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Saxenda (Liraglutide)

What is a daily injection?


This medication was initially approved for diabetic patients in 2009 to help control their blood sugar and their diabetes. One of the side effects noted was weight loss. This prompted the manufacturer to carry out clinical trials using the drug for weight loss. Following the results, the manufacturer created a new version of the medication specifically for weight loss in 2017. It has recently been approved by NICE as safe to use by the NHS for Tier 3 Weight Management.

What is it?

The medication comes as a pre-filled injectable pen under the brand name Saxenda. The manufacturer advises that you inject once a day. This in an area where you can pinch a good amount of subcutaneous fat. You use a CLEAN and NEW needle every day, disposing of the needle after each injection.

It contains the active ingredient Liraglutide. Liraglutide is similar to a hormone in the body called glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1). This is an appetite hormone that helps regulate your hunger and is released by the intestines after a meal. The medication therefore helps you feel fuller and less hungry.

It is used as an adjunct to a calorie controlled diet and light exercise.

What is the dosage?

The starting dose for Saxenda is 0.6mg per day. Official titration guidelines from the manufacturer then recommend increasing the dose each week until you reach the full 3mg daily dose, which is then used for continual maintenance.

Can weight loss occur with these medications?


During clinical trials, patients saw better results in losing weight when compared to using a placebo injection over the course of 56 weeks.

In summary;

63% lost at least 5% of body weight

33% lost at least 10% body weight

15% lost at least 15% of body weight

The full results can be found here.

Furthermore, up to 80% of participants were found to keep the weight off a year later. But please know that everyone is different, so your weight loss may be more or it could be less . Try not to compare yourself to others losing weight - focus on yourself, your goals and your progress.

For more information from the manufacturer on the medication, please click here.

Who may be suitable for weight loss medication?

The medication may be suitable for an individual, but this must be assessed on a case-by-case scenario. There is no "blanket fit" for people to use prescription-only medications.

According to the manufacturer and the licence for Saxenda, the medication can be used for those with a BMI greater than 30 or those with a BMI greater than 27 (and one weight related co-morbidity e.g. hypertension).

It is also prudent to look at:

  • Your medical history

  • Your current medication

  • Body measurements

  • Current diet & eating habits

  • Current exercise levels

  • Other methods you have already tried

  • Your reasoning for wanting to consider medication


The programme and medication is NOT suitable for:


  • Under 18's or Over 75's

  • Ladies who are breastfeeding or pregnant or actively trying to get pregnant.

  • Anyone who has had pancreatitis or thyroid tumours

  • Anyone with a history or direct family history of MEN2

  • Type 1 diabetics or patients taking diabetic medication

  • Renal (kidney) or liver disease

  • Anyone with heart failure

What about side effects?


Like any new medication introduced to your body, your body will have to adjust to it. Some people get mild side effects, such as headaches, nausea, dry mouth or tiredness. These side effects are generally mild and are transient - which means they will go after a few days once your body has adjusted.

We will send you aftercare information on how to deal with any potential side effects, along with the Patient Information Leaflet which goes into greater detail.

Everyone is different. You may not experience any side effects, you may experience one side effect or several side effects.


Common Side Effects:

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Dry Mouth

  • Constipation

  • Loose Stool

  • Tiredness

  • Stomach Cramps

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any support on dealing with side effects. We are more than happy to advise you.

Adverse Effects:

Adverse effects are rare but they are something you should be aware of.

Adverse effects may include:

  • Palpitations / Fast Heart Rate

  • Pancreatitis

If you experience or feel that you may be experiencing these adverse effects, please stop using the medication & contact 111. When you are safe to do so, please contact us.


There have been no documented cases of an anaphylactic reaction to Liraglutide, Dulaglutide or Semaglutide but as this is a new medication being introduced to your body, we want to make you aware of the possible signs of anaphylaxis.

If you experience swelling of the lips/tongue/throat, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, a severe rash or severe itching, discontinue use immediately and call 999.

How much weight will I lose?

During the current initial clinical trials by the manufacturer, the average weight loss has been calculated as between 10lbs and 18lbs. Everyone is different, so your weight loss may be more or less. Try not to compare yourself to others losing weight - focus on yourself, your goals and your progress. - your safety is paramount.

How many pens will I need?

This depends on what dose you are on, how well you take to the medication and your overall target weight. You may require anywhere between 1 pen and 5 pens per month.

What are the prices?

Please see our treatment options (below).

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