Woman shares what happened after she stopped taking semaglutide

For Meredith Schorr, a registered nurse working in the medical field during the coronavirus pandemic, it has taken a toll, both mentally and physically.

Shore, 25, told “Good Morning America”: “I'm not thinking about how I'm going to get vegetables and fruit into my diet, but how I'm going to save this person's life.”

After gaining about 50 pounds, Schorr said she tried to lose weight by changing her diet and exercise routine. When that didn't work, Schorr said she sought professional help and saw a nurse practitioner who helped patients lose weight.

Semaglutide is a drug originally approved to treat type 2 diabetes but is now also approved for weight loss.

“My nurse practitioner made it clear to me that this drug shouldn't just be a crutch you rely on to lose weight,” Schorr said. “You should still improve your health and lifestyle habits, such as improving exercise and nutrition while using this drug.”

Mounjaro and Ozempic are approved to treat type 2 diabetes, but some doctors prescribe them “off-label” for weight loss. Wegovy is specifically approved for weight loss in obese or overweight people.

These medicines help people produce insulin and lower the amount of sugar in the blood, which is why they help manage type 2 diabetes. They also work by slowing the movement of food through the stomach and suppressing appetite, which can lead to weight loss.

Schorr said she will receive weekly semaglutide injections starting in February 2022.

While people can take semaglutide under the trade names Ozempic or Wegovy, some people can also get the drug through pharmacies that make their own versions using the ingredients. That's what Schorr said she understood.

Getting semaglutide this way is risky because it can be altered, and in many cases it's not clear where the drug came from.

Shortly after starting semaglutide, Schorr said she experienced side effects such as severe nausea, a common side effect of the drug, along with constipation. But she learned to manage the side effects and started losing weight soon after starting the medication.

“In about two weeks, I've lost a few pounds,” says Shore. “Everyone said, ‘Oh, you already look like you're losing weight in the first few days.'”

VIDEO: Women Share Their Weight Loss and Gain Journeys Using Semaglutide

abc news network

VIDEO: Women Share Their Weight Loss and Gain Journeys Using Semaglutide

Schorr said she lost 50 pounds in 11 months. However, she decided to stop taking the drug in January in order to conceive.

When Schorr stopped taking semaglutide, she said she started noticing she was regaining weight, but called the weight gain a “wake-up call.”

“I didn't realize how hungry I'd be five to six weeks after quitting it,” Schorr says. “I did gain about 10 pounds initially, but it was kind of like a wake-up call, oh yeah, I need to get into healthy habits and all these changes.”

“I just refocused and made sure I was making healthy choices,” she said, describing how she has stayed healthy with semaglutide.

Even though she experienced weight gain, semaglutide has changed her life, Schorr said, and she is sharing her story to help remove some of the stigma attached to the drug.

Medications containing semaglutide have grown in popularity in recent months, in part due to reports of celebrity use.

“I definitely see semaglutide as the way to get me back to living a healthy life,” Schorr said. “I'm in a completely different place.”

What to know about weight gain and semaglutide

Medical experts say it's important to remember that semaglutide is intended to be part of a comprehensive health approach that also includes healthy eating and exercise.

Rebound weight gain after stopping semaglutide is common because the drug no longer works in the body, Dr. Louis Aronne, director of Weill Cornell Medicine's Center for Integrative Weight Management, told “GMA.”

“Obesity is a chronic disease, just like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” Aronne said. “If you don't take the medicine on a regular basis, then the effects will wear off.”

Dr. Darien Sutton, a medical writer for ABC News and a board-certified emergency medicine physician, said providers may consider different options when prescribing semaglutide to help prevent some patients from seeing to weight gain.

“The drug has caused significant weight loss, but when it was stopped, patients reported gaining two-thirds of their body weight,” Sutton said, citing published studies. “We asked the question, do we need to change the dose? Whether Does it need to be tapered off, or do people need to keep taking it indefinitely to reap the benefits?”

In addition, Sutton said, people need to maintain healthy routines, including diet, exercise, daily movement and quality sleep, whether they are taking semaglutide or not.

The success many people have seen with semaglutide is also an important reminder that obesity is a chronic disease, Sutton said.

In the United States, obesity affects nearly 42 percent of the population and is linked to more than $170 billion in medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the more than 37 million Americans with diabetes, roughly 90 percent have type 2 diabetes, an obesity-related disease, according to the CDC.

“It brings a deeper understanding of obesity as a disease rather than a personal or moral failure,” he said. “There are some [people] Despite all of this, it may be difficult to lose weight, and for those, I recommend talking to a provider to review various medications and interventions that may help. “

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