Losing weight can be a constant battle for some people. Our weight loss injections can help.
Saxenda is an injectable treatment for weight loss, marketed by Novo Nordisk. It contains a medicine called liraglutide, and is administered daily. Saxenda is an injection treatment for weight loss marketed in the UK By Novo Nordisk. It contains an ingredient called liraglutide, which is a synthetic derivative of GLP-1. Liraglutide is also the active constituent of the diabetes medication Victoza. However, whereas Victoza is licensed for the treatment of diabetes, Saxenda is specifically licensed for weight loss.
Persons using Saxenda are also invited to sign up to Weight Journey, which is a free support tool for those using this treatment. Obesity is a significant health issue in the UK. Around two thirds of UK adults are either overweight or obese. Being overweight increases the risk of several conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, sleep apnoea and joint and muscle pain. Sometimes, being overweight can have a negative impact on self-esteem too.
The BMI (body mass index) formula is typically used to determine whether someone is a healthy weight or overweight. It can be calculated by:
Using metric measurements; taking a person’s weight in kilograms, then dividing this by their height in metres squared
Categorisation in different countries can vary. In the UK, a BMI of:
18.5 or less is classed as underweight
between 18.5 and 25 indicates a healthy weight
over 25 is classed as overweight
over 30 is considered as obese
There are some drawbacks to the BMI model (for instance, it cannot make a distinction between fat and muscle, and therefore cannot determine a person’s body fat percentage). However, it is widely used as a clinical tool to help doctors ascertain whether or not someone is a healthy weight. To help lower the risk of developing weight-related illness, persons who are obese or significantly overweight will typically be advised to try and lose weight through a combination of diet and exercise. When losing weight, it is important to do so in a steady, controlled manner.
Losing too much weight too quickly can lead to ‘yo-yoing’, where drastic weight loss is quickly followed by weight gain. In cases where a person has tried to lose weight but not been able to do so through diet and exercise alone, they may be prescribed medication to help them reach their target weight. However, medication is only effective if the person taking it also practices regular exercise and maintains a healthy, balanced, reduced-calorie diet.
Saxenda is an injection which is taken every day. The acting constituent, liraglutide, works by simulating the function of glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1. A hormone, GLP-1 is released by the gut after the consumption of a meal. It works as an agonist on receptors in the brain which manage appetite. By mimicking the function of GLP-1, Saxenda thereby helps the person taking it to feel less hungry.
Saxenda is licensed for use in those with a BMI of:
30 or over;
or 27 or over where weight-related health issues are also present, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
If you are trying to lose weight and considering whether medication might be able to help you, speak to your doctor. They will be able to assist in putting together a diet and exercise plan, and discuss whether weight loss treatment is right for you.
Those looking to renew their prescription and buy Saxenda following a consultation with our pharmacists. The consultation will involve:
Discussion around weight loss
A health check involving taking measurements and testing for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol
Explanation of the options available
How Saxenda works and its mode of action, side effects and how to administer the injection daily
Tips on how to support weight loss
Any questions you may have and additional advice we can provide
Read the patient information leaflet fully before use, and follow the instructions issued by your prescriber when taking this medicine. This will help you to limit the likelihood of side effects and ensure the medication works at its optimum.
Saxenda needs to be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise plan in order to be effective.
Treatment is commenced on a low dose. This is increased in steps over the following 5 weeks.
During week 1, inject 0.6mg once a day.
During week 2, inject 1.2mg once a day.
During week 3, inject 1.8mg once a day.
During week 4, inject 2.4mg once a day.
From week 5 onwards, inject 3mg once a day. This dose is then maintained for the rest of the course.
Your treatment will be reviewed by your doctor regularly.
Our pharmacist will demonstrate to you how to use the pen before you inject it for the first time.
More detailed instructions with diagrams can be found in the leaflet.
It does not need to be taken at any particular time, but it does need to be taken at the same time each day. Choose a time which suits you best.
It should be injected subcutaneously. The ideal areas to do this are on the front of your thighs, or the front of your abdomen.
The medicine should not be injected into a vein or a muscle.
If you forget to take Saxenda, you can do so when you remember provided it is within 12 hours of when you were supposed to take it. If more than 12 hours have passed since your missed dose, you should skip it and wait until you are due to take your next one.
Never double up on doses to make up for a missed one.
Saxenda users are invited to sign up to Weight Journey, a free support programme specifically for people taking this medicine.
The above is only a summary of the instructions you will need to follow. Our pharmacist is here to help if you are unsure about how to take this treatment.
It is important to be aware of the side effects this medication may cause prior to use. Make sure you read the patient information leaflet, and follow the instructions issued by our pharmacists during use. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, swelling of the face and lips, or breathing problems, seek medical help immediately.
You should also tell your doctor right away if you: have any side effects which become serious; develop any symptoms which may indicate pancreatitis (these may include: abdominal pain which reaches through to your back; or nausea and vomiting); or if you develop any signs of gallstones, such as pain in the upper abdomen, or under the ribs.
Very common (more than 1 in 10 people):
Feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, or constipation (these typically go away after a few days or weeks).
Common (less than 1 in 10 people):
Stomach or intestinal issues (such as indigestion, inflammation in the stomach lining discomfort or upper stomach pain), heartburn, bloated feeling, flatulence, dry mouth, weakness or tiredness, altered sense of taste, dizziness, insomnia, gallstones, skin reactions at the injection site (such as bruising, pain, irritation, itching and rash), hypoglycaemia, and increase of pancreatic enzymes.
Uncommon (less than 1 in 100 people):
Dehydration, gall bladder inflammation, allergic reactions, general feeling of being unwell, increased pulse rate.
Rare (less than 1 in 1,000 people):
Reduced kidney function, acute kidney failure.
The information here is not comprehensive. Please refer to the leaflet provided for further information on side effects.
Taking it with other medicines
Inform your doctor about any other medicines you are using when undergoing consultation. It is particularly important for your prescriber to know if you are taking: sulfonylurea for diabetes; or warfarin or other anticoagulants.
Conditions to look out for:
Use of this medication is not recommended if you have severe heart failure, an illness which causes problems with emptying the stomach, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Inform your doctor of any medical conditions you have or have had in the past during consultation. This is particularly important if you have, or have ever had: liver or kidney problems; diabetes; or thyroid disease.
It is crucial to drink plenty of fluids when taking this treatment to avoid dehydration.
If you are over 75
This treatment is not recommended for use in patients who are aged 75 or over.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Saxenda is not suitable if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant.
Driving and using machinery
Your capacity to drive or operate machines is not likely to be affected by Saxenda. However, if you experience any side effects that may affect your ability to concentrate, do not drive or use machines and speak to your doctor.
The patient information leaflet for Saxenda makes no specific reference to alcohol use. However, you should always keep alcohol consumption within sensible limits.