Some people choose to discontinue the medications they use for weight loss during the holidays. Is it safe?

For many people, the holiday season is a time for holiday feasts, from dinners to cocktail parties and special desserts.

Amid all the celebration, some people, like Julie Kelly, 41, of North Carolina, are choosing to hold off on the drugs she takes to help with weight loss, such as Ozempic, Vegovi and Monzaro.

Kelly, who has lost 38 pounds by taking semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Vegovy, told “Good Morning America” ​​that she skipped her doses of semaglutide during the Thanksgiving holiday, and is doing the same around Christmas. . She said the break makes her less likely to feel full when eating and she gets less questions from friends and family about what she is and isn’t eating.

Kelly said of her experience on Thanksgiving, “What I noticed was that I was still able to eat the things I really wanted, to have a little bit of fun.” “I just had to be conscious of how I’m feeling, what I’m eating, how fast I’m eating it.”

In the past year, the use of weight loss drugs has skyrocketed in popularity.

Ozempic and Monjaro are both approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat type 2 diabetes, but few doctors prescribe the drug “off-label” for weight loss, as permitted by the FDA.

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

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Wegovi is FDA-approved for weight loss.

Ozempic, Vegovy, and Monjaro require a prescription and are not sold over the counter.

In November, the FDA approved another drug, called Zepbound, as a weight loss management treatment for people who are obese, or who are overweight with at least one related underlying condition, such as high blood pressure. As a diabetes medication, it is sold under the brand name Monjaro, as both medications contain the same active ingredient, tirazeptide.

Photo: Eli Lilly & Co. Monzaro brand tirazepateide drug dispensed at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on Nov. 27, 2023.

The Eli Lilly & Co. Monzaro brand tirazepateide drug was administered at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah on November 27, 2023.

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Clinical studies show that users of the drugs can lose 5% to 20% of their body weight over time due to the drugs.

Kelly Swenson, 39, of New Jersey said she lost 90 pounds on Monjaro. During the holiday season, she said she was also choosing to cut back on medication, but for financial reasons.

Swenson said her prescription is not covered by insurance, so she paid a total of more than $1,000 out of pocket for four single-use doses. During the holidays, Swenson said she’s pushing out her doses from a normal week so she can use the money for other expenses, including Christmas gifts.

“If I could stretch it out to 10 days instead of every week, that would help me keep going, you know, keep the expenses down a little bit,” Swenson told “GMA.” She said that by increasing her dosage, she could save some. A hundred extra dollars.”

On the other hand, when Oprah Winfrey revealed earlier this month that she’s using a drug to help her lose weight, she said she used it strategically before Thanksgiving to help her eat less. Had taken medicine from.

“I knew I was going to get two solid weeks of eating, and instead of gaining eight pounds like I did last year, my weight went up by half a pound,” she told People magazine. “It quiets the noise of food.”

Ozempic, Vegovy, and Monzaro are all injectable medications that are typically prescribed to be taken once per week.

Side effects of the medications may include severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Dr. Veronica Johnson, an obesity medicine expert at Northwestern Medicine, told “GMA” that although there are no known long-term side effects of stopping and restarting the medications, doing so may increase side effects such as increased appetite and nausea. Also weight gain.

“If a patient skips their medication for one to two weeks, some of their side effects are likely to increase,” said Johnson, who has not treated Winfrey, Swenson or Kelly. “They may not notice these improvements in their hunger and appetite, and so they will inevitably eat more and that may contribute to some weight gain.”

It is advisable to consult a physician before stopping weight loss medications to reduce the risk of side effects.

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