Saxenda is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s used to help with weight loss and long-term weight management in people with obesity and in certain people who are overweight.

Specifically, it’s approved for use in:

  • adults with either:
  • children ages 12 years and older who:
    • weigh more than 60 kilograms† (about 132 pounds) and
    • have obesity based on their age, sex, and height (equal to an adult BMI of 30 or more)

Saxenda helps reduce your appetite and is used as part of a weight management plan. It should be used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.

Saxenda has limitations of use. For more information about Saxenda and its limitations of use, see the “Saxenda for weight loss and weight management” section below.

* Your BMI is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. This article can help you calculate your BMI.
† 1 kilogram is about 2.2 pounds

Drug details

Saxenda contains the active drug liraglutide. It belongs to a drug class called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.)

Saxenda is given by subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin). Your doctor or healthcare professional will teach you how to give yourself the injection. You’ll give yourself an injection of Saxenda once per day.

The medication comes as a liquid solution inside a prefilled injection pen. Each pen contains 18 milligrams of liraglutide in 3 milliliters of solution (18 mg/3 mL).

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Saxenda, see the “Saxenda for weight loss and weight management” section below.

Saxenda is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

As with all medications, the cost of Saxenda can vary. To find current prices for Saxenda in your area, check out GoodRx.com.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is likely the cost without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay, or the cost with insurance, depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use. The cheapest price (lowest cost) is likely the cost after insurance coverage.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Saxenda. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option or finding out the cost per month, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.

Before approving coverage for Saxenda, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Saxenda, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Saxenda, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available. You can check for insurance coverage of the drug here. Or you can call 888-809-3942 to speak with someone who can assist you.

For more information about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.

Saxenda coupon or savings card

Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Saxenda, offers a saving card to help lower the cost of its drug. This savings card is similar to a coupon.

For more information and to find out if you’re eligible to use Saxenda’s savings card, visit the drug manufacturer’s website.

Mail-order pharmacies

Saxenda may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Saxenda, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Saxenda isn’t available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Saxenda.

Are there reviews available from people who’ve used Saxenda? Where can I find before and after pictures?

Reviews from people who’ve used Saxenda are available on the internet. But keep in mind that each person’s experience with Saxenda will be different. The amount of weight you may lose with Saxenda and any side effects you may have will depend on your individual situation.

You can find stories from people who’ve used Saxenda on the manufacturer’s website. This website also has information about how much weight people lost in clinical studies of Saxenda, as well as possible side effects of the drug.

For more information about what you can expect with Saxenda, talk with your doctor. You should also talk with your doctor if you’re looking for before and after pictures.

Is Saxenda similar to Ozempic?

Yes, Saxenda is similar to Ozempic. Both medications belong to the same drug class, called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.) GLP-1 agonists work by increasing insulin levels and reducing appetite.

However, these drugs have different approved uses. Saxenda is used to help with weight management, while Ozempic is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Also, Saxenda contains the active drug liraglutide, and Ozempic contains the active drug semaglutide.

Another brand-name version of semaglutide is also available as Wegovy. Like Saxenda, Wegovy is used to help with weight loss and weight management. Both drugs are given by injection. But while Saxenda is used once daily, Wegovy is used once weekly.

Does Saxenda come in pill form, such as tablets?

No, Saxenda doesn’t come in pill form. It’s only available as a liquid solution inside an injection pen.

Saxenda contains the active drug liraglutide, which is a protein-based drug. If taken by mouth, it would be quickly broken down by your digestive system. This would prevent it from working.

Scientists are working to develop different forms of protein-based drugs that can be taken by mouth. But currently, Saxenda can only be taken by injection.

Is Saxenda a type of insulin?

No, Saxenda isn’t a type of insulin. Instead, Saxenda belongs to a drug class called GLP-1 agonists. Saxenda contains the active drug liraglutide.

Insulin is a hormone that your body produces to help manage your blood sugar level. The bodies of people with diabetes either don’t make enough insulin or don’t use insulin correctly. Synthetic (manufactured) types of insulin are used to help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar.

Similar to insulin, certain GLP-1 agonists are used to treat diabetes. They help your body make more insulin, but they aren’t a type of insulin. For example, one GLP-1 agonist that’s approved to treat diabetes is liraglutide (Victoza). Saxenda isn’t approved to treat diabetes, but it may help your body produce more insulin.

Can I buy Saxenda over the counter?

