Saxenda vs Wegovy: Side effects, weight loss & which is right for you?

Saxenda vs Wegovy
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mandy Liedeman


Injectable Saxenda and Wegovy can aid people in their fight for a healthier weight. This blog post compares Saxenda and Wegovy, two weight loss medications. We will delve into discussing their effects and any possible side effects. Our goal in providing this comparative analysis through experts is to help you decide which medication could be best for your health journey.

Saxenda vs Wegovy: Key Differences
Saxenda vs Wegovy: key differences

Understanding GLP-1 agonists for weight loss

GLP-1 agonists help to manage weight by reducing hunger, regulating blood sugar levels, and prolonging the feeling of fullness through delayed stomach emptying. Clinical trials consistently show that GLP-1 agonists are effective at inducing weight loss, regardless of whether the individual has diabetes. 

This weight loss targets lower body fat, particularly visceral and truncal adipose tissues. Unlike dietary interventions, the effects of GLP-1 agonist therapy can last up to three years, though discontinuation may result in some weight gain.

Unsure about Wegovy or Saxenda? Consult our expert doctors online to find the right medication for your condition.

What are GLP-1 receptor agonists, and how do they work?

Renowned for its role in appetite and weight regulation, GLP-1 aids in reducing hunger, managing blood sugar levels, and causing a sense of fullness by delaying stomach emptying. GLP-1 agonists have exhibited promise in facilitating weight loss and, in certain cases, treating obesity.

Dr. Ola at Your Doctors Online explains that some GLP-1 medications used to manage type 2 diabetes stimulate insulin release from the pancreas when blood sugar levels rise. This helps cells absorb glucose, leading to lower blood sugar. Additionally, these medications can slow digestion, contributing to feelings of fullness and potentially reducing food intake and appetite. While weight loss is a potential benefit, it’s not guaranteed and depends on individual factors. GLP-1 agonists may offer additional advantages like reducing cardiovascular risk and delaying diabetes complications. Remember, these medications are typically used alongside other diabetes management strategies, and consulting a healthcare professional for personalized advice remains crucial.”

Research shows that GLP-1 agonists induce weight loss in both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals, with reductions in overall body fat, particularly in visceral and truncal adipose tissue. Despite these positive outcomes, the long-term effects of GLP-1 agonists on weight loss remain a subject of ongoing investigation.

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What is the eligibility for Saxenda and Wegovy?

Wegovy (semaglutide injection) is prescribed for adults suffering from obesity. For those who want to keep the weight off for good, it is a good alternative to cutting calories and getting more exercise if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher or if they suffer from a weight-related illness like dyslipidemia, hypertension, or type 2 diabetes. Those who have tried and failed to lose weight in the past may benefit from this medication.

Saxenda (liraglutide) is approved as an alternative to a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2 or higher) or overweight (BMI 27 kg/m2 or higher) and at least one weight-related comorbidity, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia.

Saxenda, like Wegovy, is approved for people who have failed previous weight-loss treatments. To determine eligibility for Wegovy and Saxenda, consult a healthcare professional who will consider individual medical histories and specific health needs.

MedicationActive IngredientBMI CriteriaWeight-Related Comorbidities
WegovySemaglutideBMI ≥ 30 kg/m²Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, Dyslipidemia
SaxendaLiraglutideBMI ≥ 30 kg/m² or BMI ≥ 27 kg/m²Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia
What is the eligibility for Saxenda and Wegovy?

Head-to-head comparison

Below is a head-to-head comparison of Saxenda vs. Wegovy through our expert doctors and pharmacists. The comparison includes a detailed comparison of dosage, side effects, and weight loss results they have learned in their practice and knowledge.

Dosage: Daily Saxenda vs Weekly Wegovy

Saxenda (liraglutide) requires a once-daily injection, whereas Wegovy (semaglutide) is administered once weekly due to semaglutide’s more prolonged duration of action than liraglutide. The convenience of a weekly injection with Wegovy may be especially beneficial for people who have busy routines.

Side Effects: Comparing tolerability profiles

Like other GLP-1 receptor agonists, Wegovy and Saxenda mainly impact the gastrointestinal system with side effects. Constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea are some possible symptoms.

Wegovy appears to be better tolerated, with fewer treatment discontinuations due to side effects than Saxenda. However, individual drug responses vary from patient to patient. Consult a healthcare professional if side effects cause distress, worsen, or persist.

Consult our doctors online to discuss your medical history and get a refill for Saxenda or Wegovy.

Weight loss results: Unveiling the potential

Compared to Saxenda, Wegovy consistently promotes more weight loss in clinical trials. The average weight loss in a 68-week study of 300 adults using Wegovy was about 11.2% to 13.8% of body weight, with some participants losing as much as 15% of their starting weight. 

Saxenda, on the other hand, caused a 6% average weight loss in that trial. According to these results, Wegovy has a better chance of helping you lose weight than Saxenda. Consideration of an individual’s medical history, specific health needs, and the overall treatment plan is essential for making an informed decision tailored to personal circumstances.

