Obesity Pharmacotherapy Program

The Obesity Pharmacotherapy Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center combines lifestyle changes with the use of medications to promote healthy eating and weight loss, and to lessen the effects diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and other conditions caused by obesity.

The Obesity Pharmacotherapy Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center is a comprehensive program that combines lifestyle changes with the use of medication to promote weight loss and lessen the effects of conditions caused by obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease and sleep apnea. Patients may see an improvement in the symptoms of these conditions, as well as a decrease in the medications they need to control them.

A Collaborative Approach to Weight Management

Mass General Weight Center Pharmacotherapy Program

A patient speaks to a Mass General Weight Center dietician.

The Mass General Weight Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to help patients achieve and maintain a healthier weight. After a new patient orientation, you will receive a full evaluation and meet with an obesity medicine specialist (a physician who has specific training in the treatment of obesity), and a dietitian and a psychologist who specialize in obesity. This assessment will help your care team develop a personalized plan to help you reach your goals.

Your care team may recommend weight loss medication as part of your treatment plan in addition to medical or surgical treatment options. If so, obesity medicine specialists will review your medical history and prescribe medications in collaboration with the rest of your care team, including your primary care physician, to promote a healthier weight.

Our specialists select the best medication or combination of medications for you based on your health conditions and health history. Weight loss medications work differently for every person and may reduce your appetite, increase fullness and/or improve your metabolism. Your care team will closely monitor your progress and make any necessary medication adjustments to achieve the best outcomes.

What to Expect

The Obesity Pharmacotherapy Program is a one-year program, which begins with a simple breathing test to assess your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories). You will then have up to four meetings with a dietitian, during which an individualized dietary plan will be formulated. At these visits you will:

  • Learn about mindful eating and important lifestyle changes
  • Have your weight checked

Once your diet is stable, you will meet with an obesity medicine specialist to start weight loss medications. Your specialist will closely monitor your treatment plan during visits every one-to-three months, depending on your progress. At these visits you will:

  • Have your weight checked
  • Discuss your progress and weight loss
  • Have your medication adjusted or changed as needed

You will also continue to meet with your dietitian every three months to assess your food plan. At the end of the program, you will meet with your obesity medicine specialist to determine the best course of action to maintain your weight loss.

To learn more about the Pharmacotherapy Program or to schedule an appointment with the Weight Center, call 617-726-0373.

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