Exercise’s Role in Sustaining Weight Loss Post-Drug Treatment: Study

United States: For weight-loss drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Zepbound, the dilemma remains until people continue losing weight after discontinuing the drug use.

Key Findings

Overall, you may stop the drugs without recovering the weight if regular exercising is done, according to a recent Danish study.

“It is actually possible to stop taking the medication without large weight regain if you follow a structured exercise regime,” said senior researcher Signe Sorensen Torekov of the University of Copenhagen, as reported by HealthDay.

Researchers showed that exercise, even for a few hours a week, could sustain the weight loss achieved with the medicines.

“Our study offers new hope, as we have shown that the majority of those who take weight-loss medication and exercise regularly are able to maintain the beneficial effects a year after treatment termination,” Torekov said in a university news release.

To conduct the research, the researcher enrolled four groups representing the test participants.

One group was administered a weight-loss drug, a second group was instructed to exercise regularly, and a third group was given both the medication and the instructions for exercising. The last group got a placebo.

The study showed that groups who did exercises had a significant increase in their quality of life. And those who were given the treatment and exercised maintained their weight after the drug regimen was stopped.

The latest work was published on Feb. 19, 2019, in the journal Lancet Clinical Medicine.

Research Insights

“All it takes is two hours of exercise a week that gets the heart rate up and makes you want,” said lead researcher Simon Birk Kjær Jensen, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

“And it may differ from one person to the next,” Jensen added. “For people with severe obesity and low initial fitness level, a brisk walk may be sufficient, whereas people with higher fitness level may have to practice running or cycling.”

Physician Recommendations

These findings suggest that in order to improve patients’ chances of sticking to their weight-loss goals, physicians may want to recommend exercise in addition to prescription weight-loss drugs.

“The study almost makes me want to advise against medical treatment without increased physical exercise, especially if you do not want to be taking the drugs for the rest of your life,” Torekov said. “The good news is that post-treatment weight loss maintenance is possible, but only when combined with exercise.”