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Saxenda vs Wegovy: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Saxenda versus Wegovy
Written by:

Wafaa Amjad Dar

Pharm-D
Reviewer:

Dr. Bradley Noon

MD

Content

Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) are two medications that have gained attention for their potential to aid body weight loss. Although they proved to provide clinically significant effects, it’s essential to understand how these medications work and their suitability for different individuals. In this blog post, we’ll compare Saxenda and Wegovy as weight loss medications, exploring their differences and considerations for those considering them for weight management.

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What Are Wegovy and Saxenda Prescribed For?

Wegovy (semaglutide) [1*] and Saxenda (liraglutide) [2*] are both FDA-approved for weight loss in obese and overweight adults. These medications belong to the class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists and are designed to assist individuals as a part of a weight loss strategy. They bring better effects when used in conjunction with lifestyle modifications, such as a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. 

These medications are prescribed for individuals who meet body mass index (BMI) criteria. For those with a BMI of 30 kg/m² or higher, medications like Wegovy or Saxenda may be considered to address obesity-related health risks. If individuals have at least one weight-related condition, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or dyslipidemia, and a BMI between 27 and 29.9 kg/m², they may be prescribed one of these medications as well.

Both Wegovy and Saxenda are subcutaneous injectable medications. They are available as pre-filled pens which deliver doses predetermined into the body.

Are Wegovy and Saxenda the Same?

Wegovy and Saxenda share similarities as medications indicated for chronic weight management. Both belong to the class of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists and exhibit a similar mechanism of action [3*] . GLP-1 receptor agonists stimulate the pancreas to release insulin which helps regulate blood sugar levels, particularly after meals. It also inhibits the release of glucagon, a hormone that helps lower the liver’s contribution to elevated blood sugar levels. 

Both Saxenda and Wegovy also slow down stomach emptying, promoting a sense of fullness, ultimately reducing overall food intake. Activation of GLP-1 receptors in the central nervous system is essential for appetite regulation, resulting in a reduced sense of hunger and increased satiety. The combination of the above-mentioned mechanisms collectively results in body weight loss.

Differences Between Saxenda and Wegovy

While Wegovy and Saxenda have similarities, they still have several differences. Some of them are discussed in the table below.

CATEGORY SAXENDA WEGOVY
Active ingredient Liraglutide Semaglutide
Effectiveness  Clinical studies have indicated that Wegovy may be slightly more effective in promoting weight loss compared to Saxenda. The higher dosage of semaglutide used in Wegovy trials has demonstrated a greater weight loss outcome [4*] .
Dosing schedules Once-weekly injections of 2.4 mg. Once-weekly injections of 0.25 mg.
Side effects and safety Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, palpitations and constipation. Generally favorable safety. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headache, and constipation. Generally favorable safety but comparatively more gastrointestinal effects [5*] .

Who Should Avoid Saxenda or Wegovy

Although Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) are approved for weight management, there are certain individuals who should avoid using them due to potential risks and contraindications. These include the following: 

  • Individuals with a history of allergic reactions to liraglutide or semaglutide.
  • People with a history or diagnosis of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
  • Individuals with pancreatitis history.
  • Individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a type of thyroid cancer.
  • Individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. 
  • Individuals with a history of gastrointestinal disorders, particularly inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • People with severe renal impairment may need dosage adjustments or may be advised against the use of these medications. 
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding individuals.

It’s important to inform your healthcare provider of all existing health conditions.

Which Is Better for Weight Loss, Wegovy or Saxenda?

The question of which medication is better for weight loss does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. The choice between Saxenda and Wegovy depends on plenty of factors, including individual health status, current health conditions, individual preferences, and responses to the medications. Wegovy has shown greater weight loss outcomes in clinical trials, but Saxenda still remains a valid and effective option for many individuals.

Side effects and tolerance to them are important factors in choosing medication. Potential contraindications also prominently impact the choice between Saxenda and Wegovy. Certain metabolic health conditions may favor the use of one medication over the other.

If you are considering weight loss medication, it’s crucial to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable treatment plan based on your individual needs and health status.

Can You Switch From Saxenda to Wegovy?

Switching from Saxenda to Wegovy or vice versa should only be considered under the guidance of a healthcare professional and based on a Saxenda to Wegovy conversion chart. Various factors such as individual response to the current medication, side effects, and overall health status influence your doctor’s decision. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to the prescribed treatment plan. Self-initiating a switch without professional guidance is not recommended.

Communicate openly with our healthcare providers at MEDvidi to discuss your weight management goals.

Can Saxenda and Wegovy Be Used Together?

Combining Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) is not recommended because it’s not considered safe. They are typically prescribed independently based on individual patient circumstances.

Since both Wegovy and Saxenda are GLP-1 receptor agonists, combining them may increase the risk of side effects, mainly gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your weight management plan.

Conclusion

In the pursuit of effective weight management, both Saxenda and Wegovy are viable options. Whichever of them is prescribed, it should be supplemented with lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and increased physical activity.

Remember that the decision between the two medications should be made by a healthcare professional who can best assess your health status and needs.

Consult with our healthcare professionals and discover the most suitable options for your weight loss journey.

FAQ

Individual weight loss responses to Saxenda or Wegovy can vary. Research suggests that Wegovy (semaglutide) tends to be more effective in promoting weight loss as compared to Saxenda (liraglutide). However, the choice will depend on various factors, including individual health conditions, preferences, and responses to the medications. In addition, lifestyle considerations, including dietary habits and exercise routines, play a significant role in weight management.
Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) are both GLP-1 receptor agonists. They have the same mechanism of action, mimicking the action of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a natural hormone that regulates blood sugar and appetite. By activating the GLP-1 receptors, these medications can help reduce appetite, increase feelings of fullness, and regulate blood sugar levels.

The effectiveness of the same weight loss medication may vary from person to person. Alternative medications for weight loss include Orlistat (Xenical), Contrave (naltrexone/bupropion), Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate), and Wegovy (semaglutide). However, the choice is best determined by a healthcare professional depending on various factors such as medical history, potential side effects, and individual response.

There are various other brands of generic liraglutide and semaglutide available. Some of the brands containing the same active ingredients as Saxenda and Wegovy include Victoza and Ozempic respectively. It’s important to note that only a healthcare professional can prescribe and recommend specific treatments based on an individual’s health condition.

Sources

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+5 sources
  1. Wegovy (semaglutide)
    Source link
  2. Saxenda (liraglutide)
    Source link
  3. A Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist Lowers Weight by Modulating the Structure of Gut Microbiota
    Source link
  4. Clinical Insight on Semaglutide for Chronic Weight Management in Adults: Patient Selection and Special Considerations
    Source link
  5. Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide 1.0mg vs once-daily liraglutide 1.2mg as add-on to 1-3 oral antidiabetic drugs in subjects with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN 10)
    Source link
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Written by:

Wafaa Amjad Dar

Pharm-D
Reviewer:

Dr. Bradley Noon

MD
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.