The weight loss race: How Long Does It Take For Saxenda to Work? The image shows Saxenda pens and a woman holding a clock.

The weight loss race: How Long Does It Take For Saxenda to Work?

August 8. 2023

The clock is ticking, and everybody wants to get that summer body before beach time arrives. It is common for a weight loss clinic in Chicago to hear how long does it take for Saxenda to work? – especially when hot weather is just around the corner. Timing is a challenging factor to determine when embarking on a weight loss journey. Losing weight tends to take some time and patience; thankfully, you can shorten that time with a medical weight management treatment.

Whether it is Saxenda, Ozempic weight loss, or a personalized low-calorie diet, expecting results overnight will only lead to frustration. Being patient and giving your body time to adapt to the medication or eating changes will make your path toward weight loss more pleasant and manageable.

Nevertheless, we understand your desire to learn when you will start seeing results and rocking that stunning bikini suit. Continue reading to have a better understanding of Saxenda and how long does it take to work.

Saxenda: an overview

Saxenda is an anti-obesity medication manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. The same pharmaceutical produces other popular weight management drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy. Saxenda has had Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approval since 2014.

Saxenda belongs to a class of weight loss and type 2 diabetes medications known as incretin mimetics. Simply put, they mimic the action of natural hormones involved in different metabolic processes. Saxenda comes in injectable pens, also known as subcutaneous injections. Those devices are easy to use and relatively painless – perfect for people afraid of syringes or big needles. When you begin a new treatment, your healthcare professional will teach you how to use the pens and tell you the best place to inject Mounjaro for weight loss. You must take Saxenda every day, ideally at the same time to guarantee its full effectiveness.

Doctors can prescribe Saxenda for adults or adolescents who meet the following eligibility criteria:


  • Must have obesity – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher
  • Or overweight – a BMI of 27 or higher – and a weight-related health condition (diabetes, PCOS, cardiovascular problems)


  • Must be between 12-17 years old
  • Body weight of 130 pounds (60kg) or higher and obesity

Saxenda is prescribed along with a healthy meal plan and increased physical activity. Like Phentermine for weight loss or other medical programs, lifestyle changes are necessary to reach weight loss goals.

How does Saxenda promote weight loss?

We must explain how this medication works to answer the question: How long does it take for Saxenda to work?

How does Saxenda work for weight loss? As mentioned, this drug belongs to the incretin mimetics class, also known as receptor agonists. Saxenda’s active ingredient – liraglutide – activates glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) gut hormone. That hormone participates in metabolic processes that help lower blood sugar levels and control appetite. After we eat, the GLP-1 hormone activates and indicates the pancreas to release insulin.

Why is insulin secretion so crucial? Our digestive system turns our food intake into glucose (sugar). The body uses glucose as its primary energy source, but for glucose to enter the cells, it needs the help of a hormone. Have you guessed what that hormone is? Insulin. Insulin works as the key that opens the cells’ door for sugar to go inside and be used as fuel.

Individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance can’t manage insulin as they should. When this happens, glucose builds up in the bloodstream causing high blood sugar levels and more fat storage production. That is why diabetes and weight gain are deeply linked. GLP-1 receptor agonists make the pancreas secrete more insulin hormones and reach a blood sugar healthy range. GLP-1 effect also produces a slow gastric emptying, meaning food stays longer in your stomach when you eat. Besides that metabolic change, GLP-1 also targets the hunger area of the brain, causing even more appetitive suppression.

Saxenda promotes weight loss by inducing slow gastric emptying and signaling the brain that we are full. In other words, this weight loss medication helps you stick to a low-calorie diet, reach a calorie deficit, and attain weight loss faster than ever.

Average weight loss with Saxenda

Saxenda was tested for weight loss during SCALE (Satiety and Clinical Adiposity−Liraglutide Evidence in Nondiabetic and Diabetic people) clinical trials. 5,000 people with obesity or overweight participated in the Phase III SCALE clinical trial, which lasted for 56 weeks. Participants were given Saxenda’s highest dosage or a placebo. They also received counseling about practicing healthy lifestyle changes – committing to a healthy diet and performing regular physical activity.

Clinical studies showed that participants on Saxenda lost substantial weight loss compared to those on the placebo. During the 56 weeks the study lasted, an average of 60% of participants taking Saxenda lost about 6.4% of body weight. At the same time, 30% of individuals on Saxenda experienced around 10% of bodyweight reduction.

