Side Effects of Saxenda

Saxenda is a weight loss injection that, like all medications, can cause side effects. To lower the risk of side effects, you start Saxenda at a lower dose so your body can get used to it. If you get serious side effects or they are affecting your daily life, you should speak to your doctor.

Here, we take a look at Saxenda, its side effects, and how to reduce your chance of getting them. We’ll also give you a clear breakdown of how to manage side effects if you get them.

Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Development

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 09 Feb 2024

What are the common side effects of Saxenda?

Saxenda does have common side effects, but they’re often mild and usually go away within a few weeks of starting treatment.

The most common side effects of Saxenda that affect more than 1 in 10 people, include:

  • nausea or vomiting (feeling or being sick)
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea

Common side effects of Saxenda that affect up to 1 in 10 people include:

  • dizziness
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • irritation or soreness at the injection site, such as bruising, itching or rash
  • weakness
  • gallstones
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
  • a change in your sense of taste
  • heartburn and indigestion
  • dry mouth
  • bloating
  • flatulence (wind)

You can treat most of these side effects at home.

What are the less common side effects of Saxenda?

There are a few side effects of Saxenda that are less common, which means they may affect up to 1 in 100 people who use it.

Uncommon side effects of Saxenda include:

  • an inflamed gallbladder
  • dehydration (a loss of fluids), which is more likely to occur when you first start taking Saxenda and have other side effects like diarrhoea or vomiting
  • faster pulse
  • a delay in the emptying of your stomach
  • feeling generally unwell
  • an allergic reaction, including a skin rash

How long will Saxenda side effects last?

Saxenda's side effects can last anywhere from a few days to a few months after you start taking it. As with any medication, side effects are on a case-by-case basis, meaning you may get no side effects at all or you may experience side effects for a number of weeks.

Most people who get side effects get them within the first few weeks, as their body adjusts to a new medication. Side effects should get better over time and tend to go away once you reach the maintenance dose, which is the highest dose you stay on for most of your treatment.

Will side effects go away if I stop taking Saxenda?

Yes. Any side effects will eventually go away once you stop taking Saxenda, although this could take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on how long you have been using the treatment. The less time you have been using the treatment, the less time it will take for side effects to go away once you stop taking Saxenda.

If you have side effects that are affecting your daily life, and are making it difficult to continue with your treatment, you can stop taking Saxenda. Make sure you speak to your doctor first.

Will side effects get worse when I increase the dose?

For most people, side effects will gradually reduce as the dose increases. Some people experience worse side effects when the dose increases, but this is uncommon, as your body should be slowly adjusting to the treatment.

You can speak to your doctor if your side effects get worse after a dose increase and they are affecting your life. Your doctor may suggest remaining at a lower dose until your side effects improve.

How can I manage the side effects of Saxenda?

Most Saxenda side effects can be managed at home, without seeking medical help.

Nausea is one of the most common side effects and can be managed by:

  • eating just before or after your dose of Saxenda
  • getting fresh air
  • eating smaller meals more often
  • sitting upright after eating or drinking
  • eating slowly
  • distracting yourself with work, errands or a hobby
  • eating or drinking ginger, which is a natural spice that can reduce nausea
  • avoiding spicy, fatty or greasy foods, such as takeaway or processed foods
  • sipping cold water
  • avoiding caffeinated or fizzy drinks
  • reducing portion sizes

Many of the above tips can also help if you have diarrhoea. It is important to stay hydrated if you have nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea. This will reduce the risk of becoming dehydrated.

Another very common side effect of Saxenda is constipation. You can manage this at home by increasing the amount of fibre you eat, fluid you drink, and keeping active. If you’re struggling, a doctor might recommend taking a laxative for this side effect.

For side effects like weakness, low blood sugar and tiredness, make sure you are eating enough. Although Saxenda can help you lower your calorie intake, you still need to eat a safe amount. For safe weight loss, it is not recommended to reduce your calorie intake by more than 600 calories a day.

You should also decrease your calorie intake gradually. So, if you have not been dieting before using Saxenda, you should be limiting your calorie intake over a number of weeks so your body can get used to it.

Side effects such as indigestion and heartburn can be improved with the use of over-the-counter medications like Gaviscon.

To reduce injection site problems, inject Saxenda in a different area or section of your skin every day.

Are there any serious side effects from taking Saxenda?

Saxenda can cause some serious side effects that should not be ignored. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical advice straight away by calling 111, or 999 if it’s an emergency.

Serious side effects of Saxenda include:

  • anaphylaxis (a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction), which can make it harder to breathe, cause facial swelling and an increased heart rate
  • pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas), which causes consistent and severe pains in your stomach, nausea and vomiting

You should stop using Saxenda if you get either of these side effects and speak to your doctor when it is safe to do so.

Is Saxenda safe?

Yes, as long as it’s prescribed by a doctor . Although Saxenda can cause side effects, many of these are mild. In a clinical study of 2,487 patients taking 3mg of liraglutide (the active ingredient in Saxenda) daily, the most frequently reported side effects were mild-to-moderate nausea and diarrhoea.

Many patients who use Saxenda get no side effects at all, or only get them for a couple of weeks. Serious side effects are rare. Your doctor will check your medical history and any current medications you’re on to make sure that Saxenda is a suitable and safe treatment.

When should I speak to a doctor about my side effects?

If your side effects are mild and manageable at home, continue your treatment and see whether they get better or go away completely. If your side effects are severe or are interfering with your daily life, speak to your doctor. Saxenda may not be suitable for you, or you may need a lower dose.

Where can I buy Saxenda?

Saxenda can only be bought with a prescription, which means you should only buy it from a trusted and regulated seller. You can get Saxenda online from Superdrug Online Doctor by completing a simple and secure online medical questionnaire.

One of our doctors will check through your questionnaire before prescribing Saxenda, if suitable. Your Saxenda pens will be delivered to your home, or you can collect them from a local post office or Superdrug store.

Saxenda Side Effects FAQs

Will drinking alcohol make my side effects worse?

Drinking alcohol can make some Saxenda side effects worse, especially if you have dizziness or nausea. It can also increase the risk of getting low blood sugar. It is best to limit or avoid alcohol consumption whilst taking Saxenda, as alcohol also contains a lot of calories and can impact weight loss.

Will side effects prevent me from driving?

Saxenda is not likely to affect your ability to drive or use machinery. An uncommon side effect of Saxenda is dizziness, so you should take care if you get dizzy and need to drive. You can speak to your doctor if your side effects are making it difficult to drive.

Can Saxenda cause flu-like symptoms?

Saxenda can make you feel generally unwell, although this is uncommon. If you get flu-like symptoms when taking Saxenda, they should go away on their own.

Will Saxenda make me tired?

Saxenda can make you tired until you get used to the medication. To limit any tiredness, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep, eat a healthy and balanced diet and keep active.

Can Saxenda cause depression?

There are no listed side effects for mood changes or depression while taking Saxenda.

Can Saxenda cause high blood pressure?

Saxenda is not known to cause or worsen high blood pressure.


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