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Saxenda: Weight Loss Injection

In the United Kingdom, over 60% of adults are classed as overweight or obese. Being obese can bring on a multitude of diseases and co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart problems, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. It is estimated that obese men are 5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and obese women are 13 times more likely.

For most people, by increasing their exercise and living a healthier life they are able to lose weight. However for some people the beer bellies might just not be shifting - this is when pharmaceutical interventionsare used. Currently on the market there are a series of tablets and injections that can really help those in need of weight loss when lifestyle choices are just not cutting it. 

Orlistat belongs to a class of drugs known as lipase inhibitors, these block the intestines fromabsorbing the amountof fat you eat. It is an effective capsule taken three times daily for people over 18 where weight loss has not been achieved through diet and lifestyle alone.

What is Saxenda® and How Does it Work?

The newest addition to the obesity treatment market is Saxenda, a brand of the medication liraglutide which was originally developed as an anti-diabetic drug sold under the brand Victoza. Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, meaning it acts at the receptor for GLP-1, an appetite-regulating substance naturally produced in the body. Saxenda makes you feel full and less hungry, which can help you eat less and reduce your body weight. It can help you to not only lose weight, but keep it off as well. You can inject this into your abdomen, upper thigh, or upper arm although stomach is preferred. It is suitable for those over 18 years old and with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30, or over 27 if you have health conditions.

Where Do I Inject Saxenda® Pen?

You can inject the dose in your abdomen (stomach area), thigh (upper leg), or upper arm. However we would recommend the abdomen area as you are less likely to feel it and you have a wider area to vary the injection site. 

Who Can Use Saxenda®?

Saxenda is licensed in the treatment of obesity in individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30kg/m2 or higher, or those with a BMI of 27kg/m2 to 30kg/m2 who have one or more of a number of weight-linked health conditions including type II diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia (raised fat or cholesterol levels in the blood), high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnoea. It should be used in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise. 

Children and young people under the age of 18 should not use Saxenda, as it is not yet known how the drug affects this age group. Furthermore, Saxenda should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women due to unknown effects on the foetus or baby.

What is The Dose For Saxenda®?

For those starting Saxenda, the initial dose is 0.6mg daily, injected into the abdomen, upper thigh or upper arm, but not into a vein or muscle. The dose is increased on a weekly basis by a further 0.6mg until the daily dose is 3mg (the maximum recommended daily dose). The gradual increase in dose is to improve tolerability to the gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. 

If Saxenda is still intolerable 14 days after stepping up the dose, the treatment should be ceased. 

How Long Does it Take For Saxenda® to Work?

From the trial, it was found that patients using Saxenda lost at least 5% of their starting weight after being on 3mg daily for 12 weeks. This must be coupled with a calorie controlled diet and increased physical activity.

How Long Does a Saxenda® Pen Last?

When you first start Saxenda, a single pen will last 17 days and the first full pack of five pens will last six weeks. 

Your Saxenda dose is increased in 0.6mg intervals until you reach the maintenance dose of 3mg daily. This becomes the dose you will continue to take Saxenda. At this dose, one saxenda pen lasts 6 days and 5 pens 30 days.

How Long Can I Use Saxenda® For?

There is no set time limit for treatment with Saxenda however you should only continue using it for longer than 12 weeks if you demonstrate a weight loss of 5% when used in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise.

What Time of Day Should I Use My Saxenda® Pen?

Saxenda can be used at any time of the day but for the best results it should be used at the same time each day. 

How is Saxenda® Stored?

All new and unused Saxenda pens should be stored in a refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C. After first use, store in a refrigerator or at room temperature between 15°C and 30°C. Pens in use should be thrown away after 30 days even if they still have Saxenda left in them. Don’t freeze Saxenda. Saxenda that has been frozen must not be used.

What Results Have Been Seen With Saxenda®?

Medical studies with more than 3,000 people taking Saxenda were conducted to understand the benefits and risks of Saxenda. The results from the study showed significant weight loss.

Along with a low-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity, some people lost nearly 2.5 times more weight with Saxenda versus placebo (17.3 lb vs 7 lb). Study participants had an average starting weight of 234 lb and an average BMI of 38.

In a different 1-year study, the majority of people who stayed on Saxenda kept the weight off. 

To find out more about real patient experiences, take a look at our Saxenda reviews page.

Where Can I Buy Saxenda®?

Saxenda is only prescribed privately in the UK as it was not intended by Novo Nordisk to be promoted in the NHS. 

It is available to purchase from Cloud Pharmacy following an online assessment by our Medical Team who will determine whether it is suitable for you.

 

Author Nazmul Kadir MRPharmS

          Superintendent Pharmacist

 

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