Obesity is a global concern. It is not a disease by itself but a health condition that in turn increases the risk of various medical conditions.
Obese individuals are at a much higher risk of developing conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiac problems, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancers.
While exercise and diet control are often recommended as possible ways to lose weight, at times these measures are not enough.
People with a higher BMI and risk of other health conditions need to resort to other ways of controlling weight including weight loss drugs. But not all weight loss drugs come in the form of pills.
In the post below you will find out all the information about Saxenda, a unique weight loss drug that is available in the form of an injectable medication.
The active ingredient Liraglutide mimics the action of GLP-1, a natural hormone that is released in the intestines. As a result, these weight loss injections help suppress appetite and reduce your cravings for certain foods.
However, this weight loss injection is not recommended for everyone who is trying to lose weight.
People with a BMI of 27 or more who already have a higher risk of developing weight related issues or people with a BMI of 30 are recommended these weight loss injections.
Another important consideration for prescribing these injections is when all other possible weight loss measures have failed to produce results.
Various studies have been conducted in different parts of the world to find out the effectiveness of Saxenda as a weight loss drug.
The results of almost all the studies indicate that in most cases (up to 85%), use of Saxenda for 12 weeks result in a weight loss of 4% or more.
And this is exactly why Saxenda is a popular weight loss option among obese people in the UK and around the world.
But while these injections aid in weight loss, most potential users of this drug do not have adequate information about Saxenda.
To help you better understand the mode of action, ingredients, benefits and potential side effects of this drug, here is a detailed review of Saxenda weight loss injections.
Saxenda was launched in the UK in January 2017 after it received a European Marketing Authorization in March 2015.
It is licensed to be used as a weight loss drug that is combined with a low calorie diet and increased physical activity for managing weight in adults over the age of 18. Also, it is recommended for patients with a BMI of
- 30 or more, or
- Ranging between 27 and 30 along with an increased risk of at least weight related medical condition.
While most people consider Saxenda same as Victoza, a treatment of Type 2 diabetes that was launched in 2009. However, both these drugs are different.
Though they have similar mode of action, Saxenda is not used for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
Also, while the use of Victoza led to weight loss in most cases, it is not a licensed pharmacological treatment option for weight management.
Saxenda contains liraglutide as the active ingredient. The ingredient mimics the action of a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1.
The hormone is released by the intestines after a meal and this signals the brain that the body is full.
By replicating the action of naturally occurring GLP-1, a person who uses Saxenda feels more satisfied after eating less quantity food.
Saxenda also contains inactive ingredients including
- dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate,
- propylene glycol,
- hydrochloric acid,
- sodium hydroxide and
Saxenda is a very effective weight loss drug when used in combination with reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity.
Its effectiveness has been tested in several clinical trials. In a study comprising of 3,731 participants, the average weight loss was reported to 8% of the initial body weight over a period of 56 weeks.
In the same study, 1/3rd of the participants lost over 10% of their starting weight. Weight loss typically starts within 2 weeks after the start of the injections and continue for up to 12 months.
While Saxenda is an effective treatment for weight management, it does not come without potential side effects and increased risk of developing a few medical conditions.
Some of the common side effects of using Saxenda include
- Digestive tract problems including indigestion, nausea, diarrhoea, inflammation in the lining of the stomach, abdominal discomfort, heartburn, feeling bloated and flatulence.
- Change in the sense of taste
- Dryness in the mouth
- Feeling of being weak and tired.
- Difficulty in falling or staying asleep (usually occurs in the first 3 months of the use)
- Reactions at the site of injection including rash, bruising and irritation.
- Drop in blood sugar levels which may resonate in the form of headaches, anxiety, difficulty in concentration, sudden onset of tremors and increased heartbeat.
In case you experience any of the above mentioned side effects, it is best to contact your healthcare provider.
Also if you experience symptoms such as difficulty in breathing or swelling on the face and throat, it is best to seek immediate medical attention.
Some other rare but more serious side effects of using Saxenda may include
- Thyroid tumour (which may be cancerous)
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Gallstones and other problems with the gallbladder
- Kidney Problems
- Changes in behaviour and personality
Since Saxenda is a prescription-only medication, it is important to discuss pre-existing health conditions with your health care provider and the treatment you are using.
Make sure you mention it to your doctor if you;
- Are currently using any medication that falls under the category of GLP-1 receptor agonists,
- are allergic to the active ingredient, liraglutide or any of the other ingredients in Saxenda,
- have gastrointestinal problems,
- have or have a history of any medical conditions with your pancreas, kidneys or liver,
- have or previously had depression or any other mental health condition.
- are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant in the near future.
- Or are breastfeeding
Make sure you tell your health care provider about all the medicines you are using. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, or nutritional supplements that you use.
In case you are diabetic and use insulin, don’t forget to provide all this relevant information to your healthcare provider.
