Anyone who watched the recent 2023 Oscars, would have found themselves googling the word ‘Ozempic’. The Oscars rarely feature discussions about healthcare, but during the ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about the rumored use of the diabetes drug, Ozempic, as a weight loss aid by Hollywood celebrities. Kimmel quipped about the injectable medication’s potential to help him achieve the same results as those in attendance.
Due to this weight loss trend, there has been a worldwide shortage of this medication for Diabetic patients who really need it. If you have been using Ozempic and can’t seem to find it anywhere or you’re considering alternative treatment, here’s where Saxenda comes in.
So, what is Saxenda?
Saxenda (liraglutide) is a FDA approved prescription weight loss injection pen for adults with BMI ≥ 27 who also have weight-related medical problems or obesity (BMI ≥30). It helps patients to lose weight and keep their weight off.
Saxenda works like glucagon-like-peptide (GLP-1), an appetite hormone your body naturally produces that helps to regulate your hunger by suppressing your appetite.
The goal is patient will be able to consume fewer calories thus achieving weight loss without feeling the hunger. For best results, it always advisable for patients to maintain a health lifestyle by exercising and making wise dietary choices in addition to Saxenda use.
You will need to inject this pen under the skin (subcutaneously) daily in your stomach area (abdomen), upper leg (thigh), or upper arm, as instructed by your health care provider. Patients are often advised to change their injection site within the area they choose with each injection to reduce your risk of getting lumps under the skin (cutaneous amyloidosis).
You will initially start off with the lowest dose – 0.6mg, to help minimize the gastrointestinal side effects. After you start Saxenda, provided you have no issues with tolerating it, your dose should be increased weekly until you reach the 3 mg dose. After that, do not change your dose unless your health care provider tells you to.
Here are some of the common side effects associated with Saxenda:
- Injection site reaction
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Stomach pain
- Change in enzyme (lipase) levels in your blood
Additional common side effects in children are fever and gastroenteritis. Nausea is the most common side effect associated with Saxenda. However, the symptoms generally improve with time.
Saxenda is NOT suitable for individuals with the following health conditions:
- Psychiatric Disorders.
- Liraglutide Hypersensitivity.
- Personal/Family History of Thyroid Cancer.
- Multiple Endocrine Neoplasm Syndrome Type
Prior to initiation of treatment, detailed history taking, routine blood work and physical examination are often done.