Teresa Shepherd said she lost 90 pounds while taking an off-brand version of the drug Ozempic for around eight months.
Shepherd, who lives in Florida, told " Good Morning America" she has been able to maintain her weight loss two months after stopping the medication.
"I started working out, so now I work out multiple times a week," Shepherd said of how she's managed to not regain weight. "You have to be mindful of staying with what you've done, and not slipping back in old habits for sure."
As the popularity of drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro has grown, so too have headlines of potential downsides of the medications, including weight gain after stopping use.
A study released last year by the National Institutes of Health found that once patients go off medications for weight loss, the average weight gain rebound is about two-thirds of the total weight loss.
Medical experts say it is normal for a medication taken for a chronic medical condition, like obesity, to stop working when a user stops taking it.
"Trying to stop the medicine like this can result in weight regain, and an increase in appetite. No one should be surprised by that," Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, told "GMA." "That's exactly what we would expect would happen if you stopped a blood pressure medicine. Your blood pressure would go up."
ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a board-certified OB-GYN and board-certified in obesity medicine, echoed Aronne, saying it's important to understand that obesity is a chronic condition.
"This is not candy. This is not like treating strep throat," Ashton said. "So, when people come off a medication that they need to treat a chronic condition -- which the conditions of overweight and obesity are -- of course, rebound weight gain is possible, if not likely."
In the United States, obesity affects nearly 42% of the population and is associated with over $170 billion in medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Around 90% of the over 37 million Americans with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, a condition associated with obesity, according to the CDC.
Both Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Type 2 diabetes, but some doctors prescribe them "off-label" for weight loss. Wegovy is specifically approved for weight loss for people with obesity.
Ozempic and Wegovy are made from a compound called semaglutide, and Mounjaro contains a compound called tirzepatide.
The medications work by slowing down the movement of food through the stomach and curbing appetite, thereby causing weight loss.
Shepherd said that for her weight loss, she took a semaglutide compound, which is made at a compounding pharmacy using raw ingredients.
Obtaining semaglutide from a compounding pharmacy has become a more popular option for people whose insurance may not cover Ozempic of Wegovy, which can cost over $1,000 per month without insurance coverage.
Experts say there are risks associated with getting semaglutide through that route, because it can be altered and it's not always clear where the drugs are sourced from.
Describing her experience maintaining her weight loss after stopping semaglutide, Shepherd said, "Absolutely people can get off of it and do it, and I wouldn't be scared to get off of it."
Ashton said that some people with obesity may need to stay on a medication for weight loss "indefinitely."
"We know that the phenomenon is set in the brain to restore your weight to its heaviest level, so this is not a matter of willpower. It's not a matter of eating less and moving more," she said. "Behavior is always important but you have to let the pharmacology work."
While there is no standard protocol to follow, Ashton said a doctor may try to get a patient to their target, healthy goal weight and then follow the "basic principle of pharmacology" in decreasing the patient to the lowest dose of the medication possible.
"The best dose is the lowest dose of the medication that works," Ashton said. "If you need to drop the dose and then expand the frequency, to taking it maybe once a month, once every other week, the key is keeping you at that healthy weight in the safest, most efficacious way we can do it."