Celebrating the winter holidays for many means buying gifts, making travel arrangements and planning heavy menus for meals with loved ones.
However, this year, those preparations may include skipping medications that are popularly used to facilitate weight loss.
Reasons ranging from wanting to eat more holiday food without post-meal discomfort to wanting to save money have prompted some to look to stop pre-holiday doses, according to Good Morning America and other media reports.
However, individuals who are considering skipping their weight loss medications need to be careful when resuming them afterward, an expert told FOX Business.
Common types of drugs used for weight loss include Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro.
The latter contains tirzepatide, while the other two are semaglutide.
Endobariatric physician and True You Weight Loss Associate Research Director Dr. Dan Maselli told FOX Business that such reasons are “completely understandable.”
Some of his patients want to interrupt their dosing schedule to avoid receiving stigma-driven judgment from loved ones who don’t know they’re taking such a drug, he added.
Individuals are not “going to harm themselves in the immediate future by stopping the medication” they are using for weight loss, Maselli said.
While skipping can lead to feelings of hunger, drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro do not cause a withdrawal phenomenon, he said.
It’s the continuation of the drug where people need to be careful, according to Maselli.
“These drugs are really meant to be taken long-term and continuously, and one of the issues that can arise if we miss a dose, or really if we miss two to three doses, is that our body can lose how good it is. even with those drugs, especially with the gastrointestinal side effects of those drugs,” Maselli said.
“It may be unwise and, in extreme circumstances, unsafe to start the medication back at the dose you were at.”
When using Ozempic, Mounjaro and other similar drugs for weight loss, doctors and patients need to start with a low dose and slowly increase it over time, he explained.
That process can take up to 20 weeks.
“So if you’re at that highest dose or even higher like the first two doses of this drug and you stop this drug for two or three weeks, and then you try to start the same dose again, you can make yourself really uncomfortable,” he said.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, cramping and heartburn are among the symptoms that a person may experience.
Maselli said people who miss or skip doses should contact their prescribing doctor instead of starting over, as their doctor may need to lower their dose.
In some cases, they may have to start from square one, depending on how long it takes.
People who decide to temporarily stop taking drugs during the holidays come after more and more people look to Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro for weight loss help.
Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy, has seen quite a rise amid the phenomenon, with its stock price climbing nearly 51% since the start of 2023.
Shares of the company behind Mounjaro, Eli Lilly, rose more than 56%.
The S&P 500, meanwhile, has posted a nearly 25% gain this year.
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