What is it: Prescription medication for weight loss.
How does it work: Appetite regulation, increases energy expenditure and promotes fat breakdown.
Who can take it?: Anyone with an initial BMI of over 30, or 27 or above with at least one weight-related comorbidity, such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol.
This article will discuss the benefits and potential side effects of Saxenda, as well as how to obtain a prescription for this medication in Australia. We will also address misconceptions about weight loss medications and provide information on the multidisciplinary approach to fat loss. If you are interested in discussing whether Saxenda is an appropriate treatment for you, consider booking a consultation with a Chronic Therapy doctor.
- What is Saxenda?
- Effects of Saxenda
- How Does Saxenda Work?
- Who can be Prescribed Saxenda in Australia?
- Addressing Misconceptions About Saxenda
- Multidisciplinary Approach to Fat-Loss
- Saxenda Diet
- How long does Saxenda take to work?
- Is Saxenda and Ozempic similar?
- Potential side effects of Saxenda
- How Do I Get a Prescription for Saxenda in Australia?
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Saxenda?
Saxenda (liraglutide) is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist  that is designed to help adult patients lose weight and maintain their reduced weight when accompanied with a reduced calorie diet . It is administered via subcutaneous injection in the stomach fat, thigh or upper arm.
The active ingredient in Saxenda, liraglutide, works by mimicking the body's natural hormone GLP-1, which helps regulate appetite and food intake . Saxenda has been shown to be effective in promoting weight loss when combined with a balanced diet and increased physical activity .
2. Effects of Saxenda
- Appetite Regulation.
- Promotes Fat Breakdown,
- Increases Energy Expenditure
- Increases Weight-loss
3. How Does Saxenda Work?
Saxenda works by binding to GLP-1 receptors in the brain, which helps regulate appetite and food intake . The medication slows down gastric emptying, which can result in a feeling of fullness and reduced calorie intake . In addition, Saxenda may also promote weight loss by increasing energy expenditure and promoting fat breakdown .
4. Who can be Prescribed Saxenda in Australia?
Saxenda is prescribed to Australian adult patients who have an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above (classified as obese) or have an initial BMI of 27 or above with at least one weight-related problem (comorbidity) .
Weight Related Comorbidities
- High blood pressure (hypertension),
- Elevated cholesterol or fats in the blood (dyslipidaemia),
- Type 2 diabetes
- Obstructive sleep apnoea or breathing problems
- Coronary heart disease
- Body pain and difficulty functioning.
5. Addressing Misconceptions About Saxenda
It is crucial to address common misconceptions surrounding weight loss drugs including Saxenda, as they may deter eligible patients from seeking effective treatment options.
Some common misconceptions include:
Saxenda is not a "quick fix" or an "easy way out":
It is essential to understand that medications like Saxenda are not a magic solution to weight loss. They are designed to be used alongside a balanced diet with reduced calories and increased physical activity to achieve optimal results. Weight loss medications can be an effective tool in a comprehensive weight management plan, but they should not be relied upon as the sole method of achieving weight loss.
Saxenda is only for people who are severely obese:
While Saxenda is intended for patients with an initial BMI of 30 or above, or 27 or above with at least one weight-related comorbidity, it is not exclusively for individuals who are severely obese . Saxenda can be an effective treatment option for patients who struggle with weight loss despite efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle and make changes to their diet and exercise routine.
Absence of other underlying medical conditions that could explain the symptoms.
Saxenda is unsafe and has too many side effects:
All medications have the potential for side effects, but the benefits of Saxenda for eligible patients often outweigh the risks . Most side effects associated with Saxenda are mild to moderate and can be managed with dose adjustment or discontinuation of the medication under the supervision of a healthcare professional . Serious side effects are rare, and many patients prevent more serious weight-related medical problems with Saxenda .
It is essential for a doctor to screen all patients for suitability to Saxenda as there are a few drug interactions and conditions that can make Saxenda unsafe to take. Doctors write the patient's dosage protocols which normally start patients on a low dose to see how the patient's body tolerates the medication.
6. Multidisciplinary Approach to Fat-Loss
A multidisciplinary approach to fat loss is essential for long-term success in weight management . This approach includes:
Medical intervention: Medications like Saxenda can be an effective component of a comprehensive weight loss plan for eligible patients. A healthcare professional can help determine the appropriate medication and dosage based on an individual's specific needs and medical history.
Nutrition counselling: A registered dietitian can provide personalised guidance on developing a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that promotes weight loss and supports overall health.
