Generic Name: liraglutide
Brand Names: Saxenda, Victoza
One of the newest "blockbuster" prescription weight loss drugs on the market, Saxenda might just be the one of the most revolutionary drugs of its kind.
Released in mid-2015, Saxenda is unlike any other weight loss drug. It’s not a pill, but a once a day injection, similar to diabetics. Rather than trying to suppress your appetite or by trying to remove excess fat from the body, this one mimics a natural hormone that is found in your intestines when you eat.
Saxenda is not a pill, but a once a day injection, similar to diabetics.
Saxenda works by regulating blood sugar levels, while slowing down how often your stomach empties. This causes you to feel full and reduces your overall desire to eat. This drug was originally intended to be for diabetics, but it was discovered during trials that it caused people to lose weight.
One study, conducted over a one year period, found that more than 60 percent of those taking Saxenda lost 5 percent of their body weight, without "dieting". This is remarkable when you consider that only 34 percent of those who were given a placebo lost weight.
In fact, even more amazing is that a full 31 percent of those taking this amazing new drug lost more than 10 percent of their body weight.
That is perhaps one of the most important attributes of this drug. Since it is unlike other medications that people become "accustomed" to or that have side effects too dangerous rationalize taking the drug for more than a few months, Saxenda simply introduces a hormone that the body already makes, only more of it.
Saxenda is meant for those who are seriously overweight, not for those who only need to lose a few pounds. Novo Norisk, the company that makes Saxenda, states that this is intended for those with a BMI of 30 or those with a GMI of 27 with some type of medical condition, such as high blood pressure.
You should have a talk with your doctor about Saxenda and if it is right for you. You should also be certain that your doctor closely monitors your progress and keeps an eye out for any possible side effects.
Even though this drug mimics a natural hormone, it can have side effects due to the increased amount of hormone being introduced into the body. The most common side effects are diarrhea and nausea.
However, serious side effects have been pancreatitis and even thyroid cancer. If you have any of these medical problems in your family history, or your own medical history, this is NOT the drug for you.
This is by no means cheap, mostly because it is a new drug. The average price is $1,000 per month.
It is not yet known which insurance companies or plans, if any, will cover this. Check with your insurance provider. Those who can afford this will most likely get it right away, while everyone else will wait for the generic brands to grab it when the patent runs out.
As with Bariatric surgery (known as "stomach stapling" or "bypass") Saxenda is only a means to help a person lose weight. It is not a magic injection. People still need behavior therapy to learn why they overeat or why they make poor food choices.
However, for those who need extra help in getting their weight now to manageable levels so that they can exercise and live a healthier lifestyle, this drug will offer hope to millions of people.
If obesity is partially a biological imbalance in the body, then Saxenda might just be the answer to obese patient’s prayers.