No, you can’t buy Saxenda over the counter. This medication is only available with a prescription from a doctor.

What should I do if I’m not losing weight with Saxenda?

You shouldn’t expect instant results with Saxenda. But if you don’t seem to be losing weight in the first 4 months of treatment, talk with your doctor. They can check if you’re using the medication correctly or if you’re having trouble following your diet and exercise plan.

You’ll have an appointment with your doctor 4 months after you start treatment so that they can check your progress. At this point, adults should have lost at least 4% of their body weight.

Children will have an appointment with their doctor 3 months after they start treatment. At 3 months, children should have a body mass index (BMI) that’s at least 1% lower than when they started treatment.

If you or your child haven’t experienced this amount of weight loss after the appropriate time period, it’s unlikely that Saxenda is working. In this case, your doctor will likely recommend switching to a different treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Saxenda to treat certain conditions.

Saxenda is FDA-approved to help with weight loss and long-term weight management in people with obesity and in certain people who are overweight. It’s used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise. Specifically, Saxenda is approved for use in:

  • adults with either:
  • children ages 12 years and older who:
    • weigh more than 60 kilograms† (about 132 pounds) and
    • have obesity based on their age, sex, and height (equal to an adult BMI of 30 or more)

Saxenda helps with weight loss and long-term weight management by reducing your appetite. It’s intended to be used as part of a long-term weight management plan. Your doctor can work with you to develop a plan that’s right for you. Talk with your doctor about healthy ways to reduce your calorie intake and increase your physical activity.

You can also read more about overweight, obesity, weight loss, nutrition, exercise, and fitness in Medical News Today’s weight management hub.

* Your BMI is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. This article can help you calculate your BMI.
† 1 kilogram is about 2.2 pounds

Limitations of use

Saxenda should not be used with other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. (GLP-1 agonists are a group of drugs that Saxenda belongs to.)

It isn’t known if Saxenda is safe or effective for children with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, Saxenda wasn’t studied in people taking weight loss products such as other prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal preparations. So, it isn’t known if it’s safe or effective to use Saxenda with these products.

Effectiveness for weight loss and weight management

Saxenda is an effective medication that can help with long-term weight loss in people with obesity and in certain people who are overweight. It’s included as a treatment option in the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists guidelines for obesity management.

To find out how the drug performed in clinical studies, see Saxenda’s prescribing information.

Saxenda and children

Saxenda is FDA-approved to help with weight loss and long-term weight management in children ages 12 years and older who:

  • weigh more than 60 kg (about 132 pounds) and
  • have obesity based on their age, sex, and height (equivalent to an adult BMI of 30 or more)

Saxenda should not be used in children younger than 12 years old or in children with type 2 diabetes. It’s not known if it’s safe or effective in these groups of children.

Saxenda should be used as part of a long-term weight management plan that includes a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.

You shouldn’t use Saxenda with other weight loss products, including other prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations. It’s not known if it’s safe or effective to use Saxenda with these products.

Saxenda and meal plans

Your doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist can help develop a meal or diet plan that’s right for you. You can also talk with your doctor about healthy ways to reduce your calorie intake and increase your exercise.

Saxenda can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Saxenda. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Saxenda, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Saxenda, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Saxenda can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Saxenda. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or view Saxenda’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Saxenda aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.
Saxenda has a boxed warning about this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effects in children

Side effects of Saxenda in children are similar to side effects in adults who use this medication. These are described above and below. Some children may also develop a fever while taking Saxenda.

In clinical studies, certain side effects were more common in children than they were in adults. These include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines)

If you’d like to know more about the possible side effects of Saxenda in children, talk with your child’s doctor.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Risk of thyroid cancer

Liraglutide, the active drug in Saxenda, has caused certain types of thyroid cancer in animal studies. But it’s not known if Saxenda increases the risk of thyroid cancer in humans.

Due to the risk of thyroid cancer with Saxenda, the medication has a boxed warning about this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

You shouldn’t use Saxenda if you or a member of your immediate family have ever had a rare type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid cancer. An immediate family member means a parent, brother, or sister. You also shouldn’t use Saxenda if you have another rare genetic (inherited) condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). MEN 2 increases your risk of thyroid cancer.

Contact your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of thyroid cancer while taking Saxenda. These symptoms may include:

If you develop thyroid cancer, your doctor will have you stop taking Saxenda.

