Saxenda (Liraglutide): What is it used for, How does it work, What are the side effects?

What is Saxenda used for?

Saxenda (liraglutide injection) is used for chronic weight management in addition to reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity in adults aged 18 and above who have either:

  • BMI* of 30 or greater (obesity), or
  • BMI* of 27-30 (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbidity and who have failed a previous weight management intervention.

SAXENDA can be used in addition to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity in adolescents aged 12 to less than 18 years with obesity, as diagnosed by a doctor, who have failed on a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity alone. Consult your doctor regarding use of Saxenda in adolescents aged 12 to less than 18 years.

Read about How much weight can you lose on Saxenda.

How does Saxenda work?

Saxenda helps adults who are overweight or have obesity, or adolescents with obesity, who also have weight related medical problems lose weight and keep the weight off. SAXENDA should be used with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.

What are the ingredients in SAXENDA?

Medicinal ingredients: Liraglutide

Non-medicinal ingredients: Disodium phosphate dihydrate, propylene glycol, phenol and water for injections.

SAXENDA belongs to a class of medicines called GLP-1 analogue.

SAXENDA comes in the following dosage forms:

SAXENDA is provided in a disposable, prefilled, multi-dose pen. Each pen can deliver a dose of 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg or 3.0 mg. Each pen contains 3 mL of SAXENDA at a concentration of 6 mg/mL

Pens are available in packages five.

Do not use SAXENDA if:

  • You or any of your family members have a history of medullary thyroid cancer.
  • You have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). This is a disease where people have tumours in more than one gland in their body.
  • You are allergic to liraglutide or any of the ingredients in SAXENDA (see “What are the ingredients in SAXENDA?” for a complete list of ingredients).
  • You are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. SAXENDA may harm your unborn baby.

To help avoid side effects and ensure proper use, talk to your healthcare professional before you take SAXENDA. Talk about any health conditions or problems you may have, including if you:

  • have palpitations (you feel aware of your heart beat) or if you have feelings of a racing heart beat while at rest during SAXENDA treatment.
  • lose substantial weight you are at risk of gallstones and thereby inflamed gallbladder. Stop taking SAXENDA and contact a doctor immediately if you experience severe pain in your upper abdomen, usually worse on the right side under the ribs. The pain may be felt through to your back or right shoulder (see ‘ What are the possible side effects of SAXENDA?’)
  • have or have had depression or suicidal thoughts.
  • have severe heart failure. There is little to no experience with this medicine in patients with heart failure.
  • have ever had a heart attack (myocardial infarction). There is little or no experience with this medicine in patients who have ever had a heart attack.
  • have unstable angina, a type of chest pain that happens when there is not enough blood to the heart and that is also either new or different from before. There is little or no experience with this medicine in patients with unstable angina.
  • have a problem with your heart beating too fast (tachyarrhythmia) or with the normal electric impulses of your heart (conduction disorder, for example atrioventricular block). There is little or no experience with this medicine in patients with conduction disorders and arrhythmias.
  • have diabetes, do not use SAXENDA instead of insulin and do not use SAXENDA with insulin.
  • adolescents who are aged 12 to less than 18 years without type 2 diabetes mellitus have a risk of low blood sugar (see ‘What are the possible side effects of SAXENDA?’)
  • have the symptoms of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), such as severe stomach pain which does not go away, talk to your doctor immediately. Pancreatitis can be severe and lead to death. You may be more likely to get pancreatitis if you have had pancreatitis before, or if you have had stones in your gallbladder, alcoholism or high levels of triglycerides in your blood.
  • have ever had an allergic reaction to liraglutide or any of the other ingredients in SAXENDA.
  • have kidney problems.
  • have liver problems.
  • have severe stomach problems, such as slowed emptying of your stomach (gastroparesis) or problems digesting your food.
  • are pregnant or plan to have a baby. SAXENDA may harm your unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking SAXENDA. If you are pregnant, stop using SAXENDA.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if SAXENDA passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take SAXENDA or breastfeed.
  • have severe vomiting and/or diarrhea and/or dehydration.

What are some warnings/precautions with Saxenda?

When starting SAXENDA treatment, you might have side effects like throwing up (vomiting), feeling sick (nauseated) and getting diarrhea. Throwing up and diarrhea can cause dehydration (loss of fluids). It is important to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. Call your doctor if you have any questions. Dehydration can cause kidney problems that sometimes require hemodialysis.

SAXENDA is not recommended for use in children under 12 years of age or in adolescents with a body weight below or equal to 60 kg.

Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take, including any drugs, vitamins, minerals, natural supplements or alternative medicines.

What are possible interactions with Saxenda?

Don’t take SAXENDA if you take insulin. Tell your doctor, Diabetes Nurse Educator or pharmacist if you are taking diabetes medicines called ‘sulphonylurea’ (such as glimepiride or glibenclamide). Using these medicines with SAXENDA can make your blood sugar go too low (hypoglycemia). Your doctor may adjust the dose of your diabetes medicine to prevent you from getting low blood sugar.

