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Home / Weight Loss / Saxenda / Saxenda results: expectations vs. reality

Saxenda results: expectations vs. reality

Discover the weight loss journey timeline with Saxenda injection pens

Saxenda is a daily injectable medication that helps people lose weight and keep it off. It comes as a pre-filled pen that you inject into your abdomen, thigh or upper arm.

It’s available on prescription for obese adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above. It may also be prescribed for adults who are overweight if they also have other weight-related medical problems.

Saxenda is an effective alternative for those who have struggled to lose weight in the past, with exercising or dieting alone.

Continue reading to learn about how effective this weight loss medication is and its long-term results.

How effective is Saxenda?

Saxenda’s weight loss effects were shown in a clinical trial Trusted source FDA Government Source US FDA Drug Approval Reports Go to source of 3,731 patients who were either obese or overweight (with a weight-related medical condition).

In clinical trials, 85% of people taking Saxenda lost weight.

Saxenda was also shown to reduce waist circumference by 8.2cm (3.2 inches) compared to 4cm (1.6 inches) in those taking the placebo.

Feet of a woman on a digital scale.

How much weight can I lose on Saxenda?

The amount of weight you’ll be able to lose with Saxenda varies depending on your initial body weight and other lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

Weight loss in a month with Saxenda

Saxenda starts working in the body after your first injection. However, you’re not likely to see a significant change in your weight for a few weeks. Studies Trusted source National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Government Source Biomedical Research and Literature Go to source show that most people notice some weight loss after 4-8 weeks.

In studies, significant weight loss of at least 5% was seen after 8 weeks of treatment.

Weight loss in a year with Saxenda

At week 56 of the study Trusted source FDA Government Source US FDA Drug Approval Reports Go to source , 62.3% of patients taking Saxenda lost at least 5% of their weight compared to 34.4% of those on placebo.

Graph showing patients who achieved ≥5% and >10% of baseline weight loss when taking Saxenda vs placebo

In this study, 33.9% of patients taking Saxenda lost at least 10% of their body weight compared to only 15.4% of those taking the placebo.

After one year of treatment, patients on Saxenda who completed the study lost an average of 9.5kg (or 9.2% of their weight). However, individual results may vary.

Graph showing the change in body weight from baseline in patients taking Saxenda vs placebo.

In these studies, patients also followed a reduced-calorie diet (eating 500 fewer calories per day than usual) and were given instructions on an exercise plan.

If you’re curious to find out how much weight you can lose with this medication, try our weight loss calculator below.

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Does Saxenda work immediately?

Yes. Saxenda works immediately to suppress your appetite from the first day you inject your dose. However, it may take several months to affect your weight due to the way it works.

Saxenda works by affecting your appetite and making you feel less hungry. As your appetite is suppressed, you eat less overall and start to lose weight. It takes time for changes to the amount you eat to affect your weight.

You may also experience side effects from Saxenda, especially when you first start treatment. To avoid this, your dose will be increased gradually which may affect your weight loss progress.

How long does Saxenda take to work?

It may take several weeks before you notice any weight loss. This is because you will initially start taking Saxenda at a low dose. Your doctor will gradually increase your dose over a few weeks until you reach the maintenance dose of Saxenda (3mg) which is effective for weight loss.

Each person will have a different experience on Saxenda. However, here is a general timeline of what you can expect.

Saxenda effects timeline

Week
0
You will begin your weight loss journey. Your starting dose will be 0.6 mg.
Weeks
1-4
Your dose will increase by 0.6 mg each week.
Week
5
By week 5 you will reach a maintenance dose of 3 mg.
Week
8
Studies show that significant weight loss of at least 5% was seen after 8 weeks of treatment.
Week
16
If you haven’t lost ≥4% of your baseline body weight by week 16, your doctor may advise you to stop Saxenda and consider other options.
Week
56
After one year of treatment, patients on Saxenda lost an average of 9.5kg.
Week
160
Over 50% of Saxenda patients who completed a trial achieved significant weight loss at year 1 and maintained it at 3 years.

The dosage plan can differ from person to person and your doctor may increase your dose more slowly, especially if you experience side effects.

How well does it work for long-term weight loss?

A 160-week study Trusted source The Lancet Peer-reviewed Journals Global Health Go to source was conducted to evaluate how safe and effective Saxenda is in the long term.

Results from studies showed that 26% of patients taking Saxenda achieved clinically meaningful weight loss at year 1 and maintained it at year 3.

In comparison, only 10% of those taking the placebo were able to maintain their weight loss at the 3-year mark.

These results show that Saxenda helps adult patients not only achieve but also maintain weight loss.

Do diet and exercise matter when taking Saxenda?

Yes. Saxenda is most effective when used together with a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and exercise. This will give you the best chance of losing weight and keeping it off in the long term.

Even though Saxenda can help reduce hunger and food cravings, making healthy food choices will support your overall health and weight loss goals. Regular exercise offers many benefits beyond weight loss, such as improving cardiovascular health and increasing muscle strength.

Combining Saxenda with these lifestyle changes can lead to more significant and long-lasting weight loss compared to relying on medication alone.

Taking Saxenda on its own without making any other changes to your lifestyle won’t be enough to make you lose weight or sustain your weight loss.

Why am I not losing weight on Saxenda?

If you're not experiencing weight loss while taking Saxenda, there could be several reasons for this.

Despite taking Saxenda, if your diet and exercise habits haven’t changed, you may not see significant weight loss.

To optimise the effectiveness of Saxenda, it's essential to follow a healthy, balanced diet and incorporate regular physical activity into your routine.

Lifestyle factors can also impact your weight loss progress. These include:

  • drinking alcohol
  • portion sizes
  • emotional eating habits
  • sleep
  • stress

Ensure that you are consistently taking Saxenda as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Missing doses or not following the recommended dosing schedule can affect its effectiveness.

What do I do if Saxenda doesn’t work for me?

If you feel as though Saxenda is not working for you, you should speak to your doctor. Your doctor will monitor your weight during treatment to see if this medication is working for you.

If you have not lost at least 5% of your baseline body weight after 12 weeks on the 3.0mg/day dose, your doctor may suggest stopping Saxenda. This is because it is unlikely that you will achieve and maintain clinically meaningful weight loss if you continue with treatment. Your doctor may be able to recommend other more suitable treatment options.

It's important to set realistic expectations as weight loss can take time and you won’t see results overnight. Remember, it’s not only about looking better but also feeling better and healthier.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 24-05-2024
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