Injection site side effects

Some people may have side effects around the area where they inject Saxenda. These are called injection site reactions. In clinical studies, injection site reactions were common in people taking Saxenda.

Injection site reactions are usually mild. They may include:

  • change in skin color, such as redness, darkening, or discoloration
  • swelling
  • itching
  • skin rash
  • pain

To help prevent injection site reactions, you should use a different area of the body each time you give yourself an injection. You can do this by injecting Saxenda at least one finger width away from the spot you injected your previous dose. Or you can choose a new area of your body for each Saxenda injection. Injection sites include the abdomen (belly), thigh, and upper arm. After using Saxenda, you should not rub the injection site.

If you have an injection site reaction, it should get better in a few days. Avoid injecting Saxenda in that area again until the reaction goes away. If the reaction is particularly troublesome, it may help to apply a cold pack to the area. But if you have a reaction that’s severe or doesn’t get better, talk with your doctor.

Nausea

You may have nausea while taking Saxenda. In clinical studies, nausea was the most common side effect reported with Saxenda.

Saxenda commonly causes nausea because it makes food pass through your stomach more slowly. It can also cause bloating, which can cause or worsen nausea.

Nausea with Saxenda is usually mild. It typically gets better as your body gets used to the medication.

If you have nausea with Saxenda, you could try:

  • eating bland foods, such as rice or crackers
  • avoiding lying down after eating
  • taking frequent sips of water
  • drinking ginger tea or peppermint tea
  • getting plenty of fresh air
  • avoiding tight clothing

If you have nausea or vomiting, you should also drink plenty of fluids to avoid getting dehydrated. Dehydration can raise your risk of kidney problems with Saxenda.

It’s important to note that nausea can be a symptom of serious side effects of Saxenda. These include gallbladder problems, pancreatitis, and kidney problems. If you have nausea that’s troublesome or severe or that doesn’t go away, talk with your doctor. They may recommend other ways to relieve this side effect or check that your nausea isn’t related to serious side effects.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Saxenda.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Saxenda, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Saxenda and Victoza both contain the same active drug, liraglutide. But these medications have different approved uses. Saxenda is used for weight loss, while Victoza is used for type 2 diabetes. For more details about how Saxenda compares with Victoza, see this article.

Other drugs are available for weight loss and weight management. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Saxenda, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Examples of other drugs that may be used for weight loss and weight management include:

  • orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
  • phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira)
  • phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia)
  • naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave)
  • semaglutide (Wegovy)

When you first start treatment with Saxenda, your doctor will gradually increase your dosage over a few weeks. This is to allow your body to get used to the medication. It reduces your risk of digestive system side effects. (For more information on side effects, see “Saxenda side effects” above.)

The following information describes Saxenda dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug form and strengths

Saxenda comes as a liquid solution that’s used once daily by subcutaneous injection (an injection under the skin).

Saxenda pen

Saxenda is a liquid solution that comes inside a prefilled injection pen. Each pen contains 18 milligrams of liraglutide in 3 milliliters of solution (18 mg/3 mL). The pen can be set to inject the following doses:

  • 0.6 mg
  • 1.2 mg
  • 1.8 mg
  • 2.4 mg
  • 3 mg

Dosage for weight loss and weight management

When starting treatment, the recommended starting dosage of Saxenda is typically 0.6 mg per day for the first week. The dose is then gradually increased for each following week, as follows:

  • week two: 1.2 mg per day
  • week three: 1.8 mg per day
  • week four: 2.4 mg per day
  • weeks five and beyond: 3 mg per day

If you have bothersome side effects after a dose increase, talk with your doctor. They may recommend delaying your next scheduled dose increase for about a week to allow your side effects to improve.

The recommended maintenance (long-term) dosage for adults is 3 mg per day. If you have side effects that you can’t tolerate at this dosage, your doctor will likely recommend that you stop your Saxenda treatment.

For more information on side effects, see “Saxenda side effects” above.

Children’s dosage

When starting treatment, the recommended dosage of Saxenda for children ages 12 years and older is the same as for adults. Their dosage should be increased gradually as described above.

If a child has bothersome side effects after a dose increase, talk with their doctor. Their doctor may recommend delaying the next scheduled dose increase for about a week to allow the side effects to improve. It may take up to 8 weeks for children to reach the recommended maintenance dosage.

