Semaglutide suppresses appetite and promotes satiety, leading to weight loss. Most people regain some of the weight they lost after stopping the drug. Physical activity and a customized diet may help you keep some weight off.

Woman keeping the weight off after stopping Ozempic, Wegovy by walking on the streetShare on Pinterest
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Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus. Currently, only Wegovy is approved for weight loss in the United States. Semaglutide is also used to manage type 2 diabetes.

Regardless of the health goal or semaglutide brand, this medication leads to weight loss. Once you stop taking it, you are likely to gain the weight back, or at least a percentage of it.

You may be able to keep some or all of the weight off if you add weight management strategies to your semaglutide treatment, particularly if you keep them up after stopping the drug.

Semaglutide use and weight loss

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Depending on the brand, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved semaglutide for treating type 2 diabetes, managing obesity and overweight, preventing cardiovascular disease, or all of these.

As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, semaglutide balances blood sugar (glucose) levels, suppresses your appetite, and promotes a feeling of satiety (fullness) by slowing the emptying of your stomach contents.

Semaglutide brand names are:

  • Wegovy: FDA-approved for weight loss, type 2 diabetes, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Ozempic: FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes only.
  • Rybelsus: FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes only.

Healthcare professionals often prescribe Ozempic and Rybelsus for off-label use in weight loss management. Off-label means, given its demonstrated effectiveness, a drug is used for purposes other than those it’s been approved for.

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Read about the recommended foods to eat when taking semaglutide.

It is possible to keep weight off after using semaglutide, but long-term success requires other weight management strategies.

Even with healthy lifestyle interventions, many people still experience weight gain after stopping semaglutide. It’s an experience commonly referred to as “Ozempic rebound,” although it happens with all brands of semaglutide.

“The research is clear that it is very difficult for most people to keep the weight off after stopping Wegovy,” says Dr. Lauren Lemieux, an internist and obesity medicine specialist in Boston. “This is despite trying to stick with the healthy eating and regular physical activity that was helping them lose weight in the first place.”

Lemieux says weight gain after semaglutide use doesn’t mean you did something wrong or lack willpower. It’s the natural consequence of increased appetite and reduced feelings of fullness once the medication has left your system.

If you’re concerned about gaining weight after stopping semaglutide, the following tips may help:

Keep up your exercise routine

Although weight gain after stopping semaglutide is common, keeping up with physical activity may help minimize how much weight (if any) you regain.

A post-treatment analysis from 2024, for example, found that keeping up with exercise after stopping GLP-1 receptor agonists was associated with less weight regain.

“I always encourage my patients at FORM to build physical activity into their routines from the very beginning,” Lemieux says. “Our long-term goal is to work up to at least 250 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity physical activity, which has been shown to be helpful for weight loss maintenance.”

Read about 8 effective exercises for weight loss.

Mimick fullness through food choices

Semaglutide slows gastric emptying, an effect also known as gastroparesis. It creates the sensation of being full.

Once you stop semaglutide, Lemieux says you can mimic this sensation by adding protein to meals.

Lemieux explains that meals containing protein may slow digestion. She also recommends eating “lots of produce, which takes up more space in the stomach but with fewer calories than other foods due to the extra water and fiber content.”

Here are 16 foods for healthy weight loss.

Continue with professional guidance

Working with a team of professionals, such as an obesity specialist, personal trainer, and registered dietitian, may help you keep forward momentum for long-term weight management.

Read about how to talk with a doctor about losing weight.

Semaglutide has been used for weight loss in clinical trials for up to 104 weeks or 2 years.

Wegovy is intended for long-term use in managing type 2 diabetes. The actual duration of semaglutide treatment for obesity may vary depending on individual goals and needs, underlying health conditions, and side effects.

The prescribing doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan that can be reassessed and adjusted as needed.

Read about the possible withdrawal symptoms of semaglutide.

You could start semaglutide again if you stop its use and regain weight after your initial treatment. However, the drug is not a short-term weight loss option to be used multiple times or to lose a few pounds every so often.

“Wegovy is intended for long-term use for weight loss and weight loss maintenance,” Lemieux explains. “Therefore, it should not be started with the intention to stop and then restart if the weight comes back on. Be wary of working with any provider who promises that it can be used short-term and have permanent results.”

She suggests approaching Wegovy use as you would any other medication for a chronic condition.

“Obesity is a chronic disease, and when using medications for treatment, they are intended for long-term use just as with other chronic diseases,” she says. “If you think about high blood pressure, for example, we don’t stop medications once the blood pressure is well controlled.”

If you gain weight back quickly after stopping semaglutide, Lemieux recommends taking a close look at everything that’s changed since discontinuing the medication.

“Have they moved away from the behaviors that were helping them lose weight in the first place, like tracking foods?” she proposes.

You may not realize just how much your lifestyle has changed after stopping semaglutide. To help you identify patterns that might contribute to rapid weight gain, consider keeping up with daily food tracking and an activity journal, as well as speaking with a doctor to rule out underlying causes of weight gain.

While a doctor may place you back on semaglutide, Lemieux adds that not everyone responds to Wegovy. Other weight loss medications may be a better fit.

Many people notice they regain weight after stopping semaglutide, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to keep the weight off.

Staying proactive about other weight management strategies and continuing to work with a team of weight loss professionals can help minimize weight regain after stopping semaglutide.