Best Saxenda Injection Sites for weight loss The image shows two Saxenda pens and a woman grabbing her belly.

Best Saxenda Injection Sites For Weight Loss

August 18. 2023

When starting a new weight management medication, having all the tips and tricks can make the treatment work even better. From the best time of day to take Mounjaro or Ozempic to the top Saxenda injection sites – those tips can take your medical weight loss journey to the next level.

Today’s article will focus on Saxenda’s injection devices and the best spots to apply the shot. We understand that subcutaneous injectable pens are new for many people, and some may be nervous about what injecting this medication feels like. Learning about Saxenda injection sites and how the pens work will make you feel more comfortable and secure when taking your shot. Continue reading to find out more about injectable pens and valuable tips on taking Saxenda.

What is Saxenda?

Saxenda is a weight control medication that counts on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval since 2014. That makes it one of the first approved medications of its class. Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical company produces Saxenda and other successful anti-obesity medications, such as Wegovy and Ozempic weight loss. On average, individuals taking Saxenda experience about 6.4% of body weight reduction.

Saxenda’s active ingredient – liraglutide – was initially used to develop a type 2 diabetes mellitus medication under the brand name Victoza. Since liraglutide showed significant weight loss results during clinical trials, Novo Nordisk produced a new drug called Saxenda. Then, healthcare providers could prescribe liraglutide (Saxenda) exclusively for weight loss purposes. The medication works in combination with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. Saxenda, diet, and exercise are all part of a team in supporting body weight reduction; those elements are crucial to losing weight.

Like most drugs, Saxenda has a list of potential side effect the patient may develop. Since Saxenda’s effect mostly happen on the digestive system, the most common adverse effects are gastrointestinal-related. Typically, Saxenda causes:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach upset
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness

Patients can manage gastrointestinal symptoms by eating bland foods, drinking plenty of water, and crossing from their shopping list some unhealthy foods to avoid while on Saxenda.

How does this medication promote weight loss?

Saxenda is a highly effective anti-obesity medication, but how does Saxenda work to promote weight loss? Liraglutide – Saxenda’s active compound – belongs to a drug class known as incretin mimetics or receptor agonists. Those drugs’ chemicals bind to the cells’ receptors and activate a response. In the case of liraglutide, this drug is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, meaning it activates the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) incretin hormone.

GLP-1 is a naturally occurring gut hormone that works in our digestive system and the hunger area of the brain. After eating, our bodies release GLP-1 hormones to slow digestion and decrease blood sugar levels. GLP-1 promotes insulin secretion from the pancreas while indicating the liver to reduce glucose (sugar) production. Besides helping to lower blood sugar levels, that causes a slow gastric emptying effect. What does slow gastric emptying mean? When you eat, the food intake will remain in your stomach for longer; it will take food more time to pass into the small intestine.

Slow gastric emptying results in reduced appetite; when having a meal or snack, you will get full faster and remain satisfied for longer. It is a similar effect to other popular appetitive suppressants, such as Phentermine for weight loss.

But GLP-1 takes appetite reduction one step forward by also targeting the hunger region of the brain, the hypothalamus. The GLP-1 incretin hormone signals the hypothalamus that we are full, ceasing food-seeking behavior.

Saxenda dosage form and administration

Liraglutide comes as a liquid solution inside subcutaneous injections. Saxenda treatment has a titration period; individuals start by taking a low dose which is increased weekly until reaching the maximum dosage.

Saxenda is a daily medication; your healthcare provider will advise you to take the shot at the same time every day to guarantee safety and efficacy. During the first week, you will take 0.6mg each day; after five weeks, you will reach the highest dose of 3mg per day. That is when most patients start to see significant bodyweight reduction. If, during the titration period, you wonder Why am I not losing weight on Saxenda? you should know that that is normal. The first five weeks serve for your body to adapt to the medication safety and not develop too many side effects.

What are injectable pens?

Many new weight management medications besides Saxenda use injectable pens as their administration form. Ozempic, Mounjaro, and the upcoming novel drug retatrutide are some examples. And while injection pens are common among diabetes treatments, they can be a little intimidating for someone who never used one before. But you have nothing to worry about; injectable pens are totally user-friendly!

Injectable pens, also called injector pens or subcutaneous injections, are disposable or reusable devices that resemble a lot of markers in size and shape. They are used to administer a liquid drug directly into the subcutaneous tissue (the tissue between your skin and muscles). Injector pens have a small, thin needle attached to the tip, covered with a cap. Since the needle is small, taking your Saxenda shot will be almost painless.

