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Challenges with weight loss on Saxenda®

Saxenda® is a brand name for the drug liraglutide, which is used to promote weight loss. It is especially recommended for individuals struggling with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.
saxenda weight loss challenges

Table of Contents

What is Saxenda® and how does it work?

Saxenda® works by mimicking a hormone (GLP-1) in your intestines that makes you feel full. It decreases hunger and promotes feelings of satiety, preventing overeating and reducing calorie intake, leading to weight loss. However, it’s not a miracle drug and doesn’t work in isolation. Nutritionists emphasize the importance of a balanced, low-calorie diet and regular physical exercise while on Saxenda®. Saxenda® is administered via a subcutaneous injection, usually given in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. The injection is preferred due to the effectiveness of the drug delivery system and ease of use. People should start with a low dose, with the doctor gradually increasing it to reduce possible side effects. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people on Saxenda® lost an average of 18.5 pounds over 56 weeks, which was significantly more than those who took a placebo. However, drug-related weight loss isn’t without challenges. Once you stop using the drug, you might regain the lost weight if you don’t continue with dietary changes and physical activities. Adjusting lifestyle habits while taking Saxenda® aids in maintaining weight loss. A healthcare provider will monitor your progress while on Saxenda® and can provide guidance if challenges arise.

What are the common side effects of Saxenda®?

Like with any medication, there are potential side effects of Saxenda®. The most common ones include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, decreased appetite, indigestion, and a decrease in blood sugar levels, which can cause dizziness, confusion, or shaking. Nausea is most common when you first start taking the drug and generally fades over time. To reduce the incidence of nausea, it’s recommended that the initial dose of Saxenda® be low and gradually increased as directed by your doctor. Diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting may also happen. These gastro-intestinal discomforts are moderate and often resolve on their own within a few days. Decreased appetite is a beneficial side effect that contributes to weight loss. However, a too excessive loss of appetite can create a nutritional deficit and is essential to manage correctly. On rarer occasions, Saxenda® may cause gallstones, pancreatitis, or kidney problems. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe abdominal pain, changes in urination, or sudden weight loss. Lastly, keep in mind that with any medication, individual side-effect experiences may vary. Some individuals might experience few to no side effects while others may need to stop taking the medication due to side-effects severity.

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Who should use Saxenda®?

Saxenda® is designed for adults who struggle with weight loss. It’s recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, classified as obese, or those with a BMI of 27 or more who have at least one weight-related health issue such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. This medication is a part of a comprehensive weight management program that should include a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity. It’s not a miracle drug and needs to be used in conjunction with other lifestyle changes for maximum effectiveness. Saxenda® shouldn’t be used if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2. Pregnant women should not use Saxenda® as it may harm the unborn baby. If you have a history of acute pancreatitis or kidney problems, you should consult your doctor before using Saxenda®. Regular monitoring of blood tests and general health will be necessary while on Saxenda®. While Saxenda® can be a helpful tool for weight loss, complete reliance on this medication is discouraged. It’s essential to also focus on sustainable lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, to maintain the lost weight in the long run.

How effective is Saxenda® for weight loss?

Studies show that Saxenda®, along with a proper diet and exercise regime, can significantly aid weight loss. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that people who used Saxenda® lost an average of 18.5 pounds over a year compared to those using a placebo. However, it’s crucial to note that the weight loss associated with Saxenda® is not just due to the medication itself. By suppressing the appetite, Saxenda® helps control dietary needs, making it easier for users to stick to a low-calorie diet. Regular physical activity is essential for burning calories and creating the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss. Another study showed that, on average, individuals who took Saxenda® for six months lost 7% of their initial body weight, compared to those on a placebo, who lost just 2%. Saxenda®’s effectiveness for weight loss varies from person to person. Factors like initial weight, diet, physical activity level, and commitment to lifestyle changes all play roles in the overall weight loss outcome. It’s important to remember that the journey to weight loss is personal. What works for one individual might not work for another. Regular evaluation with a healthcare provider can guide necessary treatment adjustments for optimal results.

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What is the recommended dosage of Saxenda®?

Saxenda® comes in an injectable pen form. The initial dose is typically 0.6 mg per day, to be increased weekly by 0.6 mg until the recommended daily dose of 3.0 mg is reached. This titration schedule helps to minimize potential digestive side effects like nausea and diarrhea. If these side effects become too bothersome or don’t disappear with time, the dosage may need to be adjusted. Inject Saxenda® under the skin (subcutaneously) in the stomach area (abdomen), upper leg (thigh), or upper arm, as instructed by your healthcare provider. Do not inject into a vein or muscle. Ensure to rotate injection sites with each dose. Do not use the same site for consecutive injections. It can be taken at any time, with or without food. The pen contains a maximum of 3mg of Saxenda®. Each pen lasts for 15-30 days, depending on the daily dosage. Never adjust your dosage without consulting your healthcare provider. Make sure you use the medication as directed by your doctor, and maintain regular follow-ups to assess your progress, side effects, or any signs of health concerns.

