Saxenda is a prescription weight loss medication, with an active ingredient of liraglutide. It acts like the natural hormone GLP-1. It is a long term treatment for adults to effectively lose weight. The dose of Saxenda starts at 0.6mg injected daily and is gradually increased to 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg or maintenance dose of 3.0 mg.  

Is it safe to stop Saxenda?

Stopping any regular medication should always be discussed with a health professional. Abruptly stopping or stopping without proper guidance can have potential consequences. 

People may experience symptoms of discontinuation such as low blood glucose which can be problematic for some. Stopping Saxenda can cause changes in appetite, potential weight gain and mood swings all which can quickly reverse the efforts contributed to the treatment. Similarly to starting Saxenda, when we stop taking it, it can cause the same side effects to be present again.

There are benefits of continuing the medication and there may be benefits of stopping the medication. Similarly both may have disadvantages also.

The pros:
– In the case that it may not be suitable for the individual e.g. allergic reaction, it is safest to discontinue. Also if individuals experience minor side effects they will subside with stopping the medication.
– Saxenda is a costly medication needed to be purchased monthly.
– It takes up to 5 weeks to reach a maintenance dose of 3mg and a full 12 weeks of proper use before results can really be measured. It can also take time to establish other healthy habits to aid in weight loss.

The cons:
– Saxenda regulates the appetite by slowly emptying the stomach, making one feel full for longer and hence aiding weight loss. When saxenda is stopped, the appetite may increase again leading to weight gain.
– Whilst on Saxenda it’s important to incorporate improved eating habits and exercise to succeed, if these are not established for some time before stopping Saxenda, these habits can return and result in regain of weight.
– Frequent weight fluctuations can lead to leptin resistance, hindering weight loss. Saxenda helps overcome leptin resistance, slowing its growth and boosting metabolism, facilitating weight maintenance at your desired level.

The pros and cons of continuing Saxenda, are the vise versa of those of stopping Saxenda. The decision to continue or stop Saxenda, should be a joint discussion between you and your GP.

What to expect when stopping Saxenda

There could be various reasons as to why someone may decide to discontinue the use of Saxenda. The common ones are related to having unpleasant side effects, inadequate results or the ideal achievement of desired weight and deciding to stop. However if people stop their treatment with saxenda incorrectly, it can cause harm. 

Based on the length of time the medication was used and the current dose strength, it is not advised to go cold turkey on the treatment. Even though the medication does not cause dependence and will not cause withdrawal symptoms, it can cause unwanted digestive symptoms. It may occur if the medication dosage is not gradually decreased. There could be a pattern of binge eating, blood sugar spike and weight gain which can cause anxiety and other health problems. 

When starting, the common side effects of Saxenda are minimized by slowly and gradually increasing the dose. If the same pattern is not observed when stopping the medication, there could be undesired side effects. This could make the end of the treatment very unpleasant.

How to stop Saxenda safe and effectively

Stopping Saxenda requires a gradual approach to ensure a smooth transition and minimize potential side effects and ensure weight management. 

If you believe it’s time to discontinue Saxenda, it is very important that a healthcare professional is involved. There is no concrete guide on stopping it effectively, however a doctor can provide tailored advice based on the individual’s health and reasons to stop saxenda. They can be a source of support when people are continuing a healthy lifestyle without the aid of medication. 

Abrupt changes such as weight gain after stopping Saxenda can occur if a gradual reduction in dosage is not carried out. This method can be done with the aid of a doctor or individuals could phase it out on their own. They can follow the same pattern of dosage increments as when they started and follow it backwards. This allows the body time to adjust to the new change and minimizes side effects. 

Dosing Down regime for Saxenda

Saxenda works by communicating to the brain to control appetite by slowing the emptying of the stomach. This helps you feel full for a longer period, naturally leading to eating less and reducing your body weight. When stopping Saxenda the appetite will naturally increase however if a balanced diet is focused during and after treatment it shouldn’t result in weight gain. 

As when starting Saxenda, it is advised to focus on diet and exercise as part of this journey and that should continue post stopping the treatment. Continuing a balanced diet, regular exercise and sufficient sleep will all support in maintaining a healthy weight. 

Weight journeys can be emotionally difficult and having a support network of friends, family or groups can be a great way to discuss experiences and concerns to navigate through it. 

Consult doctor

If you are considering stopping Saxenda, it is important to discuss reasons, alternatives and a plan for monitoring weight post-discontinuation. Consulting a doctor or dietician can help to provide personalized advice based on your medical history and health. They can guide on the safest way to adjust or cease the medication.

Consult a dietitian