Do people regain all the weight lost on GLP1?

Do people regain all the weight lost on GLP1?
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Many opponents of GLP1 Receptor Agonist drugs (ex. Semaglutide, and Tirzepatide with brand names like Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, etc) caution that as the drugs must be taken continuously, people experience rapid weight gain after getting off the drugs – all the way up to their starting weight.

Don't know what a "GLP1 Receptor Agonist" is? Check out our quick explainer

Some popular articles and research in popular media on the topic:

Ozempic Rebound: Most People Regain Weight After Stopping Semaglutide
Most people who take semaglutide drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy to lose weight quickly regain it when they stop the medication.

What does the research say?

open book lot
Photo by Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash

Unfortunately research (trials and studies) is somewhat sparse on this subject, given that many of the trials (often funded at least in part by companies that produce the drugs) are focused on efficacy – i.e. proving if the drug works, not what happens after people stop using it.

Research into weight regain concerns

There studies into weight regain, often extensions of previous studies, can be relied upon:

  • STEP1 Trial extension
    • This trial on Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybselsus) found that after taking the drug for 68 weeks and losing 17.3% body weight on average, after stopping 11.6% of the weight was gained back
    • This means lasting weight loss (at least until the trial ended) of roughly 5.7%
    • Additionally, by week 120 it seems that cardiometabolic improvements also went back to baseline.
  • SURMOUNT-4 Trial
    • This trial on Tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound) found that after taking the drug for 36 weeks and losing 20.9% body weight on average, after stopping 14% of the weight was gained back.
    • This means lasting weight loss (at least until the trial ended) of roughly 6%.

Research that minimizes weight regain concerns

Some recently acquired real-world data suggests that people do not gain all their weight back:

Real World Data Say Not Everyone Regains All Their Weight - ConscienHealth
Everyone regains weight after stopping a GLP-1 medicine? A new analysis of electronic medical records tells a different story.

The actual study in question was published in Epic Research and has some stunning numbers and a wide range of coverage:

Many Patients Maintain Weight Loss a Year After Stopping Semaglutide and Liraglutide
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Semaglutide is covered directly:

Weight regain on Semaglutide

And for Liraglutide (Victoza/Saxenda):

Weight regain on Liraglutide

What they found was that most people maintained their weight loss, with roughly 17% going back to their original weight or even higher:

We studied 20,274 patients who were prescribed semaglutide and successfully lost at least five pounds while on the medication. We aimed to assess their weight change one year after discontinuation. We found that 17.7% of these patients regained all the weight they had lost or even exceeded their initial weight. However, a majority (56.2%) of patients either remained around the same weight they were at when stopping the medication or continued to lose additional weight. 

So what's the takeaway?

Given that current research points to the fact that weight loss can be maintained (though often not as much as while taking the drugs), it's clear that the risk of regain or "rebounding" is one that is likely worth taking.

It's always best to consult your doctor or a relevant medical professional before starting any treatment.

However, if you were worried about "rebounding" or regaining weight lost after stopping taking GLP1 Receptor Agonist drugs, hopefully you are a little more reassured – the current research does not show this risk to be outsized.

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