Can Saxenda® be used with other weight loss medications?

Saxenda® is an effective weight loss medication, but it’s not usually combined with other weight loss drugs. Combining weight loss drugs can increase the risk of side effects and may not necessarily lead to additional weight loss. In some cases, there could also be drug interactions which could be harmful, especially if the other medication affects similar body systems or has similar side effects. For instance, combining Saxenda®, which reduces appetite, with another appetite suppressant could result in an excessive loss of appetite, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Before starting any new medication — including over-the-counter drugs or supplements — it’s essential to share your complete medical history and current medication list with your healthcare provider. If you are not achieving the desired weight loss with Saxenda® alone, consult your healthcare provider. They may suggest adjusting the Saxenda® dosage or implementing additional dietary and lifestyle changes. In certain cases, a different weight loss medication altogether may be considered. A healthcare provider can help determine the most suitable, safe, and effective approach based on personal health history and weight loss goals.

How long does it take for Saxenda® to start working?

The effects of Saxenda® can usually be noticed within the first two weeks of treatment. However, the time it takes to see weight-loss results can vary depending on factors like initial weight, diet, physical activity level, and individual response to the medication. Consistency and adherence to a balanced diet and regular exercise play major roles in achieving weight loss results. Nausea and loss of appetite are common initial side effects that can contribute to weight loss in the first few weeks. During clinical trials, patients who took Saxenda® lost an average of 4-5% of their initial body weight within the first 16 weeks. Remember that a 5% weight loss is considered clinically significant and can lead to substantial health benefits, such as reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. It’s important to remember that medication alone can’t lead to sustainable weight loss. A combination of Saxenda®, a reduced-calorie diet, and regular physical activity can yield desirable weight loss results. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider will ensure the appropriate continuation or adjustment of treatment.

Are there any long-term effects of using Saxenda®?

The long-term effects of taking Saxenda® are still being studied. So far, there’s some evidence that long-term use of Saxenda® can result in significant and sustained weight loss. Common side effects like gastrointestinal issues (nausea, constipation, and diarrhea) can persist with long-term use but tends to decrease over time. Gallstones are a possible long-term side effect due to rapid weight loss. Rarely, Saxenda® can potentially increase the heart rate and should be monitored in patients with cardiac disease. In animal studies, liraglutide, the active ingredient in Saxenda®, have induced thyroid tumors. Human relevance of this effect has not been concluded. Consult your healthcare provider regularly while on Saxenda®. They may want to perform blood tests to monitor kidney, thyroid, and pancreas functions, especially for those with pre-existing conditions. The key to long-term weight loss success is maintaining a balanced diet and regular physical activity, adapting to lifestyle changes, and regularly monitoring your progress. H2: Can Saxenda® cause weight gain? While Saxenda®’s objective is to promote weight loss, a small fraction of users may experience weight gain. This paradoxical reaction could be linked to certain factors. It might be a result of water retention or edema, a known side effect of Saxenda®. Additionally, Saxenda® may cause low blood sugar, and some people may eat more to compensate for the loss of energy, which may result in weight gain. Also, if the lifestyle changes necessary for weight loss are not made or not adhered to, Saxenda®’s efficacy may decrease over time. Eating healthy and staying active are necessary to maintain weight loss achieved on Saxenda®. It is worth repeating that each person’s response to the medication may differ. If you experience weight gain while on Saxenda®, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare provider so they can adjust your treatment plan or investigate other potential causes.

Can Saxenda® cause weight gain?

While Saxenda®’s objective is to promote weight loss, a small fraction of users may experience weight gain. This paradoxical reaction could be linked to certain factors. It might be a result of water retention or edema, a known side effect of Saxenda®. Additionally, Saxenda® may cause low blood sugar, and some people may eat more to compensate for the loss of energy, which may result in weight gain. Also, if the lifestyle changes necessary for weight loss are not made or not adhered to, Saxenda®’s efficacy may decrease over time. Eating healthy and staying active are necessary to maintain weight loss achieved on Saxenda®. It is worth repeating that each person’s response to the medication may differ. If you experience weight gain while on Saxenda®, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare provider so they can adjust your treatment plan or investigate other potential causes.

Is Saxenda® covered by medical insurance?

Coverage for Saxenda® varies widely among insurance companies. Some providers might cover it under prescription benefit plans, but others may consider it a self-pay drug. In many cases, insurance providers may cover a part of or the entire cost of the medication if specific criteria are met, such as a diagnosis of obesity or weight-related health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension. Medicare Part D plans may cover Saxenda®, but coverage and out-of-pocket costs depend on the individual plan. It’s best to check with the insurance provider to understand if and how much of the Saxenda® cost is covered. If insurance does not cover the cost or the out-of-pocket expenses are significant, there are patient assistance programs available through Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Saxenda®. Remember, while Saxenda® can be a crucial part of your weight loss journey, it’s meant to supplement, not replace, dietary changes and physical activities. Whichever way you choose, ensure it’s a path that promotes healthy and sustainable weight loss.
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