What is Saxenda?

Saxenda is a medicine prescribed by doctors to help people who need to lose weight. It uses the active ingredient, liraglutide. It’s typically self-administered once a day by injection just below the skin (subcutaneous injection). Recommended injection sites include the upper arm, front of the thigh, or the top of the waist. If you’re prescribed this medicine, you’ll be given detailed guidance on how, where, and when to use your Saxenda injection pen.

Who can use it?

Saxenda is typically considered for adults classed as obese (having a BMI of 35+) who are struggling to lose weight, have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), and are at high risk of obesity-related health conditions like a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor may also prescribe Saxenda if your BMI is 32.5 or higher and your ethnic origin is Chinese, south Asian, black African, or African Caribbean.  

Who can't use it?

Saxenda isn’t suitable if you:  

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding 

  • Have an allergy to liraglutide or any of the other ingredients found in Saxenda 

  • Live with a liver or kidney condition  

Make your doctor aware of any existing health conditions so they can ensure Saxenda is suitable for you to take. They’ll also need to know what other medicines you’re currently taking.  

How it works

The active ingredient in Saxenda, liraglutide, mimics a hormone in your body called glucacon-like peptide (GLP 1). This hormone tells receptors in your brain when you’re full, meaning it can help to control your appetite and reduce hunger pangs. This in turn can reduce the amount you eat and contribute to weight loss. It is most effective when combined with regular exercise and a low-calorie diet.  

Will it help me to lose weight?

Saxenda starts working straight away, so you should notice a change in your appetite quite quickly. Liraglutide helps to regulate blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling fuller for longer and stabilising sudden spikes and dips in blood sugar that can lead to cravings. It’s estimated that successful treatments lead to an average weight loss of 1-2lbs per week over the initial course of treatment.

Weight loss treatments have been found to be most effective when used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet and regular physical activity. Aim for a calorie deficit each day (where you’re burning more calories through activity than you’re consuming through food and drink).  

Frequently asked questions

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