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Saxenda (liraglutide injection)
Saxenda (liraglutide injection)
Updated over a week ago

Saxenda is a prescription-only-medicine. Our clinicians review each treatment request on an individual basis, and prescriptions are subject to a clinical decision after completing our online consultation. This page is only intended for those who have completed an online consultation and have been prescribed Saxenda.

We'd like to give you some important information before you start taking Saxenda. It’s also recommended to have a read of the patient information leaflet to get to grips with how the medication works, what to expect, and potential side effects and how to manage them.

What is Saxenda and how does it work?

Saxenda is a medication licensed for the treatment of overweight or obese patients. When used in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular physical activity, Saxenda, which contains the active ingredient liraglutide, helps individuals lose weight by regulating appetite. Liraglutide acts as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, mimicking the natural hormone GLP-1 released in the gut after eating.

As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide works similarly to GLP-1 in the body, slowing down the digestion process to keep you feeling full for an extended period. It also interacts with receptors in the brain, reducing hunger and cravings while promoting satiety and fullness. These combined effects prevent overeating, leading to a reduction in calorie intake. Like all medications, the effects will only last as long as you take it, but when used correctly and mixed with a healthy diet and a good exercise regimen, it will help you lose weight.

How to use Saxenda

For detailed instructions, please refer to the leaflet inside your medication box

Step 1: Prepare your pen

IMPORTANT: Do not attach the needle to the pen until you are ready to inject your dose.

  1. Pull off the pen cap.

  2. Check the pen to make sure it isn’t damaged, the expiration date hasn’t passed, and that it is labelled as Saxenda.

  3. Take a new needle, make sure there is no damage to the needle casing, and tear off the paper tab.

  4. Push the needle straight onto the pen, and turn it until it feels tightly secured.

  5. Pull off the outer needle cap and save it for later - you’ll need it to remove the needle once you’re done.

  6. Pull off the inner needle cap and throw it away.

Step 2: Check the flow (for the first use of a new pen only)

  1. Turn the dose selector until the pointer lines up with the flow check symbol (two square dots and a line).

  2. Hold the pen with the needle pointing up. Tap the pen gently to make sure any air bubbles rise to the top of the pen.

  3. Press and hold in the dose button (at the bottom of the pen) until the dose counter returns to 0. The 0 must line up with the dose pointer. A drop of solution should then appear at the needle tip. If a drop doesn’t appear, you can repeat this step up to 6 times.

IMPORTANT: Always make sure that a drop appears at the needle tip before you use a new pen for the first time. This makes sure that the solution flows. If no drop appears, you will not be injecting any medicine even though the dose counter may move. This can indicate a blocked or damaged needle. If you do not check the flow before your first injection with each new pen, you may not get the prescribed dose and the intended effect.

Step 3: Select your dose (for all consecutive doses)

  1. Turn the dose selector to your prescribed dose (0.6mg, 1.2mg, 1.8mg, 2.4mg, or 3mg). Keep turning until the dose counter stops and shows the correct dose in mg that you have been prescribed. If you aren’t sure which dose you are supposed to take, check the box that your medication came in, or head to the Numan app. You can always get in touch with us by using the live chat on your app or emailing [email protected] if you’re unsure.

IMPORTANT: Always use the dose counter and the dose pointer to see that the correct dose has been selected before injecting the medicine. Do not count the pen clicks. The dose counter must line up precisely with the dose pointer to ensure that you get a correct dose. If you select the wrong dose by mistake, turn the dose selector backwards or forwards to select the right dose.

Step 4: Inject your dose

  1. Decide where on your body you’ll inject the medicine. You can either inject it into your stomach (at least 2 inches from your belly button) or in your upper legs on the front of your thighs. If someone else is helping you, they can inject it into your upper arm for you.

  2. You can inject the pen in the same body part each day, but make sure it isn’t in exactly the same spot.

  3. Insert the needle into your skin. Make sure you can see the dose counter, and don’t cover it with your fingers. This could interrupt the injection.

  4. Press and hold down the dose button until the dose counter shows 0. The 0 must line up with the dose pointer. You may then hear or feel a click.

  5. Keep the needle in your skin after the dose counter has returned to 0 and count slowly to 6. This is to make sure that you get your full dose. If the needle is removed earlier, you may see a stream of solution coming from the needle tip. If so, the full dose will not be delivered.

  6. Remove the needle from your skin. If blood appears at the injection site, press on it lightly with a clean tissue, but do not rub the area.

Step 5: After your injection

  1. Push the needle tip into the the outer needle cap, without touching the needle.

  2. Once the needle is fully covered, carefully push the outer needle cap on.

  3. Unscrew the needle and cap from the pen, and safely dispose of it in the sharps bin provided. Do not throw it away in your general household waste bin.

  4. Place the pen cap back on your pen after each use, to protect the solution from sunlight which can damage it.

  5. Store the pen in the carry case provided with your kit to keep it safe and ready for your next injection.

IMPORTANT: Never try to put the inner needle cap back on the needle. You may hurt yourself with the needle. Always remove and dispose of the needle from your pen immediately after each injection.

Always take this medicine exactly as prescribed for you. Check with a Numan clinician if you are not sure.

How and when to use Saxenda

  • Saxenda should be injected subcutaneously, daily, around the same time each day.

  • You can administer Saxenda with or without food and drinks.

