What is Saxenda?
Saxenda is the brand name for a prescription-only, injectable medication known as Liraglutide. It is a medication approved for weight management as an adjunct to diet and exercise. Liraglutide belongs to a group of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 receptor agonist), also known as incretin mimetics. Saxenda is very similar to a GLP-1, a hormone that occurs naturally in the body which is released in response to food intake and acts as a physiological regulator of appetite and digestion.
GLP-1 that is produced by our body is rapidly broken down, resulting in a short half life of less than 2 minutes. Saxenda mimics GLP-1, but is much longer lasting, with a half life of about 13 hours when injected. Because of its long half life, it can act on the GLP-1 receptor for longer, exerting its physiological effects.
GLP-1 receptors can be found in several organs, including the brain, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, heart, vasculature and kidneys. Saxenda works by binding to the receptors in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus in the brain, where it stimulates satiety and inhibits hunger neurons. Because of this, you eat less, leading to weight loss.
What is the use of Saxenda?
If you are obese, or overweight with weight-related medical problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes), this medication can help with weight loss, and keeping the weight off. Saxenda is meant to be used alongside diet control and exercise.
A study published in 2017 was conducted with 3731 patients followed up over 56 weeks. The patients either had a BMI of 30 or more without diabetes, or a BMI of 27 or more with at least one weight related-medical problem. These patients were split into two groups. Both groups were told to control their diet and exercise.
One group was given Saxenda and the other group was given a placebo. 1 of 3 patients treated with Saxenda achieved weight loss of more than 10%. Patients treated with Saxenda who completed the trial achieved a mean weight loss of 9.2% and kept the weight off for the one year follow up. Patients also experienced multiple improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors.
How to use Saxenda?
Saxenda is an injectable medicine usually given once per day. It is injected under the skin at any time of the day (usually in the morning), with or without a meal. There are a variety of places you can inject, but most commonly, it is injected into the skin around the abdomen. It comes in a prefilled injection pen with disposable needles. The doctor will teach you exactly how to inject this medication, and to use a different spot to inject each time.
Who is suitable for use of Saxenda?
You are suitable if you are
- overweight (BMI ≥27) with weight-related medical problems (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes)
- obese (BMI ≥30) with or without weight-related medical problems
Who should not use Saxenda?
If you are currently on insulin for treatment of Diabetes, Saxenda may not be suitable for you. The safety of Saxenda has not been studied when taken with other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal weight-loss product. It is not known if Saxenda can be used safely in people who have had pancreatitis.
Saxenda is not recommended for use in children. The safety of Saxenda has not been evaluated in the specific treatment of Type 2 Diabetes (even though another medication known as Victoza has the same active ingredient).
Are there any side effects when using Saxenda?
The most common side effect of Saxenda are gastrointestinal and can include nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, abdominal pain and flatulence. Some patients may get headaches, low blood sugar, dizziness, fatigue or changes in taste as well. It is generally well tolerated and doctors will gradually increase the dose over a few weeks to minimize risk of side effects
What are other weight-loss treatment options?
Diet control and exercise are the mainstays of treatment for weight loss. Even Saxenda is meant to be used as an adjunct to diet control and exercise for weight loss. There are other medications to suppress appetite and decrease absorption of fat or carbohydrates from the gut as well. You can find more information from this page https://www.dtapclinic.com/family-medicine/weight-loss-treatment/
What are the pros and cons of Saxenda as compared to other treatment options?
The main drawback is that Saxenda is an injectable medication. Most other weight loss medications are in the form of oral tablets. Having said that, we know that Saxenda is a powerful tool in weight management.
Discuss with your doctor about the suitability of the medications for you. If you are interested to find out more about Weight Loss Treatments, please call our Clinics or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment with our doctors.