Generic name: Liraglutide (Saxenda) [ lir-a-GLOO-tide ]
Brand name: Saxenda
Drug class: Incretin mimetics
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 4, 2023.
- This medicine has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in some animals. It is not known if this happens in humans. If thyroid cancer happens, it may be deadly if not found and treated early. Call your doctor right away if you have a neck mass, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or have hoarseness that will not go away.
- Do not use liraglutide (saxenda) if you have a health problem called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), or if you or a family member have had thyroid cancer.
Uses of Liraglutide:
- It is used to help you lose weight.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Liraglutide?
- If you have an allergy to liraglutide or any other part of liraglutide (saxenda).
- If you are allergic to liraglutide (saxenda); any part of liraglutide (saxenda); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have or have ever had depression or thoughts of suicide.
- If you are using another drug that has the same drug in it.
- If you are using insulin.
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not use liraglutide (saxenda) if you are pregnant.
- If the patient is a child. Do not give liraglutide (saxenda) to a child.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with liraglutide (saxenda).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take liraglutide (saxenda) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Liraglutide?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take liraglutide (saxenda). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
- Kidney problems have happened. Sometimes, these may need to be treated in the hospital or with dialysis.
- Gallbladder problems have happened. Sometimes, people had to be treated in the hospital. In some cases the gallbladder had to be removed. Discuss any questions with the doctor.
- If you cannot drink liquids by mouth or if you have upset stomach, throwing up, or diarrhea that does not go away; you need to avoid getting dehydrated. Contact your doctor to find out what to do. Dehydration may lead to new or worse kidney problems.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
- This medicine may prevent other drugs taken by mouth from getting into the body. If you take other drugs by mouth, you may need to take them at some other time than liraglutide (saxenda). Talk with your doctor.
- Do not share pen or cartridge devices with another person even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices may pass infections from one person to another. This includes infections you may not know you have.
- Weight loss during pregnancy may cause harm to the unborn baby. If you get pregnant while taking liraglutide (saxenda) or if you want to get pregnant, call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (Liraglutide) best taken?
Use liraglutide (saxenda) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin on the top of the thigh, belly area, or upper arm.
- If you will be giving yourself the shot, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to give the shot.
- Move the site where you give the shot with each shot.
- Take with or without food.
- Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.
- Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has particles.
- Do not use if solution changes color.
- Wash your hands before and after use.
- Prepare pen before first use as you have been told. You will also need to do this if you drop the pen.
- Keep taking liraglutide (saxenda) as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. Do not reuse needles or other items. When the box is full, follow all local rules for getting rid of it. Talk with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
- Attach new needle before each dose.
- Follow the diet and workout plan that your doctor told you about.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you miss 3 days of liraglutide (saxenda), call your doctor to find out what to do.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of gallbladder problems like pain in the upper right belly area, right shoulder area, or between the shoulder blades; yellow skin or eyes; fever with chills; bloating; or very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Dizziness or passing out.
- Fast or abnormal heartbeat.
- New or worse behavior or mood changes like depression or thoughts of suicide.
- Slurred speech.
- Low blood sugar can happen. The chance may be raised when liraglutide (saxenda) is used with other drugs for diabetes. Signs may be dizziness, headache, feeling sleepy or weak, shaking, fast heartbeat, confusion, hunger, or sweating. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs. Follow what you have been told to do for low blood sugar. This may include taking glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or some fruit juices.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly pancreas problems (pancreatitis) have happened with liraglutide (saxenda). Call your doctor right away if you have very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very upset stomach or throwing up.
What are some other side effects of Liraglutide?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Not hungry.
- Irritation where the shot is given.
- Stomach pain.
- Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Liraglutide?
- Store unopened pens in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Do not use if it has been frozen.
- Store opened pens at room temperature or in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- After opening, throw away any part not used after 30 days.
- Take off the needle after each shot. Do not store this device with the needle on it.
- Protect from heat and light.
- Keep the cap on the pen when not in use.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time liraglutide (saxenda) is refilled. If you have any questions about liraglutide (saxenda), please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Frequently asked questions
- What foods should I avoid while on Saxenda?
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- Will Victoza help with weight loss?
- How and where do you use the Victoza pen?
- Does Victoza need to be refrigerated?
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More about liraglutide
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- Dosage information
- Patient tips
- During pregnancy
- Support group
- Drug class: incretin mimetics
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