As with adults, the recommended maintenance dosage for children is 3 mg per day. But for children who have side effects that they can’t tolerate at this dosage, a lower maintenance dosage of 2.4 mg per day may be used. If a child has intolerable side effects at this dosage, their doctor will likely recommend stopping their Saxenda treatment.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Saxenda, skip the missed dose and continue with your usual dosing schedule. You shouldn’t take an extra dose to make up for a missed dose. Doing so can raise your risk of side effects from the drug.

However, if you miss more than three doses of Saxenda, talk with your doctor. They’ll likely have you restart your Saxenda treatment with a dose of 0.6 mg per day for 1 week. Your doctor will gradually increase the dose each week as before. You’ll do this until you reach your usual maintenance dosage.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Saxenda is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Saxenda is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely use it long term.

Saxenda isn’t known to interact with alcohol. But if you have certain side effects with Saxenda, drinking alcohol could make these worse. These side effects include:

Drinking alcohol can also lead to dehydration, which can increase your risk of kidney problems with Saxenda.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much, if any, is safe to drink while you’re taking Saxenda.

Saxenda should not be used during pregnancy. The drug hasn’t been studied in human pregnancy. But Saxenda is used for weight loss and weight management in certain people, and losing weight during pregnancy may cause fetal harm.

When Saxenda was given to pregnant females in animal studies, it caused problems with fetal development (commonly known as birth defects). Keep in mind that animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

If you become pregnant while taking Saxenda, you should stop taking it and contact your doctor.

Saxenda isn’t safe to use during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Saxenda.

For more information about taking Saxenda during pregnancy, see the “Saxenda and pregnancy” section above.

It’s not known if Saxenda is safe to use while breastfeeding. This is because it’s unknown whether the drug passes into breast milk or if it can affect a breastfed child.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is right for you.

Saxenda can interact with several other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Saxenda and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Saxenda. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Saxenda.

Before taking Saxenda, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), and other drugs you take. Also, tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Drugs that you should not take with Saxenda include:

  • Other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. Saxenda contains liraglutide, which belongs to a drug class called GLP-1 agonists. Saxenda should not be used with other GLP-1 agonists. Examples of these drugs include:
    • other forms of liraglutide, such as Victoza
  • Other weight loss drugs. It’s not known if it’s safe to use Saxenda with other weight loss drugs, including prescription drugs and OTC drugs. Examples of these drugs include:
    • orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
    • phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia)
    • naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave)

Other types of drugs that may interact with Saxenda include:

  • Certain diabetes drugs. Taking Saxenda with insulin or diabetes drugs called sulfonylureas can increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Examples of these drugs include:
    • insulin aspart (Novolog)
  • Medications taken by mouth. These are medications that you swallow, such as tablets, capsules, pills, or liquids. These drugs may take longer to be absorbed into your body while you’re taking Saxenda. If you take any medications by mouth, ask your doctor or pharmacist if they may be affected by Saxenda.

Saxenda and herbs and supplements

You shouldn’t use Saxenda with herbal weight loss products or weight loss supplements. It’s not known if it’s safe to use Saxenda with these products. Examples of these products include:

There aren’t any other herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Saxenda. But you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Saxenda.

Saxenda and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Saxenda. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Saxenda, talk with your doctor.

You should use Saxenda according to the instructions your doctor gives you.

Saxenda is taken by subcutaneous injection (injection just under the skin). Your doctor will teach you how to use the Saxenda pen so that you can give yourself the injection at home. The manufacturer’s website also has detailed instructions and a step-by-step video.

Injection sites

You can inject Saxenda in your abdomen (belly), thigh, or upper arm.

When to use

You should inject Saxenda once per day. This can be at any time of day that’s convenient for you. But it’s best to use Saxenda around the same time each day.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Taking Saxenda with food

You can take your Saxenda injection either with or without food.

Saxenda is used to help with weight loss and long-term weight management in people with obesity and in certain people who are overweight. The medication is used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.

What happens with overweight and obesity

Gaining weight usually happens when you consume more calories than you burn. Over time, this could cause overweight or obesity.

Following a reduced-calorie diet and increasing your physical activity can help you lose weight. But for some people, making lifestyle changes such as these isn’t enough to lose weight and keep it off long-term. One reason for this is that a reduced-calorie diet can make you feel more hungry and less full. As a result, you may continue eating more calories than you’re able to burn during physical activity. This could prevent you from losing weight.