How to take Saxenda?

Use SAXENDA exactly as prescribed by your healthcare professional (see ‘Instructions for Use’).

Do not share your SAXENDA pen with anyone else, even if the needle is changed. Do not reuse or share needles with another person including family members. You may give another person an infection or get an infection from them.

Usual dose:

When you first start using SAXENDA, the starting dose is 0.6 mg once a day. Your dose should be increased after using SAXENDA for one week until you reach the 3.0 mg dose. After that, do not change your dose unless your healthcare professional tells you to.

  • SAXENDA is injected 1 time each day, at any time during the day.
  • You can take SAXENDA with or without food.
  • Your doctor should start you on a diet and exercise program when you start taking SAXENDA. Stay on this program while you are taking SAXENDA.

How to administer Saxenda injection?

SAXENDA is an injection which is given under the skin (subcutaneously). Do not inject it into a vein or muscle.

Before you use the pen for the first time, your doctor or Diabetes Nurse Educator will show you how to use it. The best places to give yourself the injection are the front of your thighs, the front of your waist (abdomen) or your upper arm. You can give yourself the injection at any time of the day (see ‘Instructions for Use’).

What to do if you overdose on Saxenda?

If you use more SAXENDA than you should, talk to your doctor straight away. You may need medical treatment. If you use too much SAXENDA you may feel sick (have nausea), become sick (vomit), or have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Please refer to ‘What are the possible side effects from using SAXENDA’ for early warning signs of low blood sugar.

Warning: If you think you have taken too much SAXENDA, contact your healthcare professional, hospital emergency department or regional poison control centre immediately, even if there are no symptoms.

What should you do if you miss a dose of Saxenda?

If you miss your daily dose of SAXENDA, use SAXENDA as soon as you remember. Then take your next daily dose as usual on the following day. Do not take an extra dose of SAXENDA or increase your dose on the following day to make up for your missed dose.

If you miss your dose of SAXENDA for 3 days or more, call your healthcare professional to talk about how to restart your treatment.

What are side effects of Saxenda?

These are not all the possible side effects you may feel when taking SAXENDA. If you experience any side effects not listed here, contact your healthcare professional.

Some severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have been reported rarely in patients using SAXENDA. You should see your doctor straight away if you get symptoms such as breathing problems, swelling of face and throat and fast heart beat.

Cases of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) have been reported uncommonly in patients using SAXENDA. Pancreatitis can be a serious, potentially life-threatening medical condition. Talk to your doctor straight away if you get severe stomach pain which does not go away.

Very common: may affect more than 1 in 10 people:

  • feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting), diarrhea, constipation – these usually go away after a few days or weeks
  • lower appetite

Common: may affect up to 1 in 10 people:

  • problems affecting the stomach and intestines such as: indigestion (dyspepsia), inflamed lining of the stomach (gastritis), stomach discomfort, upper stomach pain, heart burn, feeling bloating, wind (flatulence), belching, dry mouth
  • feeling weak or tired
  • changed sense of taste
  • dizziness
  • gallstones
  • injection site reactions (such as bruising, pain, irritation, itching and rash)
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) – the warning signs of low blood sugar may come on suddenly and can include: cold sweat, cool pale skin, headache, fast heart beat, feeling sick, feeling very hungry, changes in vision, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, nervous, anxious, confused, difficulty concentrating, shaking (tremor). Your doctor will tell you how to treat low blood sugar and what to do if you notice these warning signs.
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia). This usually occurs during the first 3 months of treatment
  • increase of pancreatic enzymes, such as lipase and amylase

Uncommon: may affect up to 1 in 100 people:

  • loss of fluids (dehydration) – this is more likely at the start of treatment and may be due to being sick (vomiting), feeling sick (nausea) and diarrhea
  • inflamed gallbladder
  • allergic reactions including skin rash
  • feeling generally unwell
  • faster pulse
  • inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)

Rare: may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people:

  • reduced kidney function
  • acute kidney failure – signs include metallic taste in mouth and easily bruising
  • severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)

If you have a troublesome symptom or side effect that is not listed here or becomes bad enough to interfere with your daily activities, talk to your healthcare professional.

How to store Saxenda?

  • Before you start to use SAXENDA, store it in a refrigerator (2˚C to 8˚C) away from the freezer compartment. Do not freeze it.
  • When SAXENDA is being used, you can keep it for 1 month either at room temperature (not above 30˚C) or in a refrigerator (2˚C to 8˚C).
  • Do not use SAXENDA if it has been frozen.
  • Do not use SAXENDA if it is not clear and colourless.
  • Always remove the injection needle after each injection and store your SAXENDA pen without an injection needle attached. This prevents contamination, infection, and leakage. It also ensures that the dosing is accurate.
  • When you are not using the pen, keep the cap on. This will protect the medicine from light.
  • Protect SAXENDA from high temperatures and sunlight.
  • Medicines should not be disposed of via waste water or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the environment.

Keep out of reach and sight of children.

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.

Similar Posts