What Does Saxenda Help With?
Saxenda is a branded prescription drug used for the weight management of patients diagnosed with obesity. You can
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What is Saxenda?
The brand Saxenda contains liraglutide, an active drug classified as a
glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist. It reduces one’s appetite and is used with increased exercise and a low-calorie diet.
Saxenda is a liquid solution given via subcutaneous injection. It comes in a pre-filled pen containing 18 mg/3 mL liraglutide solution injected into the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen. Introduction to the body is via a disposable Novo Nordisk needle. It is sold separately and may require a separate prescription in some US states.
What is Saxenda Used for?
Saxenda is a long-term prescription weight loss medication given to people with obesity. But not everyone can take it. One must meet any of these criteria to be eligible for this drug:
Overweight adults (a body mass index or BMI of 27 or more) with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes
Adults with obesity (a BMI of 30 or more)
Children 12 years and older with obesity
Children weighing more than 132 lbs or 60 kg
Is There a Generic Alternative for Saxenda?
Saxenda does not have a generic form. As of writing, it is only made and sold by the company Novo Nordisk.
What is the Dosing for Saxenda?
The Saxenda pen can be set to inject 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg, and 3 mg doses. Typically, the starting dosage for both adults and children is 0.6 mg per day in the first week and is then increased gradually in the following weeks:
Week 2 – 1.2 mg per day
Week 3 – 1.8 mg per day
Week 4 – 2.4 mg per day
Weeks 5 and beyond – 3 mg per day (long-term dose)
If side effects manifest within the period of incrementing doses, your doctor may delay the increase for a few weeks.
Missing a Dose
If you miss a dose, skip it and continue with your schedule as per usual. Don’t take an extra dose to make up for a missed one. But, if you miss more than three doses, call your doctor. You may need to restart the treatment from 0.6 mg per day.
When Should I Take Saxenda?
Saxenda can be injected at any time, independent of meals. It is best to find a specific time of the day convenient for you so you don’t miss a dose.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
Saxenda starts to work a few hours after the first dose, but it may take up to two weeks before you start losing weight. You will be reassessed by your doctor after 3 or 4 months to check the progress. If the reassessment shows you’ve lost a healthy amount of weight, the treatment will proceed. Otherwise, he or she may recommend another type of medication.
What are the Side Effects?
Like other prescription drugs, it comes with side effects that may or may not be experienced by the person who takes it. Let’s look at the most common ones below:
Mild Saxenda Side Effects
Indigestion and bloating
Serious Saxenda Side Effects
Allergic or hypersensitivity reaction – flushed skin, rashes, swelling around the eyes, the difficulty of breathing, itchiness
Symptoms of hypoglycemia – cold sweat, fat heartbeat, constant hunger, confusion, irritability, dizziness, shakiness, nausea
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis – abdominal pain that radiates to the back, fever, vomiting, nausea
Symptoms of a gallbladder problem – severe abdominal pain, fever, jaundice, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, pale stool
Depression that may lead to suicidal thoughts or actions
* Symptoms of medullary thyroid cancer and multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome Type 2 (MEN 2) – a lump in the neck, hoarseness of voice, difficulty breathing and swallowing
* This is noted in Saxenda’s boxed warning, a type of label mandated by the FDA for the most serious side effects.
Can Saxenda be Taken with Weight Loss Supplements?
It has not been evaluated in combination with weight loss supplements. As a formulated medication, it can change how other drugs are absorbed by the body. Before taking other pills (supplements, vitamins, or non-prescription medications) with this, it is best to consult your doctor first.
How Do You Store and Dispose of Saxenda Pens?
Saxenda pens usually expire a year after they have been dispensed from the pharmacy. The exact date should be indicated on the packaging.
Unopened Saxenda pens should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature of 2°C to 8°C or 36°F to 46°F. Keep in mind that they should not be frozen or used if they have been frozen.
On the other hand, opened Saxenda pens can be kept in the refrigerator or at room temperature of 15°C to 30°C or 59°F to 86°F. Keep them away from heat and light. Saxenda lasts for 30 days when stored as mentioned. Regardless of whether the pen still contains medication or not after 30 days, it should be disposed of.
Remove the lancet or needle and replace the cap after every use. Never store a pen with a needle attached.
As with other medical and sharps wastes, pens and needles should be disposed of in a labeled container for needles and sharps. This is to prevent children and pets from harming themselves or taking drugs accidentally. There are FDA-approved sharps containers available online or in local pharmacies.
What are the Alternative Medications for Saxenda?
If Saxenda does not work for your weight management regimen, your doctor will prescribe you an alternative. Some options are:
Orlistat (Brands: Xenical, Alli)
Semaglutide (Brand: Wegoby)
Naltrexone-bupropion (Brand: Contrave)
Phentermine (Brands: Adipex-P, Lomaira)
Phentermine-topiramate (Brands: Qsymia)
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