How much to inject

  • Your dose of Saxenda will gradually be increased until you reach your maintenance dose

  • Please look at the dosage information on the label of your medication box, injection pen or within the treatments section of your Numan account page.

  • If you are unclear on the dose, please speak to a clinician.

  • If you feel you are not experiencing the weight loss you expected, or are experiencing an increase in appetite, contact our clinical team, who will review your dosage. You can contact our clinical team on [email protected]. Alternatively, you can contact your health coach or clinician via the coaching section in the Numan app.

Don’t take Saxenda…

  • If you are allergic to liraglutide or any of the other ingredients in the medication.

  • If you have diabetes (type 1 or type 2), controlled with medication.

  • Together with insulin or insulin secretagogue medications (e.g. sulfonylurea), liraglutide lowers blood sugar and can cause hypoglycemia. The risk of hypoglycemia is increased when liraglutide is used in combination with insulin or insulin secretagogue medications.

  • If you are taking other GLP-1 agonists (semaglutide, liraglutide, dulaglutide, eventide or lixisenatide). GLP-1 agonists lowers blood glucose and can cause hypoglycemia.

  • Together with other prescription, over-the counter, or herbal weight loss products.

  • If you or any of your family have ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).

  • If you have or have previously had acute pancreatitis.

  • If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.

  • If you are breastfeeding.

  • If you have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

  • If you have congestive heart failure.

  • If you have kidney disease or are on dialysis.

  • If you have liver problems.

  • If you have had bariatric surgery.

If you are on warfarin, speak to your GP or INR monitoring service to get more frequent INR checks.

What to do if you forget or miss a dose

If you forget or miss a dose and:

  • it is 12 hours or less since you should have used Saxenda, use it as soon as possible.

  • it is more than 12 hours since you should have used Saxenda, skip the missed dose. Inject your next dose the following day at the usual time.

Do not use a double dose or increase the dose on the following day to make up for the missed dose.

If you miss more than one dose, please contact a Numan clinician.

What to do if you take more Saxenda than you should

If you take more Saxenda than you should, contact your clinician straight away. You may get side

effects such as feeling sick (nausea).

Side-effects of Saxenda

Like all medicines, Saxenda can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Most patients find that the side effects resolve with time, once your body is accustomed to the medication. If your side effects are not resolving, please speak to one of our clinicians who can advise you on next steps.

Common or very common side effects

  • Headache

  • Nausea (feeling sick)

  • Diarrhoea

  • Vomiting

  • Low blood glucose in patients with diabetes (especially if mixed with other diabetes medications such as insulin or sulfonylurea) - may present as cold, sweaty pale skin; headache, a fast heartbeat, nausea, vision changes, sleepiness or weakness, confusions and shakes

  • Complications of diabetic eye disorder (retinopathy)

  • Stomach pain

  • Stomach bloating

  • Constipation

  • Flatulence (wind)

  • Burping

  • Gastritis (inflamed stomach) - may get feelings of a stomach ache, feeling sick and/or vomiting

  • Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease - also called GORD, reflux or heartburn

  • Dizziness

  • Tiredness

  • Increase of pancreatic enzymes (such as lipase and amylase) shown in blood tests.

Some of the potential side effects that affect the gastrointestinal system can cause dehydration (loss of fluids). Dehydration can in rare cases reduce kidney function. To avoid this, it is important to drink fluids, especially if you are experiencing extensive gastrointestinal side effects or if you have kidney problems.

Serious side effects

  • Acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) - which can cause a severe stomach pain that will not go away, with or without vomiting. You may feel the pain from your stomach to your back.

  • Gallbladder problems - liraglutide may cause gallbladder problems including gallstones. Be aware of symptoms such as pain in your upper stomach, fever, yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice) and clay-coloured stools.

  • Kidney problems (kidney failure)

  • Changes in the way food tastes

  • Increased heart rate while at rest

  • Reactions at site of injection - bruising, pain, irritation, itching, redness, rash or scarring

  • Allergic reactions such as rash, itching or hives.

  • Severe allergic reaction. May present with swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue and throat with difficulty breathing and a fast heart rate. You should seek immediate medical help if you get these symptoms.

If you experience any of these serious side effects, contact your doctor or go to a hospital immediately.

Stop using Saxenda if you notice any of these side effects

  • Severe allergic reactions

  • Signs of pancreatitis - severe stomach pain that will not go away, with or without vomiting. You may feel the pain from your stomach to your back.

If you get any of these side effects, seek immediate medical help and alert your health care provider.

How to store Saxenda

  • Keep out of the sight and reach of children.

  • Ensure medication is within expiry date.

  • Do not freeze.

  • Store in a refrigerator (2°C to 8°C).

  • When you are not using Saxenda, keep the cap on the pen in order to protect from light.

What Saxenda contains

  • The active substance in Saxenda is liraglutide

  • It also contains disodium phosphate dihydrate, propylene glycol, phenol, water for injections and sodium hydroxide/hydrochloric acid (for pH adjustment).

If you have any questions about taking Saxenda please get in touch by emailing [email protected] or if you feel unwell and feel you need urgent medical attention please call NHS 111 or attend your nearest accident and emergency department.

This is a non-promotional, safety information page for Saxenda. If you are interested in weight management treatment, please reach out to our clinical team by contacting [email protected].

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