Saxenda Dosage

Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Development

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 09 Feb 2024

Saxenda is a prescription weight loss injection pen that can help you lose weight alongside regular exercise and a balanced diet. It works by suppressing your appetite, making you feel less hungry, helping you to lose weight. Each 1 ml of solution contains 6 mg of the active ingredient, liraglutide. As you continue to use Saxenda, you will need to increase your dose as your body gets used to the medication. You will do this over a 5 week period with the support of your doctor. Here, we look at saxenda doses and how they affect your treatment.

What is the starting dose of Saxenda?

When you first start using Saxenda, the starting dose is 0.6 mg once a day for at least 1 week. Your doctor will then tell you to gradually increase your dose by 0.6 mg, usually every week until you reach the recommended dose of 3.0 mg once a day. You should not increase your dose unless your doctor has told you to.

How long should the first Saxenda pen last me?

The first Saxenda pen should last for 17 days while you increase your dosage from 0.6mg in the first week, up to 1.8mg in the third week.

Can I increase my dose early?

It is not recommended that you increase the dose early. The dosing schedule of Saxenda has been designed to minimise side effects, so increasing your daily dose too quickly could cause worse side effects. You should take Saxenda exactly as your doctor has prescribed it.

What is titration?

Titration means changing the medication dosage to achieve the best clinical outcome. Drug titration, or a gradual increase or decrease of a drug, can reduce the risk of side effects, and prevent withdrawal symptoms or the recurrence of disease.

The dose of Saxenda will change during the first few weeks of use. .This is to help the body get used to the medication and limit the side effects.

What is the daily dose of Saxenda?

The daily dose of Saxenda increases weekly and you should follow your doctor's instructions. Usually, the daily dose will be as follows:


How long does a Saxenda pen last at the maintenance dose?

The maintenance dose of Saxenda is 3 mg once a day. Each pen contains 18 mg of the active ingredient, liraglutide, so a pen should last 6 days once you reach the maintenance dose.

Do I need to increase the dose every week?

Your doctor will advise you when to increase the dose. It is usually increased by 0.6 mg each week until you reach the maintenance dose of 3.0 mg once a day. However, if for any reason your doctor decides you do not need to increase for a week, then you do not need to do so. It’s best to follow your doctor's instructions.

The maximum dose is 3.0 mg once a day and you should not increase your dose any further once this has been reached. If you cannot tolerate 3.0 mg, your doctor may recommend a different maximum dose or other treatment.

Sometimes people will have side effects at higher doses and want to either increase more slowly, or stay at a lower dose long term. This should be fine as long as your doctor is aware.

How many Saxenda pens will I need?

You will need as many Saxenda pens as it takes to reach your weight loss goals or until you decide you want to stop treatment. You can work out how many pens you need by understanding how long they will last depending on your dose.

At the start of your treatment, your daily dose will be low, so one pen should last for 17 days. For the first month of treatment, you will need 3 pens. If you decide to choose a pack of 5 pens, they will last for 6 weeks, until you reach the maintenance dose.

Once you have reached the daily maintenance dose, one pen will last for 6 days, while a pack of 5 pens will last you 30 days.

Saxenda is a long-term weight loss treatment. Your doctor will assess your progress after 12 weeks of taking 3mg a day. You should only continue using Saxenda if you have lost at least 5% of your initial body weight after 12 weeks on the maintenance dose of 3 mg per day. If you haven’t achieved this after 12 weeks, you may want to consider alternative weight loss treatment.

Can I split my Saxenda dose?

It isn’t recommended that you split your Saxenda dose. Instead, you should inject the full daily dose in one go, at around the same time each day.

If you need more medicine than is left in your pen, you can split your dose between the current pen you are using and a new one but only if you have been trained to do so by your doctor or nurse. If you have not been trained or are unsure how to split the dose between two pens, you should inject the dose with a new pen.

How do I change the dose on my pen?

To change the dose on your pen you must:

  • turn the dose selector until the dose you need is shown (0.6 mg, 1.2mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg, or 3.0 mg) to a maximum of 3.0 mg
  • if you select the wrong dose, turn the dose selector backwards or forwards until you reach the correct dose
  • the dose selector only changes the dose, you will need to check the dose counter and dose pointer to see how many mg you have selected per dose
  • if you have less than 3.0 mg left in your pen, the dose counter will stop before 3.0 mg is shown
  • do not count the pen clicks to determine your dose always use the dose counter and pointer as it can click differently depending on which way you turn the selector

What if I can’t tolerate my new dose?

If you are unable to tolerate a new dose of Saxenda, you should speak to your doctor for advice. They may advise an alternative treatment or change your dosing schedule to better match your needs.

Will changing my dose affect side effects?

It is possible that changing the dose may affect side effects. For example, delaying the increase in dose may help to reduce or relieve side effects, while increasing your dose may cause additional side effects. The dosing schedule of Saxenda has been designed to lower the risk of side effects.

Most side effects usually go away after a few days or weeks of Saxenda but if you are unable to tolerate any, you should speak to your doctor or nurse.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

  • If you miss a dose of Saxenda and remember within 12 hours of when you would usually take the dose, inject it as soon as you remember.
  • If more than 12 hours have passed since you should have taken your missed dose, skip the missed dose and inject your next one at the usual time.

Never use a double dose or increase the dose the next day to make up for the missed dose.

Saxenda Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a Saxenda needle more than once?

No, you should always dispose of the needle after each injection to stop the needles from becoming blocked. If the needle becomes blocked, it will not administer any medicine. To remove the needle after injection:

  • on a flat surface, lead the needle tip into the outer needle cap. Do not touch the needle or outer needle cap with your hands
  • once the needle is covered by the cap, carefully push the other needle cap completely on
  • unscrew the needle and dispose of it carefully in your sharps bin

How should I store my pens?

Before you use the pen for the first time, store it in the fridge (2℃ to 8℃). Do not freeze the pen and make sure it is kept away from the freezer compartment of your fridge if you have one.

Once you start using your pen, you can store it for 30 days at room temperature below 30℃ or in the fridge at 2℃ to 8℃. When you’re not using the pen, make sure the pen cap is on to protect it from light.

How long does a Saxenda pen last in storage?

Once opened the Saxenda pen will last for 30 days. If the pen is unopened, make sure it is not past the expiry date when you come to use it. You can find the expiry date on the pen label and the carton after ‘EXP’.

Any pens in use should be thrown away after 30 days even if they have medicine in them. Do not freeze Saxenda under any circumstances. Any Saxenda that has been frozen must be thrown away.

What should I do with a broken Saxenda pen?

Saxenda pens are quite delicate and should be handled carefully. If your Saxenda pen breaks or becomes jammed you should dispose of it safely.

If you drop your pen, check for any leaks or cracks. If the body of the pen is damaged, do not use it.

You shouldn’t attempt to fix a broken pen. Instead, discard it safely and use a new one for your next dose.

What’s the best time to take Saxenda?

Saxenda can be taken at any time with or without food or drink. You should use Saxenda at about the same time each day. Pick a time that works best for you. The best places to inject are your:

  • tummy
  • thigh
  • upper arm


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