Physical activity: Engaging in regular exercise, such as aerobic activities and strength training, is crucial for achieving and maintaining weight loss.
Behavioural therapy: Working with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or counsellor, can help individuals address emotional and psychological barriers to weight loss, as well as develop strategies for maintaining long-term weight management.
Support networks: Connecting with others who share similar weight loss goals, either through in-person support groups or online communities, can provide valuable encouragement and accountability.
By combining these elements, individuals are more likely to achieve lasting success in their weight loss journey.
7. Saxenda Diet
While taking Saxenda, it is essential to maintain a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that supports weight loss and overall health. There are no specific foods that must be avoided while using Saxenda. A reduced-calorie diet with limited consumption of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, such as processed foods, sugary beverages, and high-fat fast food is recommended. Alcohol should also be avoided as it adds additional stress to the liver.
Instead, focus on incorporating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Reducing the intake of added sugars, excessive amounts of saturated and trans fats, and sodium can also contribute to a healthier diet and support your weight loss goals while using Saxenda.
Incorporating resistance training and ensuring adequate protein intake are highly advised when using Saxenda. These practices can help prevent muscle loss and ensure that the primary source of weight loss comes from fat rather than muscle tissue.
8. How long does Saxenda take to work?
Weight loss with Saxenda normally starts within 2 weeks and continues for 9 to 12 months. Significant weight loss typically occurs within the first 12 weeks of treatment, and continued treatment may result in further weight loss .
It is important to maintain a balanced diet and increased physical activity during Saxenda treatment to maximise the medication's effectiveness. Saxenda can then be used to prevent weight gain.
The amount of time it takes for Saxenda to start working may vary between individuals. However, some patients may experience weight loss within the first few weeks of starting the medication .
9. Is Saxenda and Ozempic similar?
Saxenda and Ozempic, containing different active ingredients, liraglutide and semaglutide, both work as appetite suppressants.
Saxenda, Ozempic, and Australia's newest fat loss drug, Mounjaro, all work by attaching to the GLP-1 receptor. However, Mounjaro also attaches to another receptor (GIP) which leads to more pronounced effects in blood sugar control and weight reduction.
Importantly, Saxenda is specifically designed for weight management in adult patients, while Ozempic and Mounjaro are primarily used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes . Although both medications can promote weight loss, they are prescribed and dosed differently based on the patient's specific needs and medical conditions.
Wegovy is a weight-loss medication that is made by the same manufacturers as Ozempic and has the same active ingredient. It is just dosed differently for weight loss.
10. Potential side effects of Saxenda
As with any medication, Saxenda may cause side effects in some patients. Common adverse effects include :
- Abdominal discomfort
- Injection site reactions (such as redness, swelling, or pain)
These side effects are generally mild to moderate and may diminish over time as the body adjusts to the medication. If side effects persist or worsen, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional.
In rare cases, Saxenda may cause very serious side effects, such as :
- Inflamed Pancreas - Persistent pain in the abdomen/stomach.
- Reduced Kidney Function
- Gallbladder Problems
- Severe Allergic reaction - Rash, shortness of breath, fast pulse, sweating
- Mood Changes - Depression or Mental health
- Goitre (Lump or swelling in the neck)
If any of the rare side effects occur, call your doctor straight away, or go straight to the Accident and Emergency Department at your nearest hospital.
Please note that this list doesn't include all potential side effects. Please click here to see more.
11.How Do I Get a Prescription for Saxenda in Australia?
Saxenda is a prescription medication in Australia and can be prescribed by a doctor. The doctor will evaluate your medical history, weight, and overall health to determine if Saxenda is an appropriate treatment option for you. If you are deemed eligible, they will prescribe the medication and provide guidance on dosage and administration.
If you are considering Saxenda as a potential treatment for weight management, consider booking a consultation with a Chronic Therapy doctor. Our telemedicine platform connects patients with qualified doctors who can assess your eligibility for Saxenda and provide personalised treatment recommendations.
Saxenda is a prescription medication that can be an effective component of a comprehensive weight management plan for eligible adult patients in Australia. It is essential to combine Saxenda treatment with a balanced diet, increased physical activity, and a multidisciplinary approach to fat-loss to achieve optimal results. Although Saxenda may cause side effects in some patients, the medication's benefits often outweigh the risks for eligible individuals.
If you are interested in discussing whether Saxenda is an appropriate treatment for you, consider booking a consultation with a Chronic Therapy doctor. Our telemedicine platform can connect you with qualified healthcare professionals who can assess your eligibility for Saxenda and provide personalised treatment recommendations.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where can I buy Saxenda in Australia?
