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What is Saxenda (liraglutide)?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Liraglutide (Saxenda) is a drug that was developed to treat type 2 diabetes. It is taken as a daily injection. It was approved as a weight-loss treatment for people without diabetes in 2014. Liraglutide is used to treat people with a BMI of 30 or more, and people with a BMI of 27 to 30 with certain conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. It should be used along with diet and exercise. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

Saxenda (liraglutide) is a drug that is FDA approved to treat obesity in adults who are obese or overweight and who have at least one obesity-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes or another condition. The drug is given by injection.

You are considered obese if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater. You are considered overweight if your BMI is 27 or greater.

Saxenda is a type of drug called a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone made in your gut. Your body releases it when food from a meal reaches your small intestine. The hormone works to help your pancreas produce insulin, make you feel full quickly, decrease your appetite and slow the movement of food through your stomach. Saxenda and similar drugs mimic the action of GLP-1 and will have many of the same effects. Victoza is another GLP-1 receptor agonist that contains the same ingredient as Saxenda. It’s also used to treat type 2 diabetes.

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