When it comes to semaglutide, withdrawal symptoms can involve changes related to weight, appetite, blood sugar levels, and cardiovascular health.

When you regularly take a medication that alters processes in your body, stopping that medication can create a state of internal imbalance. This is known as withdrawal.

For semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus, withdrawal symptoms tend to fall under the category of rebound effects.

Understanding how semaglutide works in your body is key to understanding what happens when you stop taking this medication.

Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. GLP-1 receptor agonists imitate your body’s natural hormone GLP-1.

GLP-1 is involved in many different physiological processes. It has protective effects on your cardiovascular system and is involved in several functions of blood sugar (glucose) regulation, including stimulating insulin secretion, inhibiting glucagon, and slowing how quickly nutrients are absorbed into the body.

GLP-1 also affects neurological pathways in your brain, reducing appetite and promoting feelings of satiety (fullness).

By taking semaglutide, you’re supplementing your body’s natural GLP-1 with a GLP-1 receptor agonist, enhancing your body’s natural processes.

When you stop taking semaglutide, you’re no longer providing your body with the medication that’s been boosting your natural GLP-1’s effects. This can result in a resurgence of your original symptoms, also known as a rebound effect.

Possible withdrawal symptoms from semaglutide can occur as a result of decreased GLP-1 activity.

When you stop taking semaglutide, you may experience:

  • increased appetite
  • decreased satiety
  • elevated blood sugar levels
  • weight gain
  • cardiovascular changes, like elevated blood pressure

According to results from the 2022 STEP 1 clinical trial for the use of semaglutide in weight loss, after 1 year of semaglutide withdrawal, participants regained two-thirds of their initial weight loss. Many also experienced an increase in blood pressure (though some cardiovascular benefits remained) as well as a return to their previously elevated blood sugar levels.

As your body returns to your natural GLP-1 levels, rebound symptoms can come with their own secondary effects. For example, elevated blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, can cause:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • shortness of breath
  • sweet-smelling breath

Symptoms associated with adverse cardiovascular effects can include:

  • headaches
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • difficulty breathing
  • nausea and vomiting
  • nosebleeds
  • abnormal heartbeat
  • vision changes
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • buzzing in the ears

Discussing any new symptoms with your doctor after stopping semaglutide can help ensure your withdrawal process is as safe as possible.

At its typical dose, semaglutide has a half-life of 7 days and is administered once weekly for 4–5 weeks to achieve steady state, or consistent levels in the body. After stopping semaglutide, it can take that same amount of time for it to be fully eliminated from your system.

It’s not always possible to eliminate withdrawal symptoms when stopping a medication, but several factors can help.


Semaglutide is intended to be a long-term medication, but if you need to stop, your doctor may taper your dose to help your body gradually adjust to less GLP-1 support.

Stopping under professional guidance

If you’re using the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved semaglutide weight loss formulation, Wegovy, it can be tempting to stop taking it without consulting your doctor once you’ve lost weight. Stopping completely, or trying to self-taper your dosage, could result in worse withdrawal symptoms or side effects.

Having a plan in place

When you know you’re going to stop semaglutide, creating a plan with your doctor to compensate for possible rebound effects can help. Setting dietary goals, for example, or adding protein to help you feel fuller at mealtime, may help combat the natural effects of coming off semaglutide.

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus. As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, it works in your body to support natural GLP-1 hormone functions.

When you stop taking semaglutide, your body will go through a process of re-regulation which may cause rebound effects and other symptoms of withdrawal.

Tapering medication slowly and working closely with your doctor as you stop semaglutide can help reduce the severity of semaglutide withdrawal symptoms.