Saxenda

1 What is Saxenda?

Brand: Saxenda, Victoza

Generic: Liraglutide

Saxenda (Liraglutide) is used to treat type 2 diabetes in a patient who cannot control blood sugar levels with diet and exercise.

Saxenda is a glucagon-like peptide (GLP1) inhibitor, and it works in the brain to help control appetite. Saxenda should always be combined with low-calorie diet and daily exercise to control blood sugar levels.

Saxenda may also be used to manage weight in patient with high blood pressure, high cholesterol level or heart disease.

Saxenda is not helpful in type 1 diabetes.

It is available in the form of a solution and only with your doctor’s prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Saxenda should be used only according to doctor’s instructions. Before starting the treatment your doctor should be informed if you have any of the following conditions:

Allergies

Inform your doctor if you are allergic to any food, preservatives, dyes, or had an allergic reaction when you used Saxenda before.

Pediatric patients

There are no adequate studies done that prove Saxenda is harmful to children. Follow doctor's instructions when giving Saxenda to children.

Elderly

Saxenda can be used by elderly patients

Pregnancy

Saxenda is an FDA category X drug. This means it is considered a teratogenic and can cause severe harm or birth defects to the fetus when taken by pregnant patients. 

Breastfeeding

There are no adequate studies about use of Saxenda during breastfeeding. For your better safety, is better not to use it while breastfeeding. 

Drug Interactions

Saxenda may interact with other drugs. Your doctor should be informed of any other medicines that you are taking to avoid interactions. Mention to the doctor if you are taking the following drugs:

  • Balofloxacin
  • Besifloxacin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Enoxacin
  • Fleroxacin
  • Flumequine
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Acebutolol
  • Atenolol
  • Betaxolol
  • Bisoprolol
  • Carteolol
  • Carvedilol
  • Insulin or oral diabetes medicines (Glyburide), which may increase the risk of abnormally low blood sugar levels.

Other Medical Conditions

The doctor needs to know if you have certain medical problems before prescribing Saxenda. Inform your doctor if you have the following:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Gallstones, as Saxenda may increase the risk of pancreatitis
  • History of angioedema (swelling of the hands, face, lips, eyes, throat, or tongue; difficulty swallowing or breathing; or hoarseness) caused by another GLP-1 receptor agonist (such as Exenatide)
  • Stomach problems (e.g., trouble digesting food, slowed emptying of the stomach)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Depression
  • History of thyroid cancer in the family
  • Fever, infection
  • Surgery or trauma

3 Proper Usage

Use Saxenda exactly as your doctor directed. Read the medication guide carefully.Patients using Saxenda should follow the diet chart given by the doctor. Regular exercise, controlled diet and checking blood sugar levels daily are important so Saxenda will work as intended. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for any questions about Saxenda. 

Dosing

Dosage varies among patients. Dosage mentioned below is an average dose. You must follow your doctor’s instructions.

For type 2 diabetes:

Adults: 0.6 mg should be injected under the skin once a day for 1 week. Your doctor may increase your dose later on.

For treatment of obesity:

Adults: 0.6 mg should be injected under the skin once a day for 1 week. Your doctor will increase your dose weekly up to 3 mg every week.

Injecting Saxenda

Always inject the right amount of Saxenda at the correct time. To give the Saxenda, inject it deep under the skin. It can be injected at stomach area (abdomen), upper thigh and upper arm. Inject it into different area of your body every time to reduce chances of skin problems. Saxenda can be injected with insulin at the same area, right next to each other. Never use the same syringe in injecting Saxenda and insulin. Use a new needle every time you inject those drugs.

Note that Saxenda can possibly cause your blood sugar to become very low. It is necessary that you keep a track of your blood sugar level especially before and after a meal and at bedtime. A health care provider will teach you how to use Saxenda and ensure that you understand about its use properly.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it almost a time for your next dose skips the missed dose and continue your daily schedule. Never increase or double your dose of Saxenda to make up for the missed dose.

Store it at room temperature. Keep it away from children. Keep the new, unused medicine pen in the refrigerator.

Protect it from heat and light. You can keep opened medicine pen in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 30 days. Do not use it after 30 days. Do not use frozen medicine.

4 Precautions to Take

When you receive Saxenda, make sure to visit your doctor regularly to check your progress. You should inform your doctor that you are using Saxenda before any medical, surgical procedures. Do not take any medicines without asking or informing your doctor. Especially aspirin, and medicines for asthma, cold, cough hay fever or sinus problem.

Do not use Saxenda and Victoza together. 

You should avoid alcohol while using Saxenda. Alcohol may cause your blood glucose to drop to dangerously low levels.

Carry an ID card at all times that says you have diabetes. Carry a list of drugs in your pocket, which may be helpful in case of emergency.

Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of serious thyroid disease (hoarseness, mass in the neck, difficulty in swallowing). Saxendra is associated with gallstones, depression and increased heart rate.

Severe pancreatitis has been reported in a patient taking Saxenda. Inform your doctor right away if you develop severe or persistent stomach or back pain (with or without nausea or vomiting).

Saxendacan cause anaphylactic reactions. Inform your doctor immediately if you start having a rash, itching, fainting, palpitation, trouble breathing and swelling of hand face and mouth.

Note that Saxenda can possibly cause your blood sugar to become very low. It is necessary that you keep a track of your blood sugar level especially before and after a meal and at bedtime. Your health provider will teach you how to use Saxenda and ensure that you understand about its use properly.

Exercise care in using Saxenda with other medications for controlling blood glucose to avoid too low blood sugar levels. Symptoms of low blood sugar are an anxiety blurred vision, cold sweats, confusion, cool, pale skin, difficulty with thinking, drowsiness, excessive hunger, a fast heartbeat, headaches that continue, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, restless sleep, shakiness, slurred speech, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

It is a good idea to carry a reliable source of glucose (eg, tablets, gel) to treat low blood sugar. If this is not available, you should eat or drink a quick source of sugar like table sugar, honey, candy, orange juice, soda. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. To prevent low blood sugar, eat meals at the same time each day and do not skip meals.

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) may occur if you miss a dose or overeat or in stressful conditions like fever or infection. If you experienced these conditions, monitor blood sugar levels closely and call your doctor.

Saxendra can cause serious harm to the baby when taken during pregnancy. When using Saxenda, use a reliable form of birth control to avoid pregnancy. 

5 Potential Side Effects

Saxenda may cause side effects, some of which require medical attention.

  • Symptoms of possible kidney problem such as passing too little or no urine, pain while urinating, swelling of the lower limbs, tiredness and shortness of breath.
  • Low blood sugar symptoms such as weakness, confusion, tremors, sweating, rapid heartbeat, difficulty speaking, nausea and vomiting, rapid  and short breathing, fainting and convulsions.
  • Possible pancreatitis  symptoms such as severe pain in the upper stomach that spreads to the back, nausea, possible vomiting and rapid heartbeats.
  • Possible thyroid tumor symptoms such as swelling or a lump in the neck, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and hoarseness.
  • Severe and ongoing nausea
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Rapid heartrate

Saxenda may cause minor side effects such as:

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