Saxenda Weight Loss Medication

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Novo Nordisk

If you need to lose weight, you may want to learn more about Saxenda, the new FDA-approved medication for weight management. While the treatment isn't right for everyone, recent research studies have shown that the prescription medication may help you reach and maintain a healthier weight.

What is Saxenda?

Saxenda (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) is a medication that helps your body to feel full sooner after you eat.

This may help you to eat less overall. The medication comes in a pre-filled pen and is injected into your body once each day, at any time of the day.  If you take Saxenda, you'll work together with your physician to reach the correct dose, up to 3 mg.

Saxenda can be used by patients who are obese (with a BMI of 30 or more) or by patients who have a BMI of 27 or more and a weight-related medical condition such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Patients who take Saxenda should also be ready to commit to lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and exercise program.

Some patients should not take Saxenda. These include patients who are pregnant, patients who have had any prior serious reactions to liraglutide or any of its components and those with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

  You should also avoid taking Saxenda if you are taking another GLP-1 receptor agonist or if you use insulin.

You should talk to your doctor to make sure Saxenda is safe for you. Your health care provider will evaluate your health history and your medical conditions to decide if you can use the medication and if it is likely to improve your health.

How Much Weight Can I Lose?

It's always tricky to estimate how much weight you can lose on any medication. Your actual weight loss will depend on several factors including how well you tolerate the medication and how well you stick to a low calorie diet and exercise program. But recent research studies will give you an estimate of how much weight was lost by other patients taking Saxenda.

In clinical trials, patients who took Saxenda lost more weight than those patients who took a placebo.  The patients who were studied took the medication for a year and also received counseling to promote diet and exercise lifestyle changes.  At the end of the study, 64% of patients without diabetes lost at least 5% of their body weight, while only 34% of those taking a placebo reached that goal.  In patients with diabetes, 49% of patients treated with Saxenda lost at least 5% of their body weight compared with 16% of patients treated with placebo.

So what does that mean for you? If you currently weigh 250 pounds and you take Saxenda, you stick to a low calorie diet and you exercise on a regular basis, it's possible that you could lose 12.5 pounds or more.

  But keep in mind that you would need to continue your healthy lifestyle to keep the weight off for good.

Saxenda Side Effects

In clinical trials, the most common side effects observed in patients treated with Saxenda were nausea, low blood sugar, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, headache, decreased appetite, dyspepsia, fatigue, dizziness, and abdominal pain.

In addition, some patients who took Saxenda reported serious side effects including pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, renal impairment, and suicidal thoughts. Saxenda can also raise heart rate. You should stop taking it if you notice a increase in your resting heart rate that continues over time.

How Much Does Saxenda Cost?

When Saxenda becomes available, some sources say that the cost of the weight loss medication will run $25 - $30 per day.  But the final cost has not been determined. While the estimated cost sounds expensive, the treatment may be covered by your insurance company. Currently, drugmaker Novo Nordisk is working with insurance providers to secure coverage. But since plans vary, always check with your own insurance provider to get more accurate information.  In addition, be sure to talk to your doctor about how long you will need to be on the medication so that you can calculate the real cost of the treatment over the long term.

Saxenda is predicted to become available in early 2015.

Sources:

FDA Briefing Document. " FDA Briefing Document NDA 206321 Liraglutide, 3mg." September 11, 2014.

FDA News Release. “FDA approves weight-management drug Saxenda.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed: March 2, 2015. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm427913.htm

Saxenda Medication Guide. Novo Nordisk. Accessed: March 2, 2015. http://www.novo-pi.com/saxenda_med.pdf

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