How does Saxenda work for weight loss The image shows 3 Saxenda injectable pens.

How does Saxenda work for weight loss?

July 14. 2023

Obesity is a severe condition currently affecting the lives of a third of the American population.  When dealing with this health condition, most times, a healthy diet and increased physical activity aren’t enough to achieve substantial weight loss. Thankfully, now we have many medical options to help us achieve our weight goals. One of those options is a medication called Saxenda. Today, our weight loss clinic in Chicago will discuss this medication and its weight loss effects. Do you want to learn about how does Saxenda work to promote body weight reduction? Continue reading!

What is Saxenda?

Saxenda is a chronic weight management medication manufactured by Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical company. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because this is the same pharmaceutical that developed other successful weight loss drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic weight loss. Saxenda weight loss actually came out a few years before the Ozempic boom. This drug was approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in 2014.

Saxenda’s active compound is liraglutide, which helps with weight control in two ways: to achieve weight loss and to keep the weight off after you have lost it. Liraglutide is also the active ingredient in another Novo Nordisk drug: Victoza. While Victoza can aid weight loss, it is only FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes mellitus treatment, not weight management. In the same way, Saxenda is recommended for weight control and not diabetes management. It is unknown whether this drug can help with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in adults or children. Since Saxenda is available in a higher dosage than Victoza, it promotes greater and quicker body weight reduction.

Saxenda and weight loss: how does it work?

Saxenda works for chronic weight management in different ways. Its active ingredient, liraglutide, mimics the work of a naturally occurring hormone: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 is crucial for weight loss; this hormone is part of almost all the most effective medical weight loss drugs.

One of the many ways in which GLP-1 works is by reducing your appetite. This effect is highly beneficial to lose weight, and you can also obtain it from other supplements, such as Phentermine for weight loss. GLP-1 hormone reduces your appetite by being involved in two different processes. First, it acts on your gastrointestinal system; this hormone slows down your gastric emptying. Gastric emptying is how food travels through your digestive system until reaching the small intestine. When this process works slower than usual, food remains in your stomach for longer, making you feel satisfied sooner and stay full for longer. GLP-1 does this by estimating insulin secretion and reducing glucose production, which also helps with blood sugar control. And secondly, the GLP-1 hormone also works in the hunger area of the brain, reducing appetite.

GLP-1 also improves insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance or insulin sensitivity is a condition in which cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin opens the cells’ doors for glucose to get inside; when cells stop responding to this stimulation, that leads to too much glucose in the bloodstream and the body not absorbing nutrients. Excess glucose can lead to high blood sugar levels and also promotes fat storage.

As you can see, Saxenda promotes weight loss by reducing appetite and preventing excess fat storage due to insulin resistance. It’s vital that you commit to lifestyle changes and reach a calorie deficit with increased physical activity and a low-calorie diet.

Who can take this medication?

Saxenda is used in addition to exercise and a healthy diet in adults aged 18 or above. To be eligible and start taking Saxenda, individuals must either:

  • have obesity – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m² or higher,
  • or be overweight – a BMI of 27 kg/m² or higher – and have a weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure or sleep apnea.

If you meet these criteria, you are likely eligible to take Saxenda weight loss. However, you must always consult with your healthcare provider before taking this medication.

This weight loss medication is not recommended if you have a severe gut or stomach condition or if you have heart failure. You shouldn’t use this drug if you have a severe allergic reaction to liraglutide or other Saxenda ingredients. You must consult with your doctor if you have kidney problems or are on dialysis. Saxenda is also not recommended if you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant; this prescription medication could harm the fetus. Avoid using Saxenda if you are already on a diabetes medication, such as Ozempic for PCOS.

Can teenagers use Saxenda?

Childhood obesity affects about 19% of the US children population. In the last few years, new medical weight loss drugs have started to tackle this issue. Saxenda is also indicated for teens aged 12 to 17 who have a body weight above 132 pounds (or 60 kg) and obesity. How does Saxenda work for children? This prescription medication helps teenagers lose weight and keep it off the same way it does with adults. Adolescents must accompany the treatment with a calorie deficit and regular physical activity.

Average weight loss on Saxenda

Saxenda is a highly efficient weight loss medication; when paired with a healthy diet or fasting benefits by hour, you can achieve incredible results. During clinical trials, participants lost 5% body weight during the first eight weeks of using the medication. The average weight loss with Saxenda’s highest dose is about 9.2% body weight reduction. In addition, clinical trials in adolescents showed that 43.3% of the participants lost about 5% of their body weight, while 26.1% experienced 10% or more body weight reduction.

At the beginning of the treatment, individuals always wonder how long this medication takes to work. During the first four weeks, some people experience about 2% to 4% of body weight. Others need to increase their Saxenda dosage to achieve weight loss. If, after 16 weeks into the program, you are not losing weight on Ozempic, Saxenda, or other medications of their class, your healthcare provider may advise you to stop taking them. It could happen that, even when a person does everything correctly, their body still doesn’t respond to the medication. In such rare cases, a doctor can recommend another weight loss medication that may suit you better.

How to use Saxenda: dosage form and strength

Saxenda (liraglutide) comes as a liquid solution inside an injection pen. How does Saxenda injection pen work? Subcutaneous injectable pens are easy to use; they come prefilled, and you only have to adjust the dosage to the one your doctor prescribed to you. You apply the shot by removing the pen cap and injecting the dose under the skin. The best place to inject Mounjaro for weight loss is the abdomen, but you must change the injection spot every time to avoid redness and skin irritation. Your healthcare provider will give you all the guidelines you need to use Saxenda injectable pens correctly.

Unlike other weight loss medications in this class, such as Wegovy or retatrutide, which require weekly injections, you must use Saxenda every day. The Saxenda dosing schedule is also designed a little differently. With most drugs, your doctor increases the dose once a month. How does Saxenda’s schedule work? You will start with the lowest possible dose (0.6mg a day); each week, you will increase the dosage by 0.6mg until reaching the maximum dose of 3mg per day in week 5.

Potential side effects

All drugs and medications come with a list of side effects you must be aware of before you start taking them. Not everyone taking this medication develops adverse effects, but you should still be mindful of them. Saxenda’s side effects can be divided into common and rare ones. The most common side effects of taking Saxenda for weight loss include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, tiredness, dizziness, and weakness.

A good way to minimize the most common side effects of Saxenda is by strictly following the dosage increase calendar. You can also stick to a semaglutide diet plan, free from greasy and fatty foods, which will improve the gastrointestinal side effects.

Rare but serious side effects include inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), severe abdominal pain, increased heart rate, and gallbladder problems. There have also been some reports of severe allergic reactions. If you experience swelling of the tongue or throat or breathing difficulties, seek medical attention immediately and suspend the medication.

Final thoughts

Battling obesity can feel like an uphill battle, but with the right tools, the road can become much more seamless. Medical weight loss treatments are developed to aid weight loss in individuals who can’t achieve their goals with solely diet and physical activity. When combined with some healthy habit changes, a weight loss program can take you to your dream weight faster than you can imagine. Do you want to learn more about how does Saxenda work? Schedule a call with our team; we are always ready to guide you on your weight loss journey!

Nurse Walton


Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *