Saxenda (Liraglutide)

Dr Rachel Teoh2023-03-23
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Trade name: Saxenda

Generic name: Liraglutide

Drug class: GLP-1 receptor agonists (incretin mimetics)

Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk

What is Saxenda (Liraglutide) and how does it work?

Saxenda (Liraglutide) is an injectable medication that is given daily and belongs to the class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.  GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone that is secreted by your intestines after a meal. It has multiple actions:

  1. Stimulates insulin secretion depending on your blood sugar levels
  2. Delays emptying of your stomach
  3. Reduces appetite
  4. Reduces glucose production by the liver
  5. Slows down the absorption of glucose by the intestine

Who can take Saxenda (Liraglutide)?

Saxenda (Liraglutide) is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for weight management in adult patients with an initial Body Mass Index (BMI) of

  • ≥ 30 kg/m2(obese), or
  • ≥ 27 kg/m2 to <30 kg/m2 (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbidity such as dysglycaemia (pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus), hypertension, dyslipidemia or obstructive sleep apnoea.

Posology (Dosage)

The starting dose is 0.6 mg once daily. The dose should be increased to 3.0 mg once daily in increments of 0.6 mg with at least one-week intervals to improve gastrointestinal tolerability.

If escalation to the next dose step is not tolerated for two consecutive weeks, consider discontinuing treatment. Daily doses higher than 3.0 mg are not recommended.

How to Take Saxenda (Liraglutide)?

Saxenda (Liraglutide) is typically taken daily as a subcutaneous injection, and here are the general instructions for taking it:

  1. Clean your hands completely using soap and water.
  2. Find a hygienic and dry spot on your upper leg, stomach, or upper arm with some fatty tissue just below the skin, where you can administer the medicine through injection.
  3. Take off the cover of the pen and examine the solution in it for any abnormal coloration or particles.
  4. Affix a fresh needle onto the pen.
  5. Set the dose you have been prescribed by adjusting the dial.
  6. Grasp a section of your skin where you intend to inject the solution, and secure the pen at a 90-degree angle to your skin.
  7. Push down the plunger to deliver the medication.
  8. Wait for the dose counter to show zero, then wait for six seconds before withdrawing the needle from the skin.
  9. Discard the needle appropriately.
  10. Attach a new needle before each dose.
  11. Follow the diet and workout plan that your doctor told you about.

While preparing the dose, this product may produce a clicking noise. It is recommended not to rely on counting the clicks to prepare the dosage, as this could result in an incorrect dose being administered. Depending on various factors such as the age of the device or the amount of medication left in it, the number of clicks required to dispense a particular dose may vary. Therefore, it is essential to follow the provided dosing instructions carefully and consult with a healthcare professional if there are any doubts or confusion about using the medication device correctly.

Before administering a dose, make sure to remove all the covers of the pen needle (there might be two). If you are uncertain about the type of pen needle you have or do not know how to use it, it is advisable to consult with your doctor.

Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider who is knowledgeable with Saxenda in Singapore if you have any questions or concerns about using Saxenda (Liraglutide).

Potential Side Effects of Saxenda(Liraglutide)

Similar to other medications, Saxenda (Liraglutide) has the potential to produce adverse effects. A significant portion of these side effects stem from its impact on your gastrointestinal system, resulting from the slowing down of stomach emptying. The following is a compilation of the most frequently occurring side effects reported by users.

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain

Less common adverse effects that you may encounter include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Reflux
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Allergic reactions

Severe side effects are infrequent occurrences. Nonetheless, it is crucial to inform your healthcare provider, who is a specialist in administering Saxenda in Singapore, if you encounter any adverse effects. They can assist you in managing the situation and determining if discontinuing Saxenda is appropriate. 

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take the injection as soon as you remember.
  • If it is more than 12 hours since you have injected Saxenda, skip the missed dose and inject the next dose as usual the following day and continue your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do not inject an extra dose or increase the dose on the following day to make up for the missed dose.
  • If you miss 3 days of Saxenda, call your doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Keep unopened pens refrigerated but avoid freezing them.
    • If it has been frozen, do not use it.
  • You may store opened pens at room temperature or refrigerated, but do not freeze them.
  • Discard any unused portions after 30 days of opening.
  • Remove the needle after each use and do not keep the device with the needle attached.
  • Protect from heat and light.
  • Keep the cap on the pen when not in use.
  • Safely store all medications in a secure location, away from the access of children and pets.

What are the side effects that require immediate communication with my doctor?

Signs of an allergic reaction: development of a rash, hives, itching, redness, swelling, blistering, or peeling of the skin, accompanied by or without a fever; difficulty in breathing, wheezing, chest or throat tightness; difficulty in swallowing, speaking, or unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the tongue, mouth, throat, face, or lips.

Signs of gallbladder problems like discomfort in the upper abdominal region on the right side, between the shoulder blades, or the right shoulder area; yellowing of the eyes or skin; chills accompanied by a fever; bloating; or severe stomach upset and vomiting.

Signs of kidney problems like inability to urinate, alterations in the quantity of urine passed, the presence of blood in the urine, or sudden weight gain.

Others include:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Changes in behavior or mood, such as feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts that are new or have worsened
  • Impaired speech, characterized by slurring or difficulty communicating.

The use of this medication has been associated with severe and potentially fatal pancreas problems (pancreatitis). If you experience severe stomach pain, severe back pain or severe stomach upset accompanied by vomiting, it is critical to contact your doctor immediately.


This drug carries a warning that it can lead to thyroid cancer in animals. It is unclear whether this drug has the same effect on humans. If thyroid cancer occurs, it could be fatal if not identified and treated early. It is important to inform your doctor if you experience a neck mass, difficulty in breathing, swallowing, or persistent hoarseness.

Additionally, if you or a relative has had thyroid cancer, or if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), do not use this medication.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information provided is a concise summary of diagnosis, medication, and treatment information, and it is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. It should be used as a tool to help users comprehend and evaluate potential diagnostic and treatment options. It does not encompass all information about conditions, treatments, medications, side effects, or risks that may be relevant to a particular patient. It is not intended to be medical advice or a replacement for the medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a healthcare provider who has evaluated a patient’s specific and unique circumstances. Patients should consult a healthcare provider for complete information regarding their health, medical questions, and treatment options, including any risks or benefits associated with the use of medications. This information does not endorse any treatments or medications as safe, effective, or approved for the treatment of a specific patient. Manadr Pte Ltd and its affiliates disclaim any responsibility or liability related to this information or its usage.

If you experience an issue with your weight gain or weight loss, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with a weight management doctor now.

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