What Saxenda does

Saxenda helps with weight loss by reducing your appetite and making you feel fuller after eating.

It contains the active drug liraglutide, which belongs to a group of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.

GLP-1 is a hormone that helps regulate your appetite and blood sugar level. It works by attaching to special proteins called GLP-1 receptors. These proteins are found in areas of your brain that regulate appetite. When GLP-1 attaches to GLP-1 receptors, it has several effects. It makes you feel less hungry, and it slows down the movement of food through your stomach. This makes you feel fuller after eating.

Saxenda has a similar structure to GLP-1. So, it works in the same way as the natural GLP-1 hormone in your body. Saxenda can help you consume fewer calories, which can help you lose weight and keep it off long term.

How long does it take to work?

Saxenda starts to work a few hours after you inject your first dose, though it may take a week or two before you start to lose weight.

Your doctor will check your progress 4 months after you start treatment to see if Saxenda is working for you. After this time, adults should have lost at least 4% of their body weight.

Children will have an appointment with their doctor 3 months after they start treatment. At 3 months, children should have a body mass index (BMI) that’s at least 1% lower than when they started treatment.

If you or your child haven’t experienced this amount of weight loss after the appropriate time period, it’s unlikely that Saxenda is working for you.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Risk of thyroid cancer

This drug has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Liraglutide, the active drug in Saxenda, can cause certain types of thyroid cancer in animals. It’s not known if Saxenda increases the risk of thyroid cancer in humans.

Because of the risk, you shouldn’t use Saxenda if you or a member of your immediate family have ever had medullary thyroid cancer. And you shouldn’t use Saxenda if you have a rare genetic (inherited) condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). MEN 2 increases your risk of thyroid cancer.

Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of thyroid cancer while using Saxenda. These symptoms may include a lump in your neck, a hoarse voice that doesn’t go away, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath.

Other precautions

Before taking Saxenda, talk with your doctor about your health history. Saxenda may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had a past allergic reaction to Saxenda or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take the drug. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Saxenda can sometimes cause hypoglycemia. Adults with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or sulfonylureas have a higher risk of this side effect. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor. They may check your blood sugar before you start Saxenda and adjust the dosage of your diabetes medication. You may also need to check your blood sugar while you take Saxenda. Saxenda should not be used in children with type 2 diabetes. It’s not known if it’s safe or effective for this use.
  • Pancreatitis. In rare cases,Saxenda may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). If you have pancreatitis or have had it in the past, it’s not known if you have a higher risk of this side effect with Saxenda. Talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is right for you.
  • Kidney problems. In rare cases, Saxenda may cause or worsen kidney failure. If you have kidney problems, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is right for you. If you take Saxenda, be sure to drink to plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. This is especially important if you have vomiting or diarrhea with the drug. Dehydration increases the risk of having kidney problems with Saxenda.
  • Liver problems. Saxenda hasn’t been studied in many people with liver problems. If you have a liver problem, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is right for you.
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts. In rare cases, people have experienced suicidal thoughts or actions while taking Saxenda. If you have depression or suicidal thoughts, or if you’ve had these problems in the past, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is right for you. You should also talk with your doctor if you’ve ever had any other mental health conditions.
  • Gastroparesis. Saxenda causes gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying). The drug hasn’t been studied in people with this condition but if you already have slow stomach emptying, Saxenda could make it worse. Ask your doctor if Saxenda is right for you.
  • Pregnancy. Saxenda is not safe to use during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Saxenda and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Saxenda is safe to use while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Saxenda and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Saxenda, see the “Saxenda side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Saxenda can lead to serious side effects. Do not use more Saxenda than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • severe nausea
  • severe vomiting
  • severe hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar)

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Saxenda from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

You should store new, unused Saxenda pens in a refrigerator at a temperature of 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Make sure that the Saxenda pens do not freeze. You should not use a pen if it’s been frozen.

Once you’ve started using a Saxenda pen, you can continue to store it in the refrigerator. Or you can keep it out of the fridge at a room temperature of 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Be sure to keep the pen away from heat and light. After you take each injection, remove the needle and replace the pen cap. You should not store the pen with a needle attached.

Once in use, Saxenda is good for 30 days when stored as described above. If there’s still medication remaining in the pen 30 days after you start using it, you should dispose of the pen.

Disposal

Right after you’ve used a needle, dispose of it in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident or harming themselves with the needle. You can buy a sharps container online or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where to get one.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.