Comparison Table

CriteriaWegovy (Canada)Saxenda (USA)
IndicationChronic weight management in obesityChronic weight management in obesity
Eligibility (BMI)≥30 kg/m2≥30 kg/m2 or ≥27 kg/m2 with comorbidity
Weight-Related ComorbiditiesHypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemiaHypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia
Previous InterventionFailed weight management intervention.Failed weight management intervention.
Common Side EffectsGastrointestinal issues (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation)Gastrointestinal issues (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation)
Weight Loss PotentialGenerally more effective, significant weight loss observedAverage weight loss of 6%
Comprehensive PlanYes, it includes diet and lifestyle changes.Yes, includes diet and lifestyle changes.
Prescription ConsultationPrescribed by a healthcare professional.Prescribed by a healthcare professional.
Comparison table between Wegovy and Sexanda

Dosing Strategies: Tailoring treatment for individual needs

This innovative approach considers a patient’s genetic makeup, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors to develop specific and effective treatment strategies. 

This beneficial approach acknowledges that people respond differently to treatments. Improved treatment outcomes can be achieved when doctors take the time to analyze each patient’s unique genetic makeup and other health data. The ability to optimize treatment outcomes is the main advantage of precision medicine.

Individualized dosing strategies are implemented within the framework of Saxenda and Wegovy. Due to the prolonged action of Semaglutide compared to liraglutide, Saxenda is administered as a once-daily injection, while Wegovy is given weekly. 

People who lead busy lives may find a weekly injection the most convenient option. For long-term weight control, doctors often recommend both drugs in addition to a low-calorie diet and regular exercise.

One important part of treatment is managing side effects; this is where customization comes in. As shared above, Wegovy seems better tolerated than Saxenda, with fewer discontinuations due to side effects.

Individual needs can also be considered when designing a program for weight loss. Although results differ from patient to patient, clinical trials indicate that Wegovy is typically more effective than Saxenda. When deciding between these drugs, a healthcare provider should be consulted, considering the patient’s complete medical history, unique health requirements, and treatment strategy.

Under the supervision of a healthcare professional, you should switch from Saxenda to Wegovy or vice versa. A few things to remember and general procedures for this switching are as follows:

Choosing Wegovy or Saxenda? Discuss eligibility concerns and find the medication that fits your lifestyle with an online consultation now.

Switching from Saxenda to Wegovy

Talk to your healthcare professional to determine if you can switch based on your health needs and receive tailored advice. Find out when you should start taking Wegovy and stop taking Saxenda.

Follow your doctor’s orders regarding when to stop taking Saxenda and start taking Wegovy and any suggested intervals between the two medications. As your body adjusts to the medication, your Wegovy dosage may gradually increase.

Cost Comparison

The pricing of Saxenda and Wegovy can fluctuate based on insurance coverage, dosage, and administration frequency. According to recent reports, Wegovy is estimated to cost approximately $1,500 monthly, while Saxenda is priced at around $1,349 monthly. However, these figures may vary depending on location and individual insurance coverage.

When choosing the right option, Wegovy vs. Saxenda, one should consider factors such as efficacy, lifestyle compatibility, and personal preferences.

Are you using Saxenda or Wegovy?  Get your prescription refill now.

Lifestyle integration: Considering injection frequency and routines

The main difference between Saxenda and Wegovy is their injection frequency. Saxenda requires daily injections, while Wegovy is administered once weekly. This frequency difference can impact how easily you integrate the medication into your routine.

  • Daily injections: Consider setting a specific time of day for your injection and using a reminder app to ensure consistency. You might also find it helpful to create a designated space for storing and preparing your injection supplies.
  • Weekly injections: Choose a specific day for your injection and record it on your calendar or planner for easy reference.

Ultimately, the best way to integrate either medication into your routine depends on your preferences and lifestyle. Discuss any concerns or difficulties with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Beyond medications: Complementary strategies – Diet, exercise, and behavior changes

While medications like Wegovy and Saxenda offer valuable support, long-term weight management requires a holistic approach encompassing healthy lifestyle choices. This includes adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and implementing positive behavioral changes. The research underscores the effectiveness of personalized strategies that address individual needs and preferences. Working with healthcare professionals to create tailored plans incorporating these elements is crucial for sustainable weight management and overall well-being.

Our healthcare professionals offer personalized advice. Get personalized health advice with an online consultation today.

FAQs about Saxenda vs Wegovy

Which is more effective, Saxenda or Semaglutide?

“Wegovy results in more significant weight loss than Saxenda. However, individual responses can vary significantly; when making a final decision, we usually look into a patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and anticipated outcomes with the patient’s unique healthcare requirements and treatment strategy.” Says Dr. Marsha Dunkely.

What is the average weight loss on Saxenda vs. Wegovy?

Compared to Saxenda, which contains liraglutide, Wegovy, which contains semaglutide, is more effective in promoting weight loss. Compared to Saxenda, which only managed a 5% weight loss in clinical trials, Wegovy achieved an impressive 15% weight loss.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Zimmer, Sarah. “Saxenda vs Wegovy: What Is The Difference? Explore the mechanisms behind two popular FDA-approved medications for weight loss–comparing benefits, efficacy, side effects, and which medication is better for you.”
  • Carette, C., C. Rives-Lange, and S. Czernichow. “Medications for the treatment of obesity.” Journal of Visceral Surgery 160, no. 2 (2023): S12-S14.
  • Wojtara, Magda, Ashmita Mazumder, Yusra Syeda, and Nikodem Mozgała. “Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists for Chronic Weight Management.” Advances in Medicine 2023 (2023).

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