Saxenda or liraglutide (generic name) is a daily injection for weight loss/weight management or treatment of type 2 diabetes. It is used along with diet, exercise and other medications to control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
How does Saxenda work for weight loss and blood sugar control
Your body naturally produces an appetite hormone known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that helps to regulate your hunger. Saxenda belongs to a class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. Saxenda works like GLP-1 by regulating your appetite and slowing down the emptying of the stomach, thus making you feel full quicker which can lead to eating fewer calories and losing weight. Furthermore, it signals your body to produce more insulin when blood sugar level is high, thus helping with blood sugar control if you have diabetes. Saxenda has been shown to decrease A1C by 1%.
Other medication in same class of drugs and works similarly is Ozempic, a once a week injection for weight loss and diabetes management.
How much weight can you lose on Saxenda? Weight loss results from clinical trial:
Saxenda has been proven to be effective for weight loss in a clinical trial. This clinical trial enrolled 3731 patients who did not have diabetes and randomized them to receive either Saxenda or a placebo.
After 56 weeks, patients that were taking Saxenda had an average weight loss of 18.5 lbs (8.4 kg). After 3 years, approximately half of these patients were able to maintain their weight loss while taking Saxenda and eating a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.
After 56 weeks, 63.2% of patients that were taking Saxenda lost at least 5% of their body weight. In other words, 3 out of 5 people taking Saxenda had weight loss of 5% or more (lost an average of 12 lb or more).
After 56 weeks, 33.1% of patients that were taking Saxenda lost at least 10% of their body weight. In other words, 1 out of 3 people taking Saxenda had weight loss of 10% or more (lost an average of 23 lb or more).
After 56 weeks, 6% of patients that were taking Saxenda lost at least 20% of their body weight. In other words, 1 out of 20 people taking Saxenda had weight loss of 10% or more (lost an average of 47 lb or more).
Saxenda is started at initial dose of 0.6 mg daily. Dose should be increased by 0.6 mg daily every week to the target dose of 3 mg daily [REF]. It is started at a low dose and increased slowly to help reduce side effects and make Saxenda more tolerable. If you cannot tolerate the increased dose, consider delaying the increase for 1 more week. You should take Saxenda as prescribed by your doctor.
How to Inject Saxenda
Saxenda should be taken once daily using the pre-filled pen. You can take it at any time of the day that is convenient for you. Inject your dose under the skin (subcutaneous injection) in your abdomen, thigh or upper arm. Rotate injection sites with each dose, do not inject in same area each time to reduce risk of getting lumps under the skin.
Step 1: Prepare your pen with a new needle
– Wash your hands with soap and water.
– Check the name and label to ensure it is the right medication
– Pull off the pen cap.
Step 2: Check the Saxenda flow with each new pen
– Before using a new pen, you should check the flow. You can skip this step if you have already used this pen before.
– Turn the dose selector until the dose counter shows the flow check symbol.
Step 3: Select your dose
– Turn the dose selector until the dose counter shows your dose
Step 4: Inject your dose
-Insert the needle into your skin at one of the administration sites and inject the dose.
Step 5: After your injection
– Carefully remove the needle from pen and discard in sharps containers.
How can I tell if Saxenda is working?
You can tell Saxenda is working for you if you lose 4% of your starting body weight in 4 months.
What to do if you miss a dose of Saxenda?
If you miss once dose, you can continue taking Saxenda at the same dose as per your schedule. Do not take a top-up dose. If more than 3 days have passed since the last Saxenda dose, it is recommended to restart Saxenda from 0.6 mg daily to avoid side effects.
How to store Saxenda?
Store any unopened Saxenda pens in the fridge (not freezer) at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). After first use, Saxenda pens may be stored at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F) or at 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F). Do not freeze. Saxenda pen should be discarded 30 days after first use.
Saxenda Side Effects
The most common side effects of Saxenda are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. To reduce the risk of side effects, it is started at a lower dose and increased slowly. These side effects tend to occur during dose increase; delaying the dose increase by 1 more week may help decrease side effects. If side effects are intolerable, you may have to stop taking Saxenda and speak to your doctor.
Saxenda may cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis): if you have severe pain in your stomach area (abdomen) that will not go away, with or without vomiting, you should call your healthcare provider right away. Saxenda may cause gall bladder problems: if you have pain in your upper abdomen, fever, yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice), or clay-colored stools, you should call your healthcare provider right away. Rarely you may experience an allergic reaction. Seek medical attention right away if you have any signs of an allergic reaction such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips/tongue/throat or difficulty breathing.
Saxenda should not be used If you or someone in your family has medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). In animal studies, saxenda caused thyroid C-cell tumours but it is unknown whether it causes the same in humans. If you are on Saxenda, you should monitor for symptoms of thyroid tumours such as a mass in the neck, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath and persistent hoarseness.
Saxenda in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Saxenda is not recommended for patients that are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Patients who could become pregnant should use effective contraception during therapy. It is not known if Saxenda is present in breast milk. You should talk to your doctor to consider the risks vs benefits.
Reference: FDA monograph
Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually correct and up to date, however this article is not comprehensive and does not contain all relevant information about the topic. IT should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.