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What Happens When You Stop Taking Mounjaro?

There has been a lot of media attention lately on the variety of weight loss medications available to folks now. Obesity is a big problem, and approximately 39.6% of Americans are obese, while another 31.6% are overweight. Obesity is a chronic condition that can increase your chances of developing other problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and can make it more likely that you can suffer a stroke or a heart attack. 

The tried and true way to lose weight, eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise, just isn’t enough to drop those stubborn pounds sometimes. This is why weight loss medication has proven to be so popular, because it can help your body lose weight and decrease your chances of developing a debilitating condition.

If you’ve heard of drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro, chances are you’ve wondered what happens if you have to stop taking them? Glad you asked because today we’re discussing:

  • Who is a good candidate for Mounjaro
  • Whether you can stop taking Mounjaro cold turkey
  • How to keep your body nourished when you are taking Mounjaro

Who can take Mounjaro (and why would you?)

Let’s learn a little more about what Mounjaro is and who it’s for

Mounjaro is a convenient way for diabetics to manage their blood sugar levels. Image courtesy of People.

Mounjaro was approved by the FDA in 2022 to treat those dealing with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetics cannot utilize insulin in a way that benefits their bodies, and often end up with high blood sugar. This can have a detrimental impact on how their body processes food, which can also lead them to gain weight. Mounjaro is the brand name for a dual-receptor drug, tirzepatide, which targets the GLP-1 and GIP hormones that control insulin production. The drug mimics these hormones so after you eat a meal, they work to properly secrete insulin so the body can use and store glucose (sugar). 

Doctors noticed that when diabetic patients were put on this drug, they tended also to lose extra weight as a side effect. This led the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, to create another tirzepatide medication that would specifically target obesity. Zepbound was approved by the FDA in November 2023 to treat obesity. This means that those with a BMI of 30 or greater, or with a BMI of 27 along with an obesity-related condition, can take tirzepatide to help them lose weight. You will need a doctor’s prescription to take this medication, and insurance may/may not cover the cost of the drug. 

Benefits of Mounjaro

There are a variety of benefits that go along with taking Mounjaro/Zepbound including:

  • Blood sugar management. Mounjaro is approved for diabetics looking for better blood sugar management. When your body can properly manage the production of insulin, it not only makes life a lot easier (no needles and insulin injections) but it also helps you avoid high blood sugar levels, which can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney damage.
  • Weight loss. One of the major benefits of taking a tirzepatide like Mounjaro is that it helps you lose weight, as well as manage your blood sugar. It mimics the hormones that control insulin, which helps your body absorb the nutrients you eat. When your body can better use these nutrients, you may find that your appetite isn’t what it used to be, causing you to eat less. This drug not only suppresses appetite, which leads to less calories overall, but it also slows down the process of digestion.
  • Easy to use. Mounjaro is a once per week injection, so you don’t have to worry about using needles daily. It doesn’t matter what day you take your dose, just as long as you’re consistent.
  • Mild side effects. Side effects like nausea, indigestion, diarrhea/constipation, and abdominal pain can happen, but they tend to be mild and lessen the longer you’re taking Mounjaro. You will start out on a low dose, and gradually your doctor will increase it until you’re at your optimal dose. This slow increase is designed to allow your body to adjust to the medication and decrease the chances of side effects.

What happens when you stop taking Mounjaro?

What if you need to quit this weight loss medication?

There may be a circumstance that requires you to stop taking Mounjaro. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

We’ve emphasized that it’s crucial to take the dosage of Mounjaro your doctor recommends on a consistent basis in order to see the best results. Those patients who also incorporate lifestyle changes like eating a balanced diet, getting the recommended amount of sleep, and engaging in an exercise routine are all important in order to ensure you can properly manage your blood sugar levels and lose weight. 

But sometimes circumstances arise and you may need to stop taking your Mounjaro medication. Whether you’re dealing with adverse side effects, or you can’t afford the medication anymore, there are reasons why you may need to stop taking Mounjaro. So what are some of the repercussions to this?

  • Your blood sugar can increase. Since Mounjaro is prescribed for diabetics who need better control over their blood sugar, if you stop taking it you could see your blood sugar levels return to where they were before you began. This could lead to issues with high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) again. Because of this, you may need to return to whatever way you managed your diabetes before Mounjaro. Of course you’ll need to discuss going off Mounjaro and the best way to manage your diabetes going forward with your doctor since you don’t want to be at an increased risk of high blood sugar.
  • You can gain weight. There’s a chance that the weight you lost while on Mounjaro (or Zepbound) will return once you’re off the medication.  When you’re taking Mounjaro, it signals to your brain that you’re full, and limits your appetite. When this mechanism is gone, you may find that you need to eat more in order to feel full, which means more calories and the chance to gain back weight.
  • You may notice an increase in appetite. Mounjaro mimics the hormones that control appetite, so you could find that you’re hungry more often. It also slows down the digestive process, so it takes longer for the food you eat to leave your stomach, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Stopping this medication would return you to how your body regulated your appetite pre-Mounjaro.
  • There could be side effects. Although there are mild side effects that can occur while you’re taking Mounjaro, going off of it may cause some too. Your body will need time to adapt to no longer having the medication in your system, which could lead to issues like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These side effects will fade with time.

Can you stop Mounjaro cold turkey?

It’s important to speak with your doctor before stopping Mounjaro cold turkey, and you should be prepared to experience some of the side effects such as increased appetite, weight gain, and digestive issues.

Are there withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Mounjaro?

You can expect to experience digestive issues as your body learns to adapt to the absence of the medication in your system. These side effects can be annoying (nausea, vomiting, etc.) but they will eventually fade as time goes on.

Do you have to stay on Mounjaro forever?

As long as you require blood sugar level management, you may need to stay on Mounjaro. You’ll need to continually evaluate this with your doctor.

How to keep your body nourished while on Mounjaro

Make sure your body has the fuel it needs while you’re taking this medication

Including protein in your day is a great way to build muscle mass. Image courtesy of Diet Direct

If you’re taking a tirzepatide like Mounjaro or Zepbound and losing weight, it’s important to make sure you’re also nourishing your body with protein, whole grains, vitamins, minerals, good fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Rapid weight loss can result in a decrease in muscle mass, which can lead to lessened bone density, a lower resting heart rate, and sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass, strength, and function). This is why it’s essential to make sure you’re getting the right amount of protein and engaging in resistance training to keep your muscles strong.

One of the most convenient ways to consume protein is with a WonderSlim’s Plant Protein Meal Replacement Shake. Each single serving packet contains 15 grams of pea protein, 24 vitamins and minerals, 1 gram of sugar or less, 4 grams of net carbs, and just 100 calories. With three delicious flavors (plus a variety pack), you’ll easily stay satisfied with each pre-portioned, balanced shake. 

It’s important to be aware of what happens when you stop taking Mounjaro 

Mounjaro has helped lots of folks balance their blood sugar levels and lose weight. But if you need to stop taking it, make sure you speak to your doctor first and be aware of the potential side effects!