Saxenda pens are disposable, meaning that after completing the dose, you must discard them and purchase a new one. How long a pen lasts depends on which dosage you are on. Since Saxenda’s pens come prefilled with 3ml, one pen will last for 17 days at the beginning of the treatment. At the highest dosage of 3mg per day, one single pen will last for six days.

How to use Saxenda injection pens

Injectable pens are easy to use; you can even administer the injection yourself. Before starting the treatment, a healthcare provider from a weight loss clinic in Chicago will explain how the pen works, tell you the best Saxenda injection sites, and they will answer all your questions. Here is a quick guide on how to use a Saxenda injectable pen.

Start by removing the pen cap, like you would remove the cap from a marker. Before injecting, always check that the liquid inside the pen window is clear and colorless. If the medication looks cloudy or yellowish, dispose of the pen and use a new one.

After you confirm the medication is good, it’s time to attach the needle to the pen. You have to use a new needle for every Saxenda shot. Take the needle, pull off the paper tab, and carefully attach it straight into the pen; turn until tight.

The first time you use a pen, you must check the flow. If you have already used the pen for another dose, skip this step and move on to the next one. To check the flow, you only have to turn the dose selector until you see the flow symbol. Then, hold the injectable pen with the needle pointing up, and push the dose button until a few drops fall and the dose counter returns to zero.

Adjust the dose by turning the selector until you see your current dosage on the dose counter. Now you can proceed to inject the Saxenda dose. Insert the needle in one of the Saxenda injection sites you choose. Then press and hold the dose button until the counter returns to zero. Count slowly to six before removing the needle to guarantee all the medication got delivered.

Where to inject Saxenda for weight loss

Saxenda is administered through subcutaneous injections; that means you inject the drug into the layer of fat under your skin without penetrating the muscle tissue. Never inject the shot in veins or muscles; avoid using the injection pen near joints, the navel, the groin area, or scar tissue.

These are the 3 Saxenda injection sites experts recommend:

  • Stomach area (abdomen)
  • Outer upper arm
  • Upper leg (thigh)

Those 3 areas have a ticket layer of fat surrounding the muscle, guaranteeing you don’t inject the needle too deep. Following the list order, those are also the best absorption sites as well.

You can administer the shot yourself or ask a friend or family member to do it for you. The upper leg and stomach area spots are easy to reach on your own. Self-administration can be more challenging at the outer upper arm site. Remember that you must change the injection spot frequently and never inject on the same site twice.

Why is it important to change Saxenda injection sites?

You can administer Saxenda on three different areas (the abdomen, outer upper arm, and thighs). Doctors strongly advise changing the injection spot from one dose to another when using Saxenda for weight loss or insulin resistance belly fat.

Switching the injection spot is crucial to avoid skin redness or irritation and also to prevent other hazards. For example, using the same injection site too many times can result in lipohypertrophy. Lipohypertrophy is a lump of fatty tissue formed under the skin caused by repeated Saxenda or other medication injections. That fat lump will make it more difficult for your body to absorb the drug, making Saxenda less effective.

To avoid lipohypertrophy and skin irritation, change the injection spot frequently. You can use different methods, like taking notes of where you got the last shot or whatever works best for you.

Saxenda injections: before and after tips

Is this your first time using a Saxenda injector pen? Injectable pens are easy to use; you will quickly catch up on how they work and how to administer them. These are a few useful tips to follow before and after you take your shot:

Before taking the shot

  • Wash your hands with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
  • Clean the injection spot; you can use alcohol and cotton pads.
  • Check the pen flow and the color of the drug.
  • Make sure you select a different spot from your last injection.
  • If this is your first time taking Saxenda and you are nervous about the shot, lying down can help your body to relax.

After taking Saxenda

  • Take out the needle and dispose of it in a sharp disposal container.
  • Put the cap back on – it helps protect the medication from direct light exposure. 
  • If the pen is out of medication, throw it away in a proper container.
  • Take note of the injection site to avoid repeating the spot.

Other useful tips

  • Liraglutide is sensitive to light; don’t expose it to direct sunlight.
  • Agonist receptor medications for weight loss are also temperature-sensitive. Ask your healthcare provider how long can Ozempic be out of the fridge.
  • Never freeze a Saxenda pen. If the liquid got frozen, discard the pen. 

Final thoughts

Now you know how injectable pens work and the best Saxenda injection sites to lose weight. Saxenda subcutaneous injections are easy to use, and you can give the shot yourself, making them more convenient than syringes and other injectable devices. Do you still have questions about injector pens or Saxenda vs. Ozempic injections? Our team can help you clear all your doubts. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about medical weight loss treatments.

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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