How Long Should You Stay on Wegovy® (Semaglutide)?
Wegovy® is an FDA-approved medication for weight loss and is intended for long-term use. It is not recommended to stop taking your Wegovy prescription once you have lost weight or reached your goal weight as studies show that patients are very likely to regain the weight that was lost. One study looked at patients who had been taking Wegovy for over a year and had successfully lost on average 17% of their body weight. They then stopped the medication and over the next year patients regained ⅔ of the weight they had lost. This is not due to lack of commitment to healthy lifestyle changes and only using the medication for weight loss. The reality is there are compensatory changes that occur when we lose weight that lead to a slowing of our metabolism and increase in hunger hormones that ultimately promote weight regain. It can be helpful to think of these medications not just as “weight loss” medications but “weight maintenance” as well. Another way to think about this is let’s say you were diagnosed with high blood pressure and started a medication to lower your blood pressure. When you return for a follow-up and your blood pressure is now normal on the medication, would your doctor stop the medication? No! That’s because it would go back to where it was without medication.
Wegovy® is a registered trademark of Novo Nordisk A/S.
Lauren Lemieux, MD
FACP, ABOM diplomate
Dr. Lauren Lemieux completed her Internal Medicine residency and fellowship in Clinical Nutrition at UCLA. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, and as a Physician Nutrition Specialist. She is also a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Lemieux is passionate about helping her patients reach their health goals using personalized nutrition, lifestyle and weight management strategies.