Some people choose to stop their weight loss medications during the holidays. Is it safe?

For many people, the holiday season is a time of festivities, from dinner parties to cocktail parties to special desserts.

Amidst all the partying, some people, like 41-year-old Julie Kelly from North Carolina, decide to stop taking drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro.

Kelly, who has lost 38 pounds by taking semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, told “Good Morning America” ​​that she skipped her dose of semaglutide over Thanksgiving and will do the same at Christmas. She said the break makes her feel less uncomfortably full at mealtimes and brings fewer questions from friends and family about what she does and doesn’t eat.

“I found that I could still eat the things I really wanted to indulge a little,” Kelly said of her Thanksgiving experience. “I just had to be really aware of how I was feeling, what I was eating, how fast I was eating it.”

During the past year, the use of drugs that cause weight loss has skyrocketed.

Both Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but some doctors prescribe the medication “off-label” for weight loss, as permitted by the FDA.

A pharmacist holds Novo Nordisk A/S Ozempic brand semaglutide medication in his hand, arranged at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah on November 27, 2023.

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Wegovy is FDA approved for weight loss.

Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro require a prescription and are not available over the counter.

In November, the FDA approved another drug, known as Zepbound, to manage weight loss in obese or overweight people with at least one underlying medical condition, such as high blood pressure. As a diabetes drug, it is sold under the brand name Mounjaro, because the two drugs contain the same active ingredient, tircepatide.

PHOTO: Eli Lilly & Co.  Mounjaro brand tircepatide medication arranged at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah on 11/27/2023.

Eli Lilly & Co. A Mounjaro brand tircepatid medication was administered at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah on 11/27/2023.

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Clinical studies show that drug users can lose 5 to 20 percent of their weight over time.

Caley Svensson, 39 years old from New Jersey, said she lost 90 kilos at Mounjaro. During the holiday season, he also said he decided to reduce his medication, but for financial reasons.

Svensson said insurance won’t cover her prescription, so she’s paying a total of more than $1,000 for the four single doses. Svensson said that during the holidays, he stretches his rations beyond the usual week so that he can use the money for other expenses, such as Christmas presents.

“If I can stretch it out to 10 days instead of every week, that helps me reduce costs a little bit,” Svensson told GMA, adding that by stretching out her doses, she can save a few “hundreds of extra dollars.”

On the other hand, when Oprah Winfrey revealed earlier this month that she uses the medication to help her maintain her weight loss, she said she strategically took the medication before Thanksgiving to help her eat less.

“I knew I had two solid weeks of eating, and instead of gaining eight pounds like I did last year, I gained half a pound,” she told People magazine. “It muffles the noise of the food.”

Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro are all injectable medications that are usually prescribed to be taken once a week.

Side effects of the drugs can include severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation

Dr. Veronica Johnson, an obesity medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine, told “GMA” that while stopping and restarting medications has no known long-term side effects, it can lead to increased side effects such as increased appetite and nausea. as well as weight gain.

“If a patient misses their medication for one to two weeks, they have the potential for some increased side effects,” said Johnson, who does not treat Winfrey, Svensson or Kelly. “They may not see these improvements in their hunger and appetite, so they inevitably eat more, which can contribute to weight gain.”

It is recommended to talk to your doctor before stopping any weight loss medication to minimize the risk of side effects.

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