Saxenda dosage is designed as a progressing dose. In the first week, patients start off with single dose of 0.6 mg.
After starting Saxenda, if you have no issues with tolerating this drug, your healthcare provider will increase the dose every week for the first 5 weeks after which you will have to take a maintenance dose of 3 mg.
The dosage schedule is as follows.
|Week 5 onwards
You will have to administer Saxenda every day however, there is no restriction of time and meals. You can use it any time, before or after meals.
The injectable pen comes with clear, preloaded solution and you can easily adjust the quantity you have to inject by turning the dial.
The injection pen does not come with needles so you will have to purchase the needles separately.
You can easily find needles manufactured by Noro Nordisk that work perfectly fine Saxenda injections.
The injection is administered under the skin (in the subcutaneous layer) so it is best to inject in your upper arm, upper abdomen or upper thigh.
You can administer the dose in different areas of your but make sure you do not inject the drug into the veins or muscles.
Saxenda should be used every day and in case of a missed dose, you do not need to administer double dose the next day.
If you forget to inject a dose of Saxenda and remember within 12 hours of when you usually administer the dose, inject the drug as soon as possible.
But if more than 12 hours have passes, then you should skip the regular dose and administer it the next day. Do not use double dose.
In case you have not administered Saxenda for three consecutive days, you will have to restart the dose from 0.6 mg and then gradually increase the dose by 0.6 mg every week until you reach the maintenance dose of 3 mg.
It is important to discuss all these changes with your healthcare provider as the change in dose will affect your weight loss.
Saxenda pen that is not in use should be stored in a refrigerator between 2oC and 8oC.
Make sure you do not store the pens too close to the freezer or the cooling element. You should discard used Saxenda pens after 1 month even if a little amount of unused drug is still there.
Who is it for?
As mentioned earlier, Saxenda is prescribed for adults over the age of 18 who
- Have a BMI between 27 and 30 (overweight individuals) and have a risk of developing at least one weight related medical condition.
- Have a BMI of 30 or more (obese individuals)
Provided that all other measures of weight loss including reduced calorie intake and increased physica activity have failed to produce effective results.
If you are using Saxenda and do not lose 5% of your initial body weight in the first 12 weeks, you should talk to your doctor and discontinue the use of Saxenda.
However, if you lose 5% or more of your initial body weight, then you should continue with the drug.
How does it work?
The active ingredient in Saxenda, liraglutide mimics the action of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone that is released by the intestines after a meal.
As a result, your brain gets the signal that the body is full and that you must stop eating.
So by replicating the action of GLP-1, a person using Saxenda feels more satisfied with lesser quantity of food.
Also, Saxenda works on slowing down the digestion process. As a result, you feel full for longer. It also suppresses your craving for certain foods.
All these actions along with reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity result in weight loss.
Where to get it?
Saxenda is a prescription only medication and you can find it on all NHS registered pharmacies in the U.K.
You can also order the injections online. But since it is a prescription only drug, you will have to go for online consultation below you can place your order.
However, one important thing to remember is that the initial doses of Saxenda should be administered by a qualified professional.
So in case, you order the injections online, you will still have to physically consult a registered nurse or medical practitioner.
Here are some of the FAQs that can help you if you are using or planning to use Saxenda.
Can You Take Saxenda Every Other Day Instead Of Daily?
No. Saxenda needs to be used every day. In case you miss a dose, do not administer double dose the next day.
Instead continue to use your usual dosage. In case you miss Saxenda for three consecutive days, you will have to restart the dosage from 0.6 mg per week and gradually increase it by 0.6 mg every week.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With Saxenda?
The answer varies.
With reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity, people who use Saxenda for one year, lose an average of 8% of their body weight.
However, some people may lose as much as 10%. So if you weigh 250 pounds, at the end of Year 1, you are likely to lose between 12.5 and 25 pounds of weight.
Also, you should lose atleast 5% of your body weight in the first 12 weeks of using Saxenda. In case, you don’t lose 5%, discontinue the drug and discuss with your doctor.
Does Saxenda Come With Needles?
Saxenda is available as a clear and colourless solution in a pre-filled pen that comes in packs of 1, 3 or 5 pens.
Saxenda pens do not come with needles. You have to purchase NovoFine needles manufactured by Noro Nordisk separately.
However, some online pharmacies may provide a bundle pack (of pens and needles) Make sure you check before you place an order.
Saxenda is an effective injectable weight loss drug that works well for overweight and obese individuals who are at a risk of developing health conditions.
It is available in the form of prefilled pens. Patients who use this drug lose an average of 8% of their weight during the first year of use.
However, some people may lose as much as 10%. While the drug is effective when combined with a low calorie diet and increased physical activity, it does not come without side effects.
Make sure you discuss your existing health condition and the medicines you are using with your primary caregiver at length. In case of any side effects, seek medical assistance immediately.