Wegovy vs Saxenda: The Battle of the fat fighters
Novo Nordisk has been at the forefront of the diabetes game within the last few years, bringing out some favourites such as Levemir, Actrapid, and Novorapid. However they have brought out two new drugs within the Glucagon - like - peptide -1 agonist (GLP-1) class called Wegovy and Saxenda. They are both licensed in the UK for weight loss in patients who are either overweight or obese. Whilst they have several similarities, they also do have their differences (don't we all!). So what are the differences? What one is best? In this article we take a look at both GLP-1s and explain how they work, how they are similar, and if there is a superior GLP-1 agonist in the Novo Nordisk portfolio.
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 interventions are 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.
What is Saxenda?
Saxenda, a brand of the medication liraglutide which was originally developed as an antidiabetic drug sold under the brand Victoza. Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, meaning it acts on 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.
Saxenda is an injected medicine that is taken once a day using a pen (similar to an insulin pen). Dosing starts at 0.6 milligrams (mg) daily, and over the next four weeks, is increased to the full dose of 3 mg. Saxenda is used along with a lower-calorie eating plan and physical activity to promote weight loss.
According to Saxenda’s website, “60% of people taking Saxenda achieved significant weight loss of 5% or more” (an average of 12 pounds) and “1 out of 3 people taking Saxenda achieved significant weight loss of more than 10%” (an average of 23 pounds)
What is Wegovy?
Wegovy is a new medication for adults with obesity (BMI ≥30) or overweight (excess weight) (BMI ≥27) who also have weight-related medical problems to help them lose weight and keep it off ie problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Wegovy should be used with a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity. Wegovy, or semaglutide, works in the exact same way as Saxenda. It also delays gastric emptying which helps you to feel fuller for longer. This can help you eat less, which can lead to losing weight.
Side effects from GLP-1 agonists are thankfully more self limiting and mild. Common side effects include headaches, nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhoea. If you experience stomach pain that is severe and think you are having an allergic reaction, stop taking this medication and seek medical help urgently.
Wegovy Vs Saxenda
Wegovy contains semaglutide while Saxenda contains liraglutide. Both medicines contain a medicine belonging to the same family of medicines known as GLP-1 agonists. While these active ingredients work in a very similar way, regulating and reducing appetite, they can have different results for effectiveness shown in clinical trials. Another main difference between Saxenda and Wegovy is the dosing of these pens. Saxenda is a ONCE daily dose pen as the drug only stays in the body for 24 hours, whereas Wegovy remains in the body for seven days so this requires a once weekly dosing. In addition, some research indicates that Wegovy leads to greater weight loss than Saxenda, as well as providing the patients with better cardiovascular outcomes compared to patients taking Saxenda - which is something to think about! In addition to this, Novo Nordisk is working on a pill form of Wegovy, too, which should improve patient adherence.
It is important to note as well that as effective as Wegovy and Saxenda are, it will only be beneficial to you if you want to lose weight yourself - they won't melt the pounds off you automatically - they are a helpful aid in the fight against weight loss and will show great results if part of a health and balanced diet, as well as regular exercise.
Author: Matt Jennings MRPharmS
Clinically Reviewed By:
Ibrahim Nakib BSc(Hons) MRPharmS