29.05.2024

Experts warn ‘Wegovy withdrawals’ cause major blood sugar spikes that lead to hospitalization

Longtime users of Wegovy who stop using the drug will sometimes suffer major blood sugar spikes that leave them hospitalized, experts warn. Both Wegovy and its sister drug Ozempic use the active ingredient semaglutide. The drug works by greatly increasing insulin secretion.

When a person stops taking it, their insulin production returns to how it was.

It comes as increased attention is being placed on the drug, particularly regarding how a person becomes dependent on it. Reality star said in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com that as a former drug addict, she would never take Ozempic.

Fat-melting semaglutide injections like Wegovy and Ozempic have been heralded as ushering in a new era in the war on obesity. Now experts have discovered the drugs may have other benefits — namely restoring the body’s ability to defend itself from cancer

Fat-melting semaglutide injections like Wegovy and Ozempic have been heralded as ushering in a new era in the war on obesity. Now experts have discovered the drugs may have other benefits - namely restoring the body's ability to defend itself from cancer

Not interested: Mama June Shannon revealed she won’t be using fat-loss injections like Ozempic and Wegovy to lose weight

Mama June, speaking to DailyMail.com about whether she would like to shed pounds again with the popular ‘quick-fix’ taking Hollywood by storm, stated: ‘I don’t want to try Ozempic because, honestly, I’ve heard about so many bad side effects.

‘It is using a drug that isn’t really prescribed to do that. They’re using a diabetic drug to take care of weight loss.’

Neither Wegovy or Ozempic are considered addictive in a traditional sense because they do not give a euphoric high and you do not begin to crave the drug when you don’t have it.

However, users can become dependent on the medication as you regain the weight after stopping it and your appetite is no longer suppressed.

There have also been anecdotal reports of people suffering severe spikes in blood sugar after using it.

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, mimics glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) — a hormone in the brain that prompts the body to produce more insulin and reduce blood sugar levels, regulating appetite.

When a patient stops taking it, their blood sugar levels can spike because the body is no longer producing the extra insulin to calm it.

Dr Shauna Levy told DailyMail.com: ‘When someone stops treatment for a disease, the disease symptoms will be experienced again.

‘In this circumstance, the patient is stopping treatment for their diabetes with the drugs Ozempic and Wegovy and then thus experiencing blood sugar spikes because of the untreated disease.

‘Ozempic and Wegovy are really good at treating diabetes, but they don’t cure diabetes.’

Dr Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, told The New York Times: ‘Like any medication, when you stop taking it, it stops working.’

When people no longer take semaglutide, their blood glucose levels can skyrocket, he said.

Those with diabetes may suffer blurry vision, tiredness and excessive thirst and urination — symptoms which may have originally caused them to be diagnosed with diabetes.

They are also at higher risk of yeast and other fungal infections, which are associated with raised blood sugar.

Surges in blood sugar may even cause people to end up in the emergency room, Dr Gabbay said.

Dr Janice Jin Hwang, chief of the division of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said users would likely feel the  withdrawal symptoms of stopping Ozempic or Wegovy after around a week.

A UK study found that people who used Wegovy experienced rapid weight loss, dropping 18% of their weight over 68 weeks. They regained two-thirds of that weight, or 12% of their original body weight in the year after dropping the weekly injections. Experts says the drug needs to be used over a lifetime to keep off the pounds

She said doctors often try to give alternative therapies to manage blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, such as metformin or insulin.

But switching between medications can be disorientating for both patients and physicians.

Art teacher Terri Parris Ford, 57, was prescribed Ozempic in 2021 by her doctor for her pre-diabetes.

She experienced the desired drop in her blood sugar and also lost 20 pounds in six months.

But she felt incredibly nauseous on the medication, and would dry heave on days she had to inject herself with it.

Eventually, she decided with her doctor that she would stop taking it.

Within two months, she had gained all of the weight back, and her appetite had come back in full force.

Her doctor had to prescribe her extra medication to control her blood sugar, and she had to go back on Ozempic again to try and get rid of the weight.

She told The New York Times: ‘I was insatiable. I was like, «Oh, my God, what’s going on? I’m hungry all the time.» It shocked me how fast it happened.’

Patients piled on two-thirds of the weight they had lost on the drugs, just months after stopping them, and most would need to keep taking the injections forever to keep their results, a study found.

Dr Christopher McGowan, a North Carolina-based weight loss expert, told DailyMail.com that using the drug for weight loss is a lifelong ‘commitment.’

Others say that makes it a golden ticket for massive pharmaceutical companies looking to cash it on America’s obesity crisis.

A study by the University of Liverpool, in the UK, published in April found patients who used the weight loss ‘game changer’ drug dropped 18 percent of their body weight after using it for 68 weeks.

But, after dropping the weekly injections, users would put back on two-thirds of the weight within the next year.

The study, published earlier this year in the journal Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism, followed 336 participants over two years.

Of that group, 232 received weekly semaglutide injections — the base drug in both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The other 104 people who were part of the placebo group only lost around two percent of their weight over the 68-week period.

While the first half of the study shows the remarkable effectiveness of Wegovy, the latter stage worryingly showed that keeping the weight off could be a challenge.

Participants who were on Wegovy ditched the drug for the next year and continued life with just diet and exercise.

After 52 weeks, their weight was only six percent lower than where they had started.

Not all users know that weight loss is not permanent, though.

Two women DailyMail.com spoke to that use the drug, Mandy Sasser Fitez and Ana McKenna, both said they had seen success with the drug but planned to drop it when they reach their target weight.

The slimming jabs in recent years as many doctors see them as a magic bullet to fight America’s obesity crisis.

Their popularity, combined with manufacturing issues, led to month-long shortages of both Novo’s Wegovy and its sister drug Ozempic at the start of the year.

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