Saxenda Weight Loss Injections
Saxenda is a prescription-only medication which can be used as a weight loss aid for people who are overweight or obese. Doctors tend to only prescribe Saxenda to people who have a BMI of 27+ and have other weight related issues, or to those who have a BMI of 30+.
This medication is designed for use alongside regular exercise and a healthy diet. Saxenda comes in the form of a preloaded, injectable pen that is very easy to use. The recommended dose should be injected daily, with a gradual weekly increase in quantity until week 5, after which point the dosage stays the same.
The active ingredient in Saxenda is the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 receptor agonist), Liraglutide. The Liraglutide in Saxenda mimics a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1, which is released by our intestines after a meal to let the brain know that the body is full. By replicating this process, Saxenda tells the brain not to eat anymore. This allows the person taking Saxenda to feel more satisfied after eating less food, therefore helping to reduce their overall body weight as they begin to consume less calories than they usually would.
Many studies have been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of Saxenda as a weight loss drug. One study found that 85% of people taking Saxenda lost weight, with the majority of these people losing over 5% of their overall bodyweight.
What is Saxenda?
Saxenda is a really effective weight loss aid for people who struggle to manage their weight. We get lots of positive feedback from patients who’ve used this medication, with many reports of a significant reduction in appetite. Patients tell us how quick and easy it is to use the injectable pen, with their dosage quickly becoming a normal part of their daily routines. It’s important to always make sure that you use Saxenda as directed, as well as in conjunction with diet and exercise, which will allow you to get the best results possible in the safest and most effective way!
Who is Saxenda for?
Saxenda is used to aid weight loss in conjunction with diet and exercise in adults aged 18 and above who have:
- a BMI of 30 or greater (obese) or
- a BMI of between 27 and 30 (overweight) and weight-related health problems (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal levels of fats in the blood or breathing problems during sleep called ‘obstructive sleep apnoea’).
If after 12 weeks of using Saxenda, you have lost 5% or more of your initial body weight, you may continue using Saxenda. However, if you have not lost 5% or more of your bodyweight you should discontinue using the product. Always consult your doctor before continuing Saxenda.
To work out whether the criteria above applies to you, use an online calculator to find out your body mass index (BMI). It’s important to note that even if your BMI does meet the recommended user criteria above, your doctor may advise against you taking Saxenda. Possible reasons for this could be any of the following:
- You are under the age of 18 or over the age of 75
- You’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are currently breastfeeding
- You suffer from severe heart failure
- You have serious gut problems
- You have inflammatory bowel disease
- You are allergic to Liraglutide
Saxenda is only available through prescription, and you should make sure to tell your doctor about any pre-existing conditions or other medications you are on before you begin taking Saxenda. In particular, make sure your doctor knows if you suffer from any of the following:
- Pancreatic disease
- Liver problems
- Kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis)
- Thyroid disease (including thyroid nodules and enlargement of the thyroid gland)
If you are diabetic, make sure you don’t use Saxenda as a replacement for insulin, and take extra care to look out for symptoms of low blood sugar when taking Saxenda. These can come on very suddenly and include cold sweats, pale skin, headaches, and more. For more information please see the Saxenda patient information leaflet.
How does Saxenda Help with Weight Loss?
Saxenda contains the active substance Liraglutide. This substance mimics the body’s natural occurring hormone, GLP-1. This hormone is released from the intestine after we eat, which is a natural process that all of our bodies experience.
By mimicking this hormone, Saxenda helps the brain to acknowledge that the body is full after we’ve eaten less food (consuming less calories) than we normally would. Therefore, using Saxenda can help you to reduce the amount that you eat and in turn reduces your body weight as a result.
How Effective is Saxenda?
In a study involving 3,731 participants, 3 out of 5 people taking Saxenda achieved significant weight loss of 5% or more of their initial starting weight. This means that on average, patients lost around 12lb since starting the medication.
In the same study, one third of patients lost over 10% of their starting weight. With these patients losing a staggering 23lb after taking Saxenda.
A 3 year study was also conducted to test the effectiveness of Saxenda as a form of weight loss medication. This clinical study found that 56% of participants taking Saxenda achieved significant weight loss after the first year.
How is Saxenda Injected?
As with any medication, your doctor will tell you how, when and how much Saxenda to take. You should follow their directions as closely as possible. As a rough guide, you’ll usually start by taking a lower dose of the medication, then gradually build up to the maximum over the first five weeks of your course. Generally, you’ll start by taking 0.6mg once a day for a week, then increase by 0.6mg each week until you’re taking the maximum dosage of 3.0mg a day. The injectable pen comes preloaded with the solution, and you can easily change the amount you’re taking by using the dial.
Avoid injecting into muscles or veins; instead, choose the front of your abdomen, around your waist area, your upper arm, or front of your thigh. You can take Saxenda with or without food and at anytime of day, although you should aim to take it at the same time each day.
