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Side effects of Saxenda

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Summary

Saxenda is a weight loss medication that has potential side effects, but not everyone will experience them, and the severity may vary from person to person. Common side effects of Saxenda include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, injection site reactions, and changes in blood enzyme and heart rate levels. If you experience side effects, you may need to adjust your dosage temporarily, or your healthcare provider may recommend other treatments or lifestyle changes.

After stopping Saxenda, the most common side effect is an increase in appetite, which may cause weight gain and indigestion, but there are ways to manage this with your healthcare provider’s help.

Mild side effects of Saxenda typically don’t last long, but serious side effects can occur in rare cases, such as acute pancreatitis, which requires medical attention.

Not everyone taking Saxenda will experience any side effects, but keep in mind that everyone responds differently to the weight loss medication, some might encounter allergic reactions. While some people might experience no or only very mild side effects, others may experience more severe reactions. Your healthcare professional is the best person to advise you on what the potential risks of using this type of medication might be for you. By being mindful of the potential side effects when taking Saxenda, patients will be better equipped to know what to look out for and make necessary changes if needed. Saxenda may not be for you if you have certain medical conditions. Your healthcare provider may need to discuss family history for things like thyroid tumors or another type of thyroid cancer. 

Serious Side effects

Although it is generally safe, there are some serious side effects that people should be aware of. First, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have rarely been reported. If you experience breathing difficulties or facial swelling and throat, seek medical attention immediately. Secondly, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is also a rare but severe symptom of Saxenda. In this case, it’s important to recognise the signs, as pancreatitis can be a life-threatening medical condition if left untreated. Stop taking Saxenda if you experience symptoms of pancreatitis, have severe stomach pain, vomiting and/or an increase in your blood sugar levels with no other explanation for why this may be occurring. Discontinue use and contact your healthcare professional if these severe side effects appear at the same time as they could be an indicator of pancreatitis.

Common Side effects

Nausea

Diarrhoea

Constipation

Vomiting

Injection site reaction

Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)

Blurred Vision

Tiredness (fatigue)

Dizziness

abdominal pain

Change in enzyme (lipase) levels in your blood

Increases in mean heart rate

Changing your dose if you experience side effects

If you’re taking a medication like Saxenda and experience any adverse reactions, there are some steps you can take to reduce their intensity. Unpleasant adverse effects typically go away within a few days or weeks and don’t require any changes to dosage. However, stronger side effects may require you to temporarily lower your maintenance dose before increasing it again to avoid further discomfort. This would mean lowering the dose to the previous lower level for up to seven days before increasing again. Note that if symptoms don’t improve even on the lowest dose, this might indicate that either medication isn’t well suited for you.

Will I experience certain side effects after stopping Saxenda?

Saxenda is not an addictive medication, so you will not get withdrawal symptoms but the most common side effect after stopping Saxenda is an increase in appetite. Since the medication has been working to suppress your hunger, you may notice that your body will naturally crave more food when you don’t take it anymore. This could cause weight gain and indigestion. Therefore, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before stopping Saxenda so they can provide medical advice on how best to make the transition without experiencing overwhelming unwanted effects. They can offer advice on engaging in physical activity and managing a healthy diet (reduced-calorie diet) to ensure that any weight gain after coming off the medication won’t be too much of an issue.

How long do Saxenda’s side effects last?

As with any medicine, taking Saxenda may result in mild and temporary side effects. However, these typically don’t last long and are very manageable. The most commonly experienced side effects usually appear shortly after beginning treatment with Saxenda and usually dissipate within a few days or weeks.

 

How many people get side effects from Saxenda?

Very common side effects of Saxenda are likely to affect more than 1 in 10 patients who take the medication. Those include nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation. Common side effects of Saxenda may affect up to 1 in 10 people taking this medication and include tiredness, weakness, a change to your sense of taste and feeling dizzy. While it’s relatively safe, there can be some uncommon side effects that affect around 1 in 100 people taking the drug. These unusual side effects range from a higher-than-normal pulse rate to feeling generally unwell, gallbladder disease, and reduced kidney function or kidney disease.

 

Does Saxenda have long-term side effects?

Saxenda does not appear to have long-term side effects in and of itself. However, it is important to remember that the occasional cases of acute pancreatitis can cause painful complications if left untreated. Pseudocysts may form on your pancreas as a result, which unless treated could become infected or require draining. Although this is rare, as only up to 1% of patients taking Saxenda report pancreatitis, any signs or symptoms noted should be reported to your physician even if they are mild.

Further reading about Saxenda