How long does it take for Saxenda to work?

When can you expect to get that summer body when using Saxenda? Saxenda is a medication that produces changes in our metabolism to suppress appetite. Since not all bodies react the same to this weight loss drug, determining how long it takes for Saxenda to promote weight loss is a challenging task.

Liraglutide (Saxenda) and retatrutide mechanism of action need time to take place and cause an effect in our bodies. While receptor agonist drugs start working as soon as you begin the treatment, awaiting losing weight overnight is an unrealistic expectation.

Two factors determine how long does Saxenda take to work:

  • Healthy habit changes that MUST accompany the drug.
  • Saxenda’s dosage schedule.

Healthy habit changes

When you start taking Saxenda for weight loss, you must commit to lifestyle changes for the drug to work. Acquiring a new habit can take time; how long that takes will depend mainly on each individual’s ability to incorporate a new habit into their routine.

The faster you start making positive changes in your life, the sooner you will see weight loss or insulin resistance belly fat reduction with Saxenda. On the other hand, if you continue to indulge in unhealthy foods or lead a sedentary life, losing pounds will take longer. Saxenda works like a charm, but if you counteract its effect with unhealthy habits, that will be a losing battle against weight gain.

Saxenda dosing schedule

Saxenda’s dosing schedule greatly concerns how long this medication takes to work. Saxenda is a daily medication that can produce specific side effects. In order to avoid getting intense and intolerable adverse effects, individuals must start the treatment on a low dose. Common side effects of Saxenda include nausea, vomiting, mild stomach pain, diarrhea, tiredness, and headaches. Your healthcare provider will increase the dosage week by week until reaching the maximum allowed.

Saxenda’s treatment starts with 0.6mg each day. At week 5, patients reach the highest dose of 3mg daily. During the first 4 weeks, you are on what is known as the titration period. Beginning the program with Saxenda’s highest dose can make you ill; the titration period allows your body time to adapt and tolerate Saxenda better.

While some people experience weight loss during the first weeks of the treatment, others must pass the titration period to start seeing results. Fingers crossed you are one of the people who experience weight loss during the first week. If not, don’t worry; most patients start noticing substantial weight loss 8 weeks into the treatment.

If you are not losing weight after 16 weeks of taking Saxenda, your doctor will likely advise you to quit the medication. That rarely happens, but some people’s bodies may not react to Saxenda as they should or experience medical reasons for not losing weight.

How to enhance Saxenda weight loss effect

In any weight loss journey, there’s always room for improvement. Are you using Saxenda to get the summer body of your dreams? Follow these tips to ensure the medication’s effectiveness and reach your goals faster:

  • Healthy diet: we can’t stress enough how crucial a proper diet is during your Saxenda treatment. Liraglutide promotes weight loss through appetite suppression; lowering the calorie intake to achieve weight loss is on your side. It’s vital to eat healthy meals and stay away from foods to avoid while on Saxenda that could sabotage your efforts.
  • Physical activity: a sedentary life is one of the leading causes of overweight and other health conditions. Without increased physical activity, losing pounds will be more challenging. Instead, by leading an active life, you will burn more calories and achieve weight loss with Saxenda faster. You can join a gym or start spinning classes – anything that keeps you moving works. Weight loss experts advise engaging in at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to lose weight.
  • Fasting: you don’t need to fast for Saxenda to work, but some patients findfasting benefits by hour helpful to attain more significant weight loss.
  • Sleep: getting enough rest is crucial to lose weight; if you don’t sleep at least 8 hours each night, you may feel more hungry and eat extra calories during the day. Besides, getting sufficient sleep will make you feel more energized. You can use that energy boost to perform physical activities and lose even more weight. 
  • Stick to the schedule: following your healthcare provider’s exact guidelines on how to take Saxenda will guarantee its effectiveness. Take your medication every day at the same time and try never to miss a dose. 

Final thoughts

Establishing a timeline of how long does it take for Saxenda to work can be difficult. The medication rarely takes the same time to produce weight loss in two different people. While you can expect to start seeing substantial weight loss after 8 weeks, others see results sooner or later. We recommend you focus on your own journey and start creating healthy and long-lasting lifestyle habits. Remember the saying: slow and steady wins the race.

The sooner you start the Saxenda treatment, the sooner you will see results. Schedule a call with our team and get one step closer to your dream body.

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.

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