What is Saxenda? 

Saxenda is a GLP-1 medication which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of obesity in adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 27, with comorbidities such as hypertension or dyslipidemia, or individuals who have obesity (BMI of over 30). It is a potent selective GLP-1 receptor agonist that has been shown to reduce the hunger and increase the feeling of fullness in subjects with high BMI. Saxenda is one of the weight loss medications that may be prescribed by an Alfie healthcare provider for weight loss or a weight-related medical condition. It is produced by Novo Nordisk.

Saxenda should not be taken by individuals with a personal or family history of MTC or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), in patients with a prior serious hypersensitivity reaction to liraglutide or to any of the ingredients in Saxenda, or in patients with a history of pancreatitis.

Generic Name and Class

The active ingredient in Saxenda is liraglutide. Liraglutide is a synthetic peptide that acts like a naturally occurring hormone in the body called GLP-1. Liraglutide works by slowing the stomach from emptying and acting as an appetite suppressant, which helps you feel full after eating. It also slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, which helps keep blood sugar levels under control.

How it works

GLP-1 is a natural hormone in your body that acts on your brain to regulate your appetite and food intake. By acting like GLP-1, Saxenda lowers your appetite and how much food you eat to help you lose weight.

GLP-1s lead the pancreas to produce insulin after meals to bring down blood sugar. They also bind to receptors in the brain to suppress appetite. These receptors release chemicals that help diminish the desire to eat, reducing your hunger. GLP-1s are natural chemicals, but don't last long within the human body. That's why taking GLP-1s can help reduce your weight even though your body already produces its own.

Is this prescription effective for weight loss? 

Saxenda is one of the fastest, most reliable methods to help you lose weight quickly and safely, and has been shown in clinical trials to help individuals lose an average of 10% of their initial body weight, when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, compared to participants who took a placebo.

How much does Saxenda Cost?

Saxenda may be an expensive medication, with an out-of-pocket cost above $1,000. Alfie works with the vast majority of commercial and employer insurance plans in order to get coverage for your doctor-prescribed medication.

Saxenda is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

Can I get a Coupon for Saxenda?

Coupons for Saxenda are available through Novo Nordisk's website.

How do injection pens work?

Saxenda is injected once daily under the skin via a simple pen injector syringe, but don't worry, you won't be able to see the needle. Saxenda can be injected from the comfort of your own home without a healthcare provider or clinician present, and are simple to use. Shots of Saxenda are injected into the fatty tissue just beneath the skin's surface and should be injected once weekly at the same time each day. You should store Saxenda in a refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F or at room temperature for shorter amounts of time.

If your doctor prescribes Saxenda, he or she will walk you through the process of injecting it into your abdomen or upper thigh. Someone else can inject the medicine into your upper arm if you are unable to do it yourself.

If you are prescribed Saxenda, you can visit their webpage here for instructions on how to administer the medication, or visit the quick start guide here.

Understanding your dosage

GLP-1 injectable medications are offered via a step-up approach, meaning your Alfie healthcare professionals (either an MD or NP) will prescribe a higher dose as your progress through the program until you are at the full dose. This helps minimize the risk of any side effects of taking the medication.

Saxenda comes in 5 different dose strengths. You start Saxenda at a dose of 0.6 mg once a day and increase the dose every week until you reach the full dose of 3 mg. It’ s important to follow the dosing schedule as recommended by your health care provider.

Potential Side Effects

Side effects of Saxenda are extremely rare and over 95% of individuals who take these medications do not experience side effects. In those that do, nausea or indigestion is often the most common and typically resolves within the first month of being on the medication.

Other common side effects of Saxenda mediations include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, dyspepsia, dizziness, abdominal distention, eructation, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes, flatulence, gastroenteritis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Taking GLP-1 medications may also put you at serious risk of hypoglycemia or acute kidney injury if you are taking another similar medication at the same time.

The GLP-1 class of drugs isn't recommended if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). They're also not recommended if you've had pancreatitis. If you have any concerns about your family history and ability to take a GLP-1 receptor agonist medication, talk to your primary care provider.

Saxenda Reviews

  • Verified Saxenda user: "So far I have lost 22kgs, I have no sugar cravings and my appetite is right down, making sure I eat healthy meals is the only challenge as I do not feel like eating. But I could not recommend this enough to any who really struggles with food and weight loss." 
  • Verified Saxenda user: "Taking .25 a week and on day 13 I have lost 14.5 lbs and no side effects. Went from 253 to 238.5 and did not change my diet. I was already watching what I ate but not losing any weight."
  • Verified Saxenda user: "I am not diabetic but I started using Ozempic for weight loss. I took my first injection 5 days ago and I feel like a different person. I have been energized, great mood, no cravings for sweets and I get full very quickly when I finally do want to eat."

Alternative Medications

Saxenda is one of multiple weight-loss drugs which fit into the GLP-1 category. Other GLP-1 medications include: