What is Saxenda®?
Saxenda® is a weight loss drug containing the active ingredient liraglutide. It’s injected into the body each day to help you lose weight. The treatment works best when it’s also combined with a reduced calorie diet and increased exercise programme.
How does Saxenda® work?
Simply put, Saxenda® works by making you feel less hungry and fuller when you do eat.
Your body produces a hormone known as a glucagon-like-peptide (GLP-1), which helps you to naturally regulate your appetite. Liraglutide copies the action of this hormone, by reducing your appetite, which hopefully means you need to eat less, and you lose weight.
Who can take Saxenda®?
Saxenda® is suitable for people with:
- A BMI of 30 and over
- A BMI of 27 to 30 and you have another weight-related ‘co-morbidity’ (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea)
The drug always works best when paired with a low calorie, balanced diet and also increasing how much exercise you’re getting.
Saxenda® has been proven to be a very effective weight loss treatment, with as many as 85% of the people taking it losing some weight.
In a clinical study over 56 weeks, where patients received Saxenda® alongside a reduced calorie diet and exercise counselling:
- Three in five people lost more than 5% of their body weight (that was an average of 5kg)
- One in three people lost more than 10% of their body weight (that was an average of 10kg)
- Around 6% of people lost more than 20% of their body weight (that was an average of 21kg)
If you’re prescribed Saxenda®, you’ll have to inject yourself with the treatment each day.
The dosing schedule increases throughout the first four weeks, to make sure your body can tolerate the treatment and you don’t experience lots of side effects. This process is called titration.
The Saxenda® dosing schedule is as follows:
- Week 1 – 0.6mg injected daily
- Week 2 – 1.2mg injected daily
- Week 3 – 1.8mg injected daily
- Week 4 – 2.4mg injected daily
- Week 5 – 3.0mg injected daily
If you can tolerate the 3.0mg dose you will then be kept on this dose for the duration of your time taking the treatment. This is known as the maintenance phase.
After 12 weeks of being on the 3.0mg dose, you'll be asked to check in with your clinician. This is because you’ll only be able to continue with the treatment if you’ve lost a certain amount of weight.
How long does Saxenda® take to work?
Lots of people will lose weight from Saxenda® within the first 12 weeks of using the 3.0mg dose. If you haven’t lost any weight at this point, or you’ve lost less weight than a certain threshold, you won’t be able to continue using the treatment.
What are the potential Saxenda® side effects?
Like with any treatment, there is always the chance that some people will experience side effects.
The most common side effects include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Most of these common side effects are mild. They often settle down once you've been taking the medication for a while. Some people's bodies take a little longer to get used to the medication.
Alternative weight loss treatments
Other than Saxenda®, there are some other weight loss treatments out there, but it’s always best to speak to a clinician about what is right for you.
Other weight loss treatments include:
The NHS also has lots of great resources for weight loss diets and exercise programmes which you could also try to help you lose weight or use alongside a medicated treatment.