Only one in five patients on blockbuster weight loss drugs keep the pounds off after stopping the medications, a study suggests.

Data from Epic Research looked at nearly 40,000 records from patients who took weight loss drugs containing semaglutide or liraglutide – the active ingredients in Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro, among others. 

Researchers found that up to one year after stopping the drugs, only about 20 percent of patients kept the weight off and nearly one in five regained all of the weight they had lost or more. 

However, one in three patients continued to see weight loss within 12 months of stopping the drugs. 

The findings come as manufacturers like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly face dozens of lawsuits from patients who have suffered stomach paralysis, diarrhea, and suicidal thoughts after taking weight loss drugs.

And the drugs’ manufacturers have come under more fire recently for hiking up their prices by nearly five percent to more than $1,000 for a month’s supply.

Experts at Epic Research evaluated over 20,000 patients taking semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy. They found that after 12 months, one in five gained all of the weight they had lost back

Experts at Epic Research evaluated over 20,000 patients taking semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy. They found that after 12 months, one in five gained all of the weight they had lost back

There were approximately 9million prescriptions for Ozempic written in the beginning of 2022 alone

There were approximately 9million prescriptions for Ozempic written in the beginning of 2022 alone

Ozempic and Wegovy are brand names for the medication semaglutide, which suppresses appetite and triggers weight loss.

The drug binds to the GLP-1 receptor, a protein that triggers hormones in the brain that keep the stomach full and tell the body to stop eating and avoid cravings.

Ozempic is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with type 2 diabetes, though off-label use for weight loss has become increasingly common. 

Liraglutide, which works similarly, is the active ingredient in Mounjaro and Victoza. 

While the drugs are largely similar, some studies suggest semaglutide is more effective for weight loss. 

A study published in JAMA, for example, found participants who took semaglutide had a 16 percent weight change compared to liraglutide participants who saw a 6.4 percent difference. 

However, there’s little long-term data on GLP-1 agonists. And, neither Ozempic nor Victoza are FDA-approved for weight loss.  

Drugmakers have hiked up the prices of more than 770 drugs since the start of the year ¿ including medications used daily by millions of Americans

Drugmakers have hiked up the prices of more than 770 drugs since the start of the year — including medications used daily by millions of Americans

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

The researchers studied 20,274 patients took semaglutide and had successfully at least five pounds while taking it. 

They also looked at 17,733 adults who were given liraglutide and had lost at least five pounds.

All participants had been prescribed one of the medications between 2017 and 2023. They must have taken the drug for at least 90 continuous days and stayed off other GLP-1 agonists for at least a year. 

The study team did not specify if patients were taking the medications for diabetes, weight loss, or another reason. 

In total, 56.2 percent of users remained at the same weight or continued dropping pounds.

However, the researchers found 17.7 percent of patients on semaglutide regained all of the weight they had lost or more.  

Additionally, about 26 percent regained more than a quarter of the weight they had lost. 

And about 20 percent maintained their weight loss. 

In the liraglutide group, 18.7 percent of users experienced complete weight regain or surpassed their original weight, though 21 percent either remained at roughly the same weight.

The findings come as patients taking drugs with semaglutide and liraglutide have reported gaining weight back after stopping the medications.

Artemis Bayandor, a 41-year-old from Illinois, lost 15 pounds during her six-month course of Ozempic in 2021.

But just a month after coming off it she regained all the weight she lost — and over the next few months piled on an additional 20 pounds.

Today, she weighs 246lbs – 16lbs more than the 230lbs she weighed prior to taking Ozempic. 

Ms Bayandor said her appetite had become ‘insatiable’, leading her to snack constantly and take bigger portions at dinner. 

Patients have also previously told DailyMail.com that the blockbuster drugs led to serious issues, such as stomach paralysis, organ failure, and suicidal thoughts. 

The manufacturers have also recently been criticized for hiking prices.

Novo Nordisk, for example, jacked up the price 3.5 percent to almost $970 per month’s supply.

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly increased the cost of Mounjaro 4.5 percent to close to $1,070 a month.

Novo Nordisk has said it believes the allegations in the lawsuits are ‘without merit’ and the company will ‘vigorously defend against these claims.’

And Eli Lilly said ‘patient safety is Lilly’s top priority’ and also added that it will ‘vigorously defend against these claims’. 

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