WHAT IS SAXENDA AND WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
Saxenda is a medicine used along with diet and exercise to help manage weight in adults:
- who are obese (have a body-mass index – BMI – of 30 or more);
- who are overweight (have a BMI between 27 and 30) and have weight-related complications such as diabetes, abnormally high levels of fat in the blood, high blood pressure or obstructive sleep apnea (frequent interruption of breathing during sleep).
BMI is a measurement that indicates body weight relative to height. Saxenda contains the active substance liraglutide.
HOW IS SAXENDA USED?
Saxenda is available as a solution for injection in pre-filled pens. The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription. Saxenda is injected once per day, preferably at the same time every day. It is given as an injection under the skin in the thigh, upper arm or abdomen (belly). The starting dose is 0.6 mg per day. The dose is then increased each week by 0.6 mg to a maximum of 3.0 mg per day. Treatment with Saxenda should be stopped if patients have not lost at least 5% of their initial body weight after 12 weeks of treatment with 3 mg of Saxenda per day. The doctor should re-assess the need of continuing treatment once a year.
WHAT BENEFITS OF SAXENDA HAVE BEEN SHOWN IN STUDIES?
Saxenda has been shown to be effective at reducing body weight in 5 main studies involving over 5,800 obese or overweight patients and lasting up to 56 weeks, in which Saxenda was compared with placebo (a dummy treatment). Patients in the studies were given the medicine as part of a weight loss program involving counselling and advice on diet and exercise. Looking at the results of the 5 studies together, Saxenda at a daily dose of 3 mg led to a 7.5% reduction in body weight, compared with a 2.3% reduction in patients taking placebo. Patients treated with Saxenda had a continuous decrease in body weight during the first 40 weeks of treatment, after which the weight loss achieved was maintained. Weight loss was more pronounced in women than in men. When the figures for the main studies were re-analyzed using a more conservative method that assumed that patients who did not complete the study (around 30%) would not have seen any improvement, similar but smaller weight reductions with Saxenda were noted.