The side effects of Saxenda®
Reviewed by our clinical team
Saxenda® is a daily weight loss injection used to help people with high BMIs lose weight. The active ingredient is liraglutide, so sometimes the treatment is referred to as liraglutide rather than Saxenda®. Saxenda® is available for some people on the NHS. It can also be accessed privately through LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor’s medicated weight loss service following a suitability assessment.
What are the side effects?
Not everybody using Saxenda® will get side effects, but we recommend being mindful of the potential side effects of the treatment. Side effects can be broken down into four groups: very common, common, uncommon, and rare.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the side effects of medicated weight loss, or feel unwell when using Saxenda®, we recommend talking to your doctor.
Serious side effects of Saxenda®
Serious side effects of Saxenda® are rare. There have been some reports of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). If you experience breathing difficulties or swelling of the face and throat call 999 or visit A&E immediately.
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is also a rare but serious side effect. Pancreatitis is a serious, potentially life threatening medical condition. Stop taking Saxenda® and contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following serious side effects at the same time, as they could be a sign of pancreatitis:
- Severe and persistent pain in the abdomen (stomach area) which might reach through to your back
- Nausea and vomiting
Very common side effects of Saxenda®
The very common side effects of Saxenda® are likely to affect more than 1 in 10 patients. These side effects include:
- Feeling sick (nausea)
Patients experiencing these side effects often report that they go away after several days or weeks.
To help manage the nausea, get fresh air whenever possible, sip a cold drink or peppermint tea, and eat smaller more frequent meals.
We also recommend that you don’t cook anything strong smelling and avoiding greasy and fried foods.
Common side effects of Saxenda®
Common side effects may affect up to 1 in 10 people. They include:
- A change to your sense of taste
- Feeling dizzy
- Stomach problems such as indigestion, discomfort, heartburn, feeling bloated, wind and belching, dry mouth, and gastritis (this is inflammation in the lining of the stomach)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Reactions around the injection site, such as bruising, itching and pain
- An increase in pancreatic enzymes, such as lipase and amylase
Low blood sugar is also a common side effect. The symptoms of low blood sugar may appear suddenly and include:
- Feeling anxious or nervous
- Cool pale skin
- Feeling sick
- Feeling hungry
Uncommon side effects of Saxenda®
Uncommon side effects of Saxenda® may affect 1 in 100 people. They include:
- Increased pulse rate
- Feeling generally unwell
- Dehydration – this is likely to be a side effect of the common side effects of vomiting and diarrhoea
- An inflamed gall bladder
- A delay in the emptying the stomach
Rare side effects of Saxenda®
The rare side effects of Saxenda® include reduced kidney function and kidney failure and may affect up to 1 in 100 people. The signs are a metallic taste in the mouth, a reduction in urine volume and skin that easily bruises. You should contact your doctor immediately if experiencing these side effects.
Do the side effects of Saxenda® go away?
Some of the milder side effects of Saxenda®, such as nausea, do go away within a couple of weeks. If you’re having trouble managing your side effects, we recommend talking to your doctor. You can contact LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor through your Patient Record if your prescription is with us.