Comparing Saxenda vs Wegovy: Which Reigns Supreme?

Comparing Saxenda vs. Wegovy: Which Reigns Supreme?

July 18. 2023

As obesity and weight-related conditions continue to rise, more and more people look for effective methods to achieve weight loss. Luckily, new weight loss medications that promote substantial results have been developed in the last few years. These novel prescription medications, such as retatrutide vs. tirzepatide, often lead to debates. Everyone wants to have all the possible information before choosing a medical weight loss treatment. And that is a smart move; selecting the suitable method for you will guarantee a better outcome. Saxenda vs. Wegovy is the debate we present today.

Wegovy and Saxenda are two weight loss medications developed by the same pharmaceutical company. In many ways, both drugs act very similarly, but they still have their differences. Learning more about each one will help you find out which one suits your goals better. Continue reading this article, where our weight loss clinic in Chicago explains all you must know about Saxenda vs. Wegovy.

What is Saxenda?

Let’s begin by breaking down each of these weight-loss drugs. Saxenda is manufactured by Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical company, the same pharmaceutical that produced Ozempic weight loss. Saxenda was launched in 2014 for weight loss management treatment. Liraglutide is this medication’s active ingredient. Liraglutide was first approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in 2010 under the brand Victoza for type 2 diabetes mellitus treatment. Clinical trials showed this active ingredient weight loss side effect, and Novo Nordisk launched liraglutide as an anti-obesity drug under the brand Saxenda.

Liraglutide is a receptor agonist that mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone is naturally produced in our gut, and it’s responsible for regulating appetite and metabolic functions. While this peptide hormone is produced in our bodies, it has a short half-life of between 2 to 5 minutes. This rapid degradation is highly limiting; Saxenda’s receptor agonist – resistant to enzyme degradation – overcomes this obstacle.

All medical weight loss programs that include this medication also require lifestyle changes from the patient. In combination with a balanced diet and regular physical activity, Saxenda promotes substantial body weight reduction. Some individuals opt for a low-calorie diet plus fasting benefits by hour to reach their weight goals.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is the most recent FDA-approved anti-obesity medication. This drug has a similar story to Saxenda. In 2018, Novo Nordisk released Ozempic for type 2 diabetes management. Soon after, Ozempic’s active compound, semaglutide, proved to be highly efficient in promoting weight loss. Therefore, the pharmaceutical company started to work towards using semaglutide for weight management purposes. In 2021, semaglutide was released under the brand name Wegovy – a medication for body weight reduction. However, doctors sometimes still prescribe Ozempic off-label for weight control. But since Wegovy is allowed in a higher dosage, it promotes better results. If you are not losing weight on Ozempic, switching to Wegovy can help you boost your weight loss efforts.

Wegovy also mimics the GLP-1 hormone; consequently, this medication’s mechanism of action is similar to the one of Saxenda. GLP-1 helps regulate food intake and appetite. Therefore, a low-calorie diet and exercise are vital to complete this weight loss program and achieve body weight reduction. An appropriate semaglutide diet plan is critical for this drug to deliver its full efficacy and take you to your dream eight.

How do Saxenda and Wegovy promote weight loss?

Since Saxenda and Wegovy’s active ingredients – liraglutide and semaglutide – activate the same hormone, they have a very similar mechanism of action to promote weight loss. Their main difference relies on other aspects, such as their dosage schedule, but we will discuss that further below. Liraglutide and semaglutide mimic GLP1-; this peptide hormone plays a role in appetite, food intake, and insulin function.

How do GLP-1 receptor agonists help with weight loss? After you have a meal or a snack, your blood sugar levels start to rise. That happens because your body turns the carbohydrates from your food intake into glucose. Our bodies use glucose (sugar) as their primary source of energy. When we eat, the pancreas releases insulin, which allows glucose to exit the bloodstream and enter our cells. GLP-1 receptor agonists promote more insulin secretion while indicating the liver to decrease sugar production. This effect provokes a direct impact on our digestive system; it slows gastric emptying. In simple words, gastric emptying is the process by which the food you eat leaves your stomach and moves to the small intestine. When GLP-1 slows down this process, food remains in your stomach longer, making you feel full for longer too. It also causes you to feel satiated faster when eating.

