Of the six prescription weight loss drugs available in the United States, the most recent addition is Saxenda (liraglutide injection), which entered the marketplace in December 2014. Here’s what you should know about Saxenda, including the findings of a new post-hoc analysis.
What is Saxenda?
One of the more interesting facts about Saxenda is that it is actually a high dose of the type 2 diabetes drug called Victoza. According to the Food and Drug Administration, both drugs “contain the same active ingredient (liraglutide) at different doses (3 mg and 1.8 mg, respectively),” although Saxenda is not prescribed for type 2 diabetes because its safety and efficacy for diabetes treatment has not been determined.
Saxenda works by imitating a hormone in the intestinal tract that signals the brain that your stomach is full. The drug is not a silver bullet, however, but an additional treatment option to be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and physical exercise.
Several other things are of interest about Saxenda, but first, let’s look at new findings concerning the drug.
Does Saxenda work?
The findings of a post hoc analysis of the three-year segment of a large trial (Satiety and Clinical Adiposity—Liraglutide Evidence, or SCALE) Obesity and Prediabetes trial were recently presented at the European Obesity Summit. Study participants were adults with prediabetes and obesity or a BMI of 27 or greater with risk factors.
A total of 1,505 individuals were given Saxenda and 749 took placebo for 160 weeks along with a reduced-calorie diet and an increase in exercise. The investigators’ findings (listed below) are important because they help clinicians predict which patients will likely experience long-term benefits by using Saxenda.
More you should know about Saxenda
Physicians can prescribe Saxenda for chronic weight management for individuals who are obese (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher) or overweight adults (BMI of 27 or higher) who have at least one weight-related condition (cardiometabolic condition) such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension. However, the drug should not be taken by anyone with diabetes who is already taking Victoza.
The price you may pay for taking this drug include the following side effects: increased appetite (exactly the opposite of what you want to happen!), constipation, diarrhea, low blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting.
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