The Saxenda pen should be stored in the fridge, but never in the freezer. It should last a month when kept below 30°C, but make sure you use it before the expiry date on the pack. When you aren’t using the pen, keep the cap on to avoid light from damaging the solution, and don’t use it if the liquid in the pen isn’t clear and colourless.
If you are unsure of how to take Saxenda or have any questions, speak to a doctor or pharmacist.
How much does Saxenda cost
The Saxenda pens come pre-filled, and do not include needles. The price for a single 3ml Saxenda pen is £79.99. However, if you buy packs that contain multiple pens, the price per pen works out cheaper than if you were to buy each pen individually. A pack containing 3 pens is £229.99 and a pack of 5 costs £319.99.
Can I buy Saxenda Online?
Yes, Saxenda can be bought online via the Doctor 4 U website. The process is simple, all you need to do is fill in a medical questionnaire by clicking the ‘start consultation’ button, above. Once you have completed the form, the information you provide will then be reviewed by a doctor who will be able to decide whether or not Saxenda is suitable for you.
If you are deemed suitable for the medication, the prescription will be issued to you and you will be able to start using Saxenda. It’s important to note that the first injection (dose administration) of Saxenda should be made by a qualified medical professional, such as your own nurse or doctor.
What are the Side Effects of Saxenda?
Like all medications, Saxenda can cause a range of side effects.
Very common side effects include:
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Being sick (vomiting)
However, these side effects usually go away after a few days or weeks of taking Saxenda.
Common side effects of Saxenda affect up to 1 in 10 people, and include:
- Problems affecting the stomach and intestines - such as indigestion (dyspepsia), inflammation in the lining of the stomach (gastritis), stomach discomfort, upper stomach pain, heartburn, feeling bloated, wind (flatulence), belching and dry mouth.
- Feeling weak or tired
- Changed sense of taste
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) - this usually occurs in the first 3 months of treatment
- Injection site reactions (such as bruising, pain, irritation, itching and rash)
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) - the warning signs of low blood sugar may come on suddenly and can include: cold sweat, cool pale skin, headache, fast heartbeat, feeling sick, feeling very hungry, changes in vision, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, being nervous, being anxious, confusion, difficulty concentrating and shaking (tremor). Your doctor will tell you how to treat low blood sugar and what to do if you notice these warning signs
- Increase of pancreatic enzymes, such as lipase and amylase.
If you experience any of these side effects, talk to your doctor or nurse who will be able to advise you. For more information about other, less common side effects of Saxenda please see the Saxenda Patient Information Leaflet.
If you get symptoms such as breathing problems, swelling of the face and throat and a fast heartbeat after taking Saxenda, see a doctor immediately.
You Should Not Take Saxenda if...
Saxenda can interact negatively with some other medications, so it’s important to tell your doctor if you are taking any other drugs before they prescribe Saxenda. It’s particularly important to inform your doctor if you’re currently taking:
- Any other, oral anticoagulants
- Diabetic medication that falls into the sulfonylurea category
This will allow the doctor to conduct a thorough assessment of your needs while taking Saxenda.
Can you Drink Alcohol While Taking Saxenda??
This depends on your individual circumstances. If you’re currently taking Saxenda, it’s important that you speak with your doctor before drinking alcohol to see what they recommend. Always follow the directions given to you by your doctor.
If you are diabetic, it’s likely that you will be advised to avoid heavy alcohol use as this can have an effect on blood glucose levels and could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Either way, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about anything you’re unsure of, as they will understand your needs and therefore be able to give you the most relevant and accurate advice.
How long can you continue taking Saxenda?
Alongside Saxenda, your doctor will likely recommend a diet plan and exercise regime to encourage weight loss. It’s important to follow these suggestions in order to maximise your overall weight loss. After 12 weeks of using Saxenda, you will have to be assessed by a doctor. They will then be able to determine the effectiveness of the treatment and decide whether or not you should continue using Saxenda.
If at the 12 week (3 month) assessment, you have lost at least 5% of your body weight then you should be able to continue using Saxenda. However, if at the assessment you have no lost at least 5% of your initial starting weight, or the doctor feels the treatment is not suitable for you, then it’s likely that you will be advised to discontinue your use of the medication.
Either way, it’s important that you always consult your doctor before continuing or discontinuing Saxenda at this point. As they will also need to assess the other ways in which the medication affects you.
If at any point during your treatment, you experience severe pain in the upper abdomen, your back or your right shoulder, you should stop taking Saxenda and contact a doctor immediately.
Advice on Addiction and Medication Restrictions
If you are at all worried or concerned about an addiction to any type of medication, we urge you to speak to a professional for help and advice. Below are links to organisation that can help.
Talk To Frank
NHS Help & Advice On Drug Addiction