The effect of GLP-1 receptor agonists will make sticking to a low-calorie diet easier than ever, helping you attain weight loss faster. GLP-1 also targets the hunger area of the brain, improving your food choices. This effect doesn’t work the same on each person, but most individuals start making more healthy choices towards food when taking Wegovy or Saxenda. It will be easier to stay away from fatty and greasy foods or other unhealthy Mounjaro foods to avoid.

Saxenda vs. Wegovy

Now that you know how these weight loss medications work, we can discuss Saxenda vs. Wegovy further. Learning about these drugs’ similarities and differences will make it easy for you to make an informed decision when deciding on a medical weight loss program.

Dosage schedule

As mentioned, Saxenda vs. Wegovy main difference lies in the dosage schedule. You will begin the treatment at a low dose and increase it gradually with both medications. That allows your body to adjust to the drug properly. The higher the dosage, the better the results; however, not every patient needs to reach the maximum allowed dose to experience substantial weight loss.

Saxenda and Wegovy also share their form; they come as a liquid solution given by subcutaneous injections. Before starting the treatment, your healthcare provider will teach you how to use injectable pens – they are really easy to handle – and tell you all bout the best time of day to take Mounjaro, Wegovy, or Saxenda.

With Saxenda, you must take a shot once a day, starting with the lowest dose of 0.6mg. You will increase the dose each week until reaching the fifth week, when you will hit the maximum allowed dose of 3mg per day.

On the other hand, with a Wegovy treatment, you must take the medication only once a week. A weekly schedule can be much more convenient if you have a busy schedule or are traveling with Ozempic or Wegovy. You will start with a dose of 0.25mg each week. Your doctor will gradually increase the dosage month by month. The highest dose possible with Wegovy is 2.4mg a week.

Weight loss efficacy

What patients are often more concerned about is the weight loss efficacy of these medications. Saxenda and Wegovy promote weight loss due to their appetitive suppressant effect; they act somewhat similar to Phentermine for weight loss. Both drugs are highly efficient in aiding weight loss and keeping the weight off; you are likely to achieve your goals with any of them. Nevertheless, during clinical trials, Wegovy proved to be more efficient than Saxenda.

A recent 68-week liraglutide vs. semaglutide study compared the effect of both drugs in 300 adults with obesity (with a body mass index of 30 or higher). The results showed that participants on Wegovy lost up to 15.8% of their body weight when combined with diet and physical activity. Individuals on Saxenda experienced up to 6.4% body weight reduction.

Adverse effects and safety

Both weight loss medications can potentially deliver the same common side effects. However, during the same study just mentioned above, semaglutide was better tolerated by the participants. Common adverse effects of liraglutide and semaglutide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, constipation, and stomach upset. These side effects are often temporary; they tend to intensify when you increase the dosage or right after you take your shot.

Other more severe side effects of Saxenda and Wegovy include pancreatitis, kidney disease, changes in vision, low blood sugar, and severe allergic reactions. Although these adverse effects are rare, it’s vital you attend regular doctor’s appointments during the treatment to ensure your health’s safety.

Health advantages

Besides helping people achieve weight loss and improve their overall health, these medications can also promote other health benefits:

  • Blood sugar management: both Saxenda and Wegovy can help you with glucose level control.
  • Type 2 diabetes: while these medications are prescribed for weight management since they also help control blood sugar levels, they can also improve type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • PCOS: polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition that affects women and can lead to subfertility, insulin sensitivity, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain. Healthcare specialists are considering Ozempic for PCOS treatment. Since Wegovy has the same active ingredient as Ozempic, it could also be a solution to improve this health condition. 
  • Heart disease improvement: during clinical trials, Wegovy and Saxenda were very promising in reducing the risks of heart disease and strokes, lowering cholesterol levels, and improvement of overall cardiovascular health. 


Ozempic and other type 2 diabetes drugs need to be prescribed for weight loss off-label. Others, such as retatrutide for weight loss, are still in the developing stage. But there is no Saxenda vs. Wegovy debate when it comes to FDA approval; this organization approves both drugs for obesity control and weight management. You will find no blockage when requesting a prescription at a professional weight loss center.

Final thoughts

Making a thorough Saxenda vs. Wegovy comparison is necessary when deciding which one to include on your weight loss journey. While both treatments have high levels of efficacy, Wegovy promotes more significant weight loss. However, not every patient reacts the same to these medications or has the same goals. We recommend you discuss your needs and desires with a professional weight loss expert to make a more conscious decision. Are you thinking about boosting your weight loss efforts with a medical program? Schedule a call with us and find the ideal treatment for you!

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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