Saxenda is a weight loss medication that works by reducing your appetite.
The active ingredient in Saxenda is liraglutide, and it’s similar to a hormone you naturally produce called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
Saxenda is made by Novo Nordisk as an easy to use pen injection. For Saxenda to be effective, you need to inject it once a day.
Saxenda is one of the only licensed medications that can be prescribed to help you lose weight. The active ingredient mimics the way your natural appetite hormones work. This gives you an effective way to improve weight loss, alongside more physical activity and a lower calorie diet.
Request Saxenda from Asda Online Doctor by filling in a short online questionnaire. A doctor will review your answers to check if Saxenda is right for you. If Saxenda is not suitable for you, our doctor might recommend an alternative weight loss treatment.
Please note: orders for Saxenda are supplied with needles, but in order to reduce waste and be more eco friendly a sharps bin will not be provided as standard. If you need a sharps bin then you can request one within your questionnaire, and an addtional charge of £1.50 will be added to your order. Please consider using your local clinical waste collection services when disposing of needles.
1 pen pack (£55 per pen) - £55.00
3 pen pack (£48 per pen) - £144.00
5 pen pack (£46 per pen) - £230.00
Saxenda is a once a day injection you can use to help you lose weight.
Saxenda is the weight loss brand name for liraglutide. Liraglutide is also used to lower blood glucose in diabetes under the brand name Victoza but at a different dose. Liraglutide helps you lose weight by reducing your appetite so you do not eat as much as you usually do.
For effective weight loss, you should use Saxenda in combination with:
- a healthy, lower calorie diet
- being more physically active
If you are obese or overweight you’re more likely to develop health problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. By losing weight, you can help prevent these in future.
Saxenda works by reducing your appetite which leads to you eating less. By eating less food you take in fewer calories, so your weight will go down.
Saxenda is a subcutaneous injection, the medication is injected with a short needle, just below the skin. The fatty layer in your skin is what helps you slowly absorb the liraglutide in Saxenda.
Liraglutide works in a similar way to GLP-1, which is a hormone that is naturally found in your body and controls your appetite.
When you eat, your body releases GLP-1 from your intestines and other organs. Your brain responds to GLP-1 by reducing your appetite, so you stop eating.
Natural GLP-1 is quickly broken down by the body’s enzymes. But with liraglutide acting as GLP-1, it lasts longer in your body. This means you will feel more satisfied and less hungry for a longer period of time, leading to weight loss.
You should use Saxenda alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increase how much you exercise. You should not use Saxenda on its own for weight management.
You can use Saxenda to help you to manage your weight if you have a high body mass index (BMI) which is:
- 30 or above
- between 27 to 30 with a weight-related medical problem, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnoea
Saxenda starts at a lower dose which will be increased gradually, over the first 5 weeks of treatment. Your online doctor will tell you how to increase your dose until you reach 3mg a day, which is the maintenance dose. As Saxenda has some side effects, it is recommended to start on a lower dose, until your body gets used to the medication. A common side effect is nausea (feeling sick) which can be lessened by taking gradual doses. Some people will not reach the maintenance dose of 3mg a day because of the side effects they experience.
To use Saxenda, a doctor will give you a plan on how much you need to inject each day. Each week the amount you need to inject will go up, so that you can get used to Saxenda. Always follow the dose plan that your doctor gives you.
Learn more about how to use Saxenda on our Saxenda patient information page.
Saxenda is a pen injection that you use once a day. The pen will last for different periods, depending on your required dose.
When you start using Saxenda you will start with a small dose and build it up over a few weeks of treatment. The goal is to get to a Saxenda dose of 3mg once a day.
Because your dose will change as your treatment goes on, it is not possible to give an exact measurement of how long a single Saxenda pen will last. You can expect a single Saxenda pen to last anywhere from a few days to 2.5 weeks depending on where you are within your treatment.
Saxenda is an injectable medication and comes with a varying amount of needles depending on the dosage required. The amounts of needles provided are:
- 1 Saxenda pen - 21 needles
- 3 Saxenda pens - 42 needles
- 5 Saxenda pens - 56 needles
As you progress through your treatment you will start to take larger doses of Saxenda. This means fewer needles will be used per pen, and this is why the amount varies across different packs.
Serious side effects listed below, are rare and uncommon.
The most common side effects of Saxenda are:
- feeling sick (nausea)
- being sick (vomiting)
These side effects are likely to disappear after your body gets used to Saxenda, normally within the first few weeks of treatment.
Less common side effects of Saxenda are:
- injection site reactions such as irritation, rash or bruising of your skin
- feeling bloated
- dry mouth or a change of taste
- dyspepsia (heartburn)
- difficulty sleeping
- feeling dizzy
- feeling tired
Uncommon side effects of Saxenda are:
- a faster heart rate than usual
- feeling unwell
If you get an allergic reaction after injecting Saxenda, stop using the medication and contact 999 immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include face or throat swelling, difficulty breathing or a fast heartbeat.
If you experience strong abdominal pain after using Saxenda, this could be a sign of an inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis). Stop using Saxenda and contact your doctor immediately.
Saxenda can be used by adults and children over 12 years old and must be prescribed by a doctor, such as Asda Online Doctor. You should not use Saxenda if you are over 75 years old.
If you are pregnant, planning to have a baby or are breastfeeding, do not use Saxenda.
If you have any of the following medical conditions, speak to your doctor before using Saxenda:
- heart failure
- liver problems
- renal or kidney problems (including dialysis)
- inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying)
- inflammation of the gallbladder or gallstones
- thyroid disease, including thyroid tumours
Saxenda is generally safe to use if you are taking other medications as it has very few drug interactions. But if you take medication to treat diabetes, you may have a higher chance of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) when using Saxenda.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for further information or read the patient information leaflet.
You should take weight loss medication while you are on a reduced calorie diet and exercising regularly. If Saxenda is not right for you, there are other types of weight loss medication you can try, such as orlistat.
Orlistat is another medication you can use to manage obesity and weight loss. Xenical is the brand name for prescription strength orlistat (120mg) and Alli is the brand name for over-the-counter orlistat (60mg).
Orlistat comes in capsules and you take 1 capsule with a meal up to 3 times a day. It works by reducing the amount of fat you absorb from your food.
Like Saxenda, you should not use Orlistat for more than 12 weeks (3 months) if you do not lose at least 5% of your starting body weight.
You may want to consider whether the regular medication you are taking may be causing weight gain or making it difficult to lose weight. Certain medications that can cause you to put on weight include lithium tablets, sodium valproate for epilepsy, and some antidepressants. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist to review your medications if you think you might be getting weight gain as a side effect.
It’s possible that you might have an underlying condition that makes it difficult to lose weight, like hypothyroidism. You can request a thyroid function test to check if your thyroid is not working as it should.
If medication for weight loss has not worked for you, your doctor may refer you to a specialist to consider weight loss surgery known as bariatric surgery. This is where you have part of your stomach made smaller, bypassed or partially removed to restrict how much you can eat. You may want to consider weight loss surgery if your BMI is over 35.
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Article created: 05 Jan 2022
Last reviewed: 24 Mar 2022
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Saxenda 6 mg/mL solution for injection (PIL) [Oct 2021] [accessed Dec 2021]
Saxenda® (liraglutide injection 3mg) overview [Nov 2020] [accessed Dec 2021]
Liraglutide (BNF) [accessed Dec 2021]