Using a weight loss drug? Here's what you need to know.


Staying consistent with the drugs can help you maintain your weight loss

Americans across the country have turned to popular diabetes drugs to help combat obesity. Now, a new study looked at what happens to people’s weight loss progress when they stop taking the drug versus when they carry on with it. 

Researchers looked at Zepbound, the popular weight loss drug from Eli Lilly that has the same makeup as Mounjaro, to see the long-term effects of either staying on the drug or weaning off of it. 

According to their findings, consumers are likely to gain back a great deal of the weight they lost if they stop the drug. However, staying on the drug was associated with maintained weight loss. 

Maintaining weight loss

The researchers enrolled nearly 700 participants taking Zepbound for overweight or obesity involved in the study. All of the participants were taking the drug for weight loss for nine months, and at that point, they were divided into two groups for the next year – continue taking Zepbound, or transition to a placebo drug.

Prior to the second half of the study, all of the participants had lost an average of 20% of their body weight. The researchers then observed how either stopping or continuing the drug affected those results. 

Ultimately, stopping Zepbound was associated with gaining weight back. On the other hand, participants who continued taking the drug had maintained their weight loss. 

The study showed that nearly 90% of participants who took Zepbound for an additional year kept off at least 80% of the weight they had lost. Conversely, less than 17% of those who were switched to the placebo were able to do the same. 

When it came to weight loss and weight gain, those who stayed on Zepbound were able to lose nearly 7% more weight. Those who had been taken off the weight loss drug experienced nearly 15% weight gain in that same time. 

“The trial results emphasize the need to continue pharmacotherapy to prevent weight gain and ensure the maintenance of weight reduction and its associated cardiometabolic benefits,” the researchers wrote. “At least five trials (including the present study) across various classes of medications, including potent anti-obesity medications such as semaglutide, have demonstrated that weight is substantially regained after cessation of pharmacotherapy.” 

More than just weight gain

While participants were able to maintain about half of their weight loss by the end of the study, the researchers also found some other health risks associated with stopping the weight loss drug. 

The study found that any other health benefits participants received from the drug – like improved blood pressure or cholesterol – had reverted back to pre-drug levels when participants stopped taking them. The researchers hope to do more work to better understand the short-term benefits of the drug. 

Quick and easy. Get matched with a Pet Insurance partner.