Saxenda (liraglutide) is a brand-name drug prescribed for weight management in adults and some children. Saxenda comes as an injection pen that’s typically used once per day. Your doctor will gradually increase your dose over the first few weeks.
Saxenda is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help with weight loss and weight management. It’s prescribed in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise to help manage weight in:
- adults and children ages 12 years and older with obesity
- adults who are overweight and have a weight-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes
Keep reading for specific information about the dosage of Saxenda, including its strength and how to use the medication. For a comprehensive look at Saxenda, see this article.
Note: This article describes typical dosages for Saxenda provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When using Saxenda, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.
The typical recommended dosages of Saxenda are described below. However, you should take Saxenda as your doctor prescribes. They will recommend the dosage that’s right for you.
Saxenda comes as a solution inside injection pens.
Each pen is prefilled with 3 milliliters (mL) of solution. It can deliver different doses, including:
- 0.6 (milligrams) mg
- 1.2 mg
- 1.8 mg
- 2.4 mg
- 3 mg
Saxenda is available in one strength: 6 mg/mL.
Typical dosages and dosage schedule
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then, they’ll adjust your Saxenda dosing schedule over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes 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.
Dosage for weight loss and weight management in adults
Saxenda is prescribed for weight loss and weight management in certain adults. The recommended Saxenda dose for weight loss and weight management is described below. At the start of Saxenda treatment, you’ll take a lower dose of the drug. Your doctor will gradually increase your dosage each week.
The Saxenda maximum dosage is 3 mg per day.
Saxenda starting dosage in adults
The Saxenda starting dosage for weight loss and weight management in adults is 0.6 mg per day. You’ll inject this starting dose for 1 week, and then your doctor will increase your dosage over time.
Saxenda maintenance dosage in adults
Each week, your doctor will increase your dosage until you reach the Saxenda maintenance dosage of 3 mg per day. You’ll follow this dosage long term to maintain a steady level of the drug in your body.
The table below shows the recommended Saxenda dosing schedule:
|Week of treatment||Dosage|
|Week 1||0.6 mg per day|
|Week 2||1.2 mg per day|
|Week 3||1.8 mg per day|
|Week 4||2.4 mg per day|
|Week 5 and after||3 mg per day|
Saxenda is prescribed for weight loss and weight management in certain children ages 12 years and older. The recommended Saxenda starting dosage is the same in adults and children. For details, see “Dosage for weight loss and weight management in adults” directly above.
A child’s doctor will gradually increase the child’s dosage as described above to the recommended maintenance dosage of 3 mg per day. (A maintenance dosage is taken long term to maintain a steady level of the drug in the body.)
However, for children with bothersome side effects after a dosage increase, doctors may delay the next scheduled dose increase. In some cases, it may take up to 8 weeks for a child to reach their long-term maintenance dosage.
If a child can’t tolerate 3 mg of Saxenda per day, their doctor may decrease their dosage to 2.4 mg per day.
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.
Your doctor will evaluate the change in your body weight after you use Saxenda for 16 weeks. If you haven’t lost at least 4% of your body weight since starting Saxenda, your doctor will likely have you stop treatment with the drug.
Find answers to some frequently asked questions below. If you have other questions, your doctor can help you learn more.
Is there a dose chart for Saxenda?
Yes, the drug’s manufacturer provides Saxenda dosing instructions in a chart in the drug’s prescribing information. Also, in the “Saxenda dosage” section above, there is a chart showing the typical schedule for increasing the Saxenda daily dose from the starting dosage until reaching the long-term dosage.
However, only take the Saxenda dosage your doctor prescribes. Your doctor will provide Saxenda dosing directions before you start using the medication. They will recommend the dosage to take for your Saxenda first dose. And they’ll instruct you on how much your doses will increase and how often the doses will change.
If you have questions about your Saxenda dosage, talk with your doctor.
How many Saxenda doses are there per pen?
It depends on your prescribed dosage. Saxenda pens can be set to inject five different Saxenda pen doses:
- 0.6 milligrams (mg)
- 1.2 mg
- 1.8 mg
- 2.4 mg
- 3 mg
The pen will inject a certain amount of solution depending on the Saxenda injection dose it’s set to deliver. Keep in mind, each pen is prefilled with 3 milliliters (mL) of solution. And there are 6 mg of medication per 1 mL of solution.
For example, if your dose is 3 mg per day, you’ll inject 0.5 milliliters (mL) of solution daily. In this case, a pen contains six doses of the drug.
Regardless of the dose you’re using, a Saxenda pen can only be used for up to 30 days before it must be discarded.
If you have more questions about doses and Saxenda pens, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Do doctors recommend dose escalations with Saxenda?
Yes, your doctor will likely prescribe the typical recommended Saxenda dose escalation. With this, doses of the drug increase each week until you reach the long-term dose of 3 milligrams (mg) per day.
Dose escalation over the first few weeks of treatment helps reduce gastrointestinal side effects of the drug, such as:
To learn more about dose escalation with Saxenda, see the “Saxenda dosage” section above. There, you can view a chart showing the drug’s recommended dose escalation.
If you miss a dose of Saxenda, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as scheduled the next day. You should not take an extra dose of Saxenda or increase your next dose to make up for the missed dose. Doing so can increase your risk of serious side effects.
If you miss your doses for 3 days or more, call your doctor. They’ll advise you on how to restart treatment.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your bathroom mirror or bedside table. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
The Saxenda dosage your doctor prescribes may depend on any side effects you experience, and any other medical conditions you have.
Saxenda comes as a solution inside injection pens, and it’s injected subcutaneously. You’ll inject the drug once per day in your abdomen, upper arm, or thigh. Be sure to rotate your injection site each day. For example, if you inject a dose into your abdomen, choose a different area of your abdomen the next day, or your upper arm or thigh instead.
You can inject Saxenda at any time during the day, but you should try to take your doses at around the same time each day. This helps maintain a steady level of the drug in your body so it can work effectively.
Your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to inject doses with Saxenda pens. The drug manufacturer’s website also has a step-by-step video and detailed written instructions on how to use the injection pen.
After 30 days, you’ll safely dispose of your Saxenda pen, even if it has unused medication left inside.
Along with Saxenda, your treatment plan for weight loss and weight management will include:
ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS
Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.
If you use more Saxenda than your doctor prescribes, you may develop serious side effects. It’s important that you do not use more Saxenda than your doctor advises.
Symptoms of an overdose
Overdose symptoms of Saxenda can include:
If you use more than the recommended amount of Saxenda
Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve used too much Saxenda. Another option is to call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.
The dosages described in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Saxenda for you, they will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
As with any drug, never change your dosage of Saxenda without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Saxenda that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.
Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Saxenda. These additional articles might be helpful:
- More about Saxenda. For information about other aspects of Saxenda, refer to this article.
- Side effects. To learn about side effects of Saxenda, see this article. You can also look at the Saxenda prescribing information.
- Drug comparison. To find out how Saxenda compares with Victoza, read this article.
- Drug costs. To learn about the cost of Saxenda, refer to this article.
- Details about weight management. For details about weight loss and management, see our exercise and fitness and obesity hubs.
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.