Once you have a valid prescription for Saxenda, you can purchase the medication from a pharmacy in Australia. Saxenda is not available over the counter and must be obtained through a pharmacist with a prescription from an Australian registered doctor.
With an electronic prescription, we can arrange for Saxenda to be posted to your home from a variety of pharmacies.
2. How much does Saxenda cost in Australia?
The price of Saxenda varies between pharmacies in Australia. Especially now that there is a shortage of medication. On average Saxenda costs around $13.5 per day in Australia.
The cost of Saxenda in Australia may vary depending on factors such as the prescribed dose, pharmacy, and insurance coverage. Generally, the price for a one-month supply of Saxenda can range from AUD $350 to $450. It is important to note that Saxenda may not be covered by all insurance plans, so it is essential to check with your insurance provider to determine if the medication is covered under your policy.
3. Is Saxenda on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)?
As of September 2021, Saxenda is not listed on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) . This means that the cost of the medication is not subsidised by the Australian government and patients are responsible for the full cost of the medication. However, it is possible that Saxenda may be added to the PBS in the future, which could reduce the out-of-pocket cost for eligible patients.
4. How to take Saxenda?
Saxenda is administered as a once-daily subcutaneous injection, usually in the abdomen, or thigh . Saxenda comes in a prefilled injection pen with interchangeable needle tips. A new tip is attached every time you inject Saxenda.
It is important to follow the dosage protocol prescribed by your doctor and to use the medication consistently at the same time each day.
5. How to store Saxenda pen
The lid of the Saxenda pen must be properly closed and then stored in the fridge between 2-8 degrees Celsius. Saxenda cannot be frozen.
Saxenda pens must be thrown away if they have been opened for 30 days, even if there is still Saxenda in them.
6. Can you exercise while taking Saxenda?
Yes, you can and should engage in regular physical activity while taking Saxenda. Exercise is a crucial component of a comprehensive weight management plan and can help maximise the effectiveness of Saxenda treatment. Aim to include a mix of aerobic activities (such as walking, swimming, or cycling) and strength training exercises in your weekly routine. Consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert for guidance on developing an exercise plan that is appropriate for your fitness level and weight loss goals.
7. How to inject Saxenda?
To inject Saxenda, follow these steps:
1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
2. Remove the pen cap and wipe the rubber stopper with an alcohol swab.
3. Attach a new needle to the pen and remove the outer and inner needle caps.
4. Prime the pen by dialling the dose selector to the appropriate dose, as prescribed by your healthcare professional.
5. Select the injection site (abdomen, thigh or upper arm) and clean the area with an alcohol swab.
6. Pinch a fold of skin at the injection site and insert the needle at a 90-degree angle.
7. Press the dose button on the pen until the dose selector returns to zero, and then count to 6 before removing the needle.
8. Dispose of the used needle in a sharps container and replace the pen cap.
It is essential that Saxenda is administered subcutaneously (into fatty tissue) and NOT administered intravenously.
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8. How long does a Saxenda pen last?
A Saxenda pen can last between six to seventeen days depending on the dose being administered. Patients are instructed to take a smaller dose initially and titrate up.
9. Saxenda Dosage Protocol?
Saxenda doses vary between patients. While the doctors prescribe different Saxenda doses to patients, there are some commonalities in the dosing approach, which include:
Type of administration: Saxenda is administered as a subcutaneous injection, typically in the abdomen or thigh.
Time of administration: Patients are advised to take Saxenda at the same time each day, regardless of meals, for consistent daily administration.
Starting with a low dose and tapering up: The initial dose of Saxenda starts low and is titrated up over a 5-week period. Each week the daily dose is slightly raised. This minimises any gastrointestinal adverse reactions.
Maintenance dose: Once the appropriate dosage is reached, patients continue with a maintenance dose as prescribed by their doctor.
Missed dose: In the event that you miss a single dose of Saxenda, it is important not to attempt to make up for the missed dose; instead, simply continue with your regular dose the following day. However, if you miss three consecutive doses of Saxenda, you will need to restart your dosage protocol from the beginning, starting with the lowest dose and gradually titrating up to your maintenance dose as directed by your doctor.
10. What is the best time to take Saxenda?
It is generally recommended to take Saxenda at the same time each day, regardless of meals. Choose a time that is convenient for you and that allows for consistent daily administration. Some patients may prefer to take Saxenda in the morning, while others may find it more convenient to take it in the evening. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to determine the best time for you to take Saxenda