Woman shares what happened after she stopped taking semaglutide

For Meredith Schorr, being a registered nurse working in the medical field during the coronavirus pandemic took its toll both mentally and physically.

“I wasn’t thinking about how I’m going to integrate fruits and vegetables into my diet, but how I’m going to save this person’s life,” the 25-year-old Schorr told “Good Morning America.”

After gaining about 50 pounds, Schorr said she tried modifying her diet and exercise routine to lose weight. When that didn’t work, Schorr said she sought professional help and saw a nurse specialist who helps patients lose weight.

Schorr said the nurse recommended she try semaglutide – the active ingredient in drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy.

Semaglutide is a drug that was originally approved for type 2 diabetes, but can now also be prescribed for weight loss.

“My nurse specialist made it clear to me that this drug shouldn’t just be a crutch that you rely on for weight loss,” Schorr said. “You should still improve your health and lifestyle habits, such as improving exercise and your diet while taking 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.

The drugs help people produce insulin and lower the amount of sugar in the blood, which is why they help control type 2 diabetes. They also work by slowing down the movement of food through the stomach and curbing appetite, causing weight loss.

Schorr said she started taking a weekly injection of semaglutide in February 2022.

While people can use semaglutide under the brand name Ozempic or Wegovy, some people also access the drug through pharmacies that make their own version using the raw ingredients. That’s how Schorr says she got it.

There are risks in getting semaglutide by that route because it can be changed and in many cases it’s not clear where the drugs are coming from.

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

“Within about two weeks I had already lost a few pounds,” Schorr said. “Everyone was like, ‘Oh, you already look like you’ve been losing weight in the first few days.'”

VIDEO: Woman Shares Journey Of Weight Loss And Gain After Taking Semaglutide

Schorr said she lost 50 pounds over the course of 11 months. However, she decided to stop taking the medication in January in preparation for her attempt to conceive.

The class of medications containing semaglutide is not recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. The Food and Drug Administration says in its safety profiles of drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy that they should not be taken during pregnancy, noting that “insufficient data” are available.

MORE: What to know about ‘Ozempic face’ as some users claim popular diabetes drugs used for weight loss make them look skinny

When Schorr stopped taking semaglutide, she said she started to notice she was gaining weight again, but she called the weight gain a “wake-up call.”

“I didn’t realize how hungry I was going to get five to six weeks off,” Schorr said. “I gained about 10 pounds initially, but it sort of gave me a wake-up call of, oh yeah, I need to do my healthy lifestyle and all those changes.”

“I just kind of focused and made sure I made healthy choices,” she said, describing how she’s maintained her health after semaglutide.

Schorr said semaglutide, even with the weight gain she experienced, was life-changing for her and she’s sharing her story to help remove some of the stigma associated with the medication.

In recent months, semaglutide-containing drugs have grown in popularity, in part due to reported celebrity use.

“I definitely see semaglutide as the way I got my life back to a healthy start,” Schorr said. “I’m in a completely different place.”

What you need 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 approach to wellness that also includes a healthy diet and exercise.

Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, told “GMA” that rebound weight gain may be normal after stopping semaglutide because the drug no longer works in the body.

“Obesity is a chronic disease, just like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” Aronne said. “If you don’t use the drug regularly, the effect will disappear.”

MORE: As Ozempic’s popularity rises, WW jumps into the obesity drug market

Dr. Darien Sutton, an ABC News medical associate and board-certified emergency medicine physician, said providers may look at several options when prescribing semaglutide to help prevent the weight gain some patients see.

“This drug has led to significant amounts of weight loss, but when it stops, patients have reported gaining up to two-thirds of that weight,” Sutton said, citing published research. “We’re asking the question, should we change the dose? Should it be tapered off or should people stay on it indefinitely to get that benefit?”

In addition, Sutton said that people, both on and off semaglutide, should maintain a healthy wellness routine, including diet, exercise, daily exercise and proper sleep.

Sutton said the success many people have seen using semaglutide is also an important reminder that obesity is a chronic medical condition.

In the United States, obesity is a condition that affects as many as 42% of the population and is associated with more than $170 billion in medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, about 90% of the more than 37 million Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, a condition associated with obesity.

“It gives a better understanding of obesity as a condition rather than an individual or moral failure,” he said. “There are a few [people] that, despite all of this, it can be difficult to lose weight, and for them, I recommend talking to a healthcare provider to review the variety of medications and interventions that can help.

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