Is Saxenda worth taking for weight loss?
Many weight-loss intentions are driven by the desire to look better and regain self-confidence or as a coping mechanism to a life-changing event. Others decide to turn their lives around and embark on a weight-loss journey for a healthier life, or maybe even after having a health scare. Then, there are instances when weight loss is ordered by a doctor when he assessed that his patient’s obesity is becoming life-threatening. This is when Saxenda comes in as a weight loss solution.
How does Saxenda work?
Saxenda is indicated for weight management in adults with BMI above 30 or BMI above 27 with hypertension, dyslipidaemia, dysglycaemia or sleep apnoea and adolescents above the age of 12 with a body weight above 60kg or BMI equivalent to 30 for adults. Saxenda promotes weight loss by regulating your appetite. It acts just like the appetite hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), that our bodies produce, ‘tricking’ our bodies to consume lesser calories which eventually leads to weight loss.
Saxenda comes in a prefilled injection pen and is only available by prescription, meaning that you cannot simply walk into a pharmacy and purchase it over the counter. A doctor’s role in the prescription of Saxenda is extremely important, as he will not only guide you on performing the daily injections yourself but also ascertain your suitability, track your weight loss progress and monitor you for side effects.
How is Saxenda consumed?
Administering Saxenda is relatively easy as it is in a liquid form already contained in a pen-like syringe. There are no additional vials to reload the dosages from. Saxenda should be injected subcutaneously (under the skin) on your upper arm, thigh or abdomen as advised by the doc
Administering injections for non-medically trained persons can undeniably be a challenge especially when injecting yourself, so here are some tips and reminders to ease the process:
- Remember to disinfect
Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the Saxenda pen and always remember to clean the injection area with rubbing alcohol before the injection.
- Inspect the product before use
Check if the liquid looks different in terms of colour and viscosity. There shouldn’t be any sediments or particles too. If in doubt, do not use but discard.
- Rotate your injection sites
Injecting the same spot daily can leave the area sore, without ample time for recovery. You can rotate between your thigh, arm or abdomen, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
- Inject at the same time everyday
There is no recommended timing to inject Saxenda, so choose a time of the day that is most convenient to you so that you are able to keep to the schedule every day.
- Don’t inject into a muscle or vein
Don’t worry, your doctor will guide you on how to identify if a muscle or vein is in the way.
- Don’t share your Saxenda pen
Even if you have removed the needle, the Saxenda pen should not be shared as the risk of contamination and infection is still present. Furthermore, Saxenda is a prescribed drug and no one should consume it without a doctor’s consultation.
Treatment always starts on a lower dosage for your doctor to evaluate your body’s response to the medication. The dosage will then be increased gradually. If 3 days have passed since your last injection, you would need to check with your doctor if you should resume on a lower dosage in order to prevent side effects from developing. However, most patients have prescribed a daily injection as their weight loss regime, so an interval of 3 days between jabs should rightfully not occur.
How effective is Saxenda for weight loss?
In clinical trials leading to the launch of Saxenda, 85% of people taking the medication reported weight loss. Among them, 60% lost more than 5% of their original weight while 1 out of 3 people lost more than 10%. 6% of patients are now 20% lighter, losing an average of 21kg. These findings were significant enough for the researchers to introduce Saxenda to the market as a weight-control measure to be complemented by a reduced-calorie meal plan and an increased physical activity plan.
Adults on Saxenda will be able to tell if the medication works for them in an early as 4 weeks. A follow-up appointment is usually scheduled 4 weeks after the start of the treatment, during which the doctor will note the patient’s reading on the weighing scale. The treatment is considered a success if at least 4% of body weight has been lost.
What are Saxenda’s side effects?
Like any medication, Saxenda may cause mild side effects. The most common side effects reported as an upset stomach, vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue, vertigo, nausea, faster heartbeats and headaches. Aches, numbness or rashes at the injection site are also common, as well as a fever. These side effects usually fade in a few days. More serious side effects such as thyroid tumours, low blood sugar levels, kidney problems, acute pancreatitis and gallstones have also been reported, but rarely.
Saxenda is generally safe with a few exceptions for people who have been diagnosed with or have a family history of thyroid-related conditions, women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, or those with an allergy to liraglutide, the appetite-regulating GLP-1 agonist. During the consultation with your doctor, list down all medications and supplements that you are currently consuming and detail any medical conditions that you may have major or minor ones. Also, let your doctor know if you have had any stomach issues such as indigestion, and also if you are breastfeeding or intend to. Your doctor will evaluate any risk against the benefits of Saxenda and will proceed with the prescription if Saxenda is deemed to outweigh its risks or side effects.
Saxenda marks a great start in anyone’s weight loss journey and the subsequent path to better health, well-being and quality of life. If you fulfil the criteria in terms of weight or BMI, do consider broaching the treatment with your doctor and if you prefer, take a friend or family member with you for the appointment for support.
The Cost of Saxenda
The cost of Saxenda procedure is RM330-400. Saxenda is a prescription medication used to help individuals lose weight and improve their overall health. The cost of Saxenda will vary depending on a few factors, such as insurance coverage, dosage, and quantity. Typically, the cost of a one-month supply of Saxenda is about RM1,500 onwards, although discounts and coupons may be available at times. It is important to discuss pricing options with your healthcare provider to find the best option for you.