers found that 30 percent of those who stopped taking them reported eating ‘a little more’ or ‘a lot more’ than they did before taking the drugs.

The findings are another sign that for many patients, these are drugs for life. There have been reports of rapid weight gain as well among former users.

Ozempic is a brand name for the drug semaglutide, which binds to the GLP-1 receptor to suppress appetite

The bank conducted the survey to determine if investors should prioritize food and beverage stocks, which have fallen steadily since the GLP-1 boom. 

The researchers surveyed 600 adults who either were currently taking the medications or had stopped taking them. 

About 70 percent of participants were still taking the drugs, while the remaining 30 percent had stopped using them.

The participants were asked if they consumed ‘a little more,’ ‘a lot more,’ ‘a little less,’ or ‘a lot less’ calories while taking or after taking Ozempic or Wegovy. 

Of those still taking the medications, 30 percent said they ate ‘a little less,’ while 22 percent said they ate a ‘lot less.’

Ozempic and Wegovy are brand names for the medication semaglutide, which suppresses appetite and triggers weight loss.

The drug binds to the GLP-1 receptor, a protein that triggers hormones in the brain that keep the stomach full and tell the body to stop eating and avoid cravings.

However, despite this mechanism, some participants currently taking GLP-1 agonists were eating more. 

‘Perhaps surprisingly, 17% of respondents stated that they were consuming a lot more and 18% a little more,’ the researchers wrote.

‘This meant that a net 18% of those who were using GLP-1 medication were eating less.’

Additionally, among those who were no longer taking the medications, 30 percent said they were eating more than they did prior to using them. 

This could be due to the medications no longer suppressing appetite and the patients falling into old habits.

Eating more calories after stopping the medications could make these patients more likely to gain weight back. 

Experts have warned that obese patients who quit Ozempic or Wegovy could gain back the weight they lost, along with additional pounds.

A 2022 study in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, for example, reported that patients who took semaglutide for 68 weeks lost an average of 17.3 percent of their body weight.

When they stopped the treatment, they regained 11.6 percent of their lost weight by week 120, resulting in a net weight loss of just under six percent of body weight.

Dr Ania Jastreboff, an obesity medicine expert at Yale University, told People: If you have a patient who has high blood pressure, they have hypertension, and you start them on an antihypertensive medication, and their blood pressure improves, what would happen if you stopped that medication?’

‘Well, their blood pressure would go back up — and we’re not surprised. It’s the same with anti-obesity medications.’ 

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