Saxenda’s Dosage: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Dena Westphalen, Pharm.D.

Doctors prescribe Saxenda (liraglutide) for weight management. It comes as a solution inside a prefilled injection pen, which is used once daily.  Specifically, Saxenda is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss and long-term weight management. It’s used in certain adults and children, along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.

Saxenda is not available in a generic form.

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Saxenda’s dosage and details on how to inject the drug. For a comprehensive overview of Saxenda, view this article.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking Saxenda, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Saxenda. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Always follow the dosage of Saxenda that your doctor prescribes.

This drug has a boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

This medication may increase your risk of thyroid cancer. This side effect occurred in animal studies but hasn’t been reported in humans at this time. Animal studies don’t always indicate what may happen in humans.

Due to this risk, doctors usually won’t prescribe this medication if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). They also usually won’t prescribe Saxenda if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). This is because you may be at an increased risk of thyroid-related side effects if you have a history of these conditions.

Your doctor will also recommend monitoring you for symptoms of thyroid problems during your treatment with Saxenda. Symptoms may include a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath.

Before starting treatment with Saxenda, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether it may be safe for you to take Saxenda.

Saxenda: Dosage

Commonly recommended dosages for Saxenda are shown below.

You should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your condition.

Saxenda’s form and strength

Saxenda is available as follows:

  • Form: liquid solution in a prefilled injection pen that is given as a subcutaneous injection
  • Strength: 6 milligrams (mg) per milliliter (mL)
  • Size: each prefilled pen contains 3 mL of solution

Typical recommended dosage for weight loss in adults

Usually, doctors will prescribe a low dosage of Saxenda at the start of treatment. Then, they’ll adjust the dosage over time if needed. Ultimately, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dosage of Saxenda that gives the desired effect.

Below is an overview of Saxenda’s recommended dosage for weight loss and weight management in adults. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Saxenda that’s right for you.

  • Starting dosage: 0.6 mg once daily
  • Maintenance dosage: 3 mg once daily
  • Maximum dosage: 3 mg once daily

You’ll usually start with a dose of 0.6 mg once daily. Then, your doctor will increase the dose each week until you reach the recommended maintenance dosage of 3 mg once daily. Below is a table of the typical dosage increases for Saxenda.

Week number Dose
Week 1 0.6 mg once daily
Week 2 1.2 mg once daily
Week 3 1.8 mg once daily
Week 4 2.4 mg once daily
Week 5 and thereafter 3 mg once daily

If you have trouble tolerating a dose increase, your doctor may recommend returning to the previous dose for an additional week. If you cannot tolerate the recommended maintenance dosage (3 mg once daily), your doctor will likely stop your Saxenda treatment.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about your dosage of Saxenda.

Children’s dosage

Saxenda is approved for weight loss and weight management in certain children ages 12 years and older. Typically, the recommended dosage of Saxenda is the same in children as it is in adults. Below is an overview of Saxenda’s recommended dosage in children.

  • Starting dosage: 0.6 mg once daily
  • Maintenance dosage: 3 mg once daily or 2.4 mg once daily
  • Maximum dosage: 3 mg once daily

Like adults, your child’s dose of Saxenda will start at 0.6 mg once daily. Then, your child’s doctor will likely increase the dose each week until they reach the recommended maintenance dosage of 3 mg once daily. (For details, see table in “Typical recommended dosages for weight loss and weight management in adults” section above.)

Usually, these dose increases happen every week for 5 weeks. However, sometimes in children their doctor may choose to spread out the dose increases over 8 weeks instead.

If your child has bothersome side effects at the 3 mg dosage, their doctor may recommend they take 2.4 mg instead. However, if your child continues to have side effects and can’t tolerate the 2.4 mg dosage, their doctor will likely recommend stopping treatment with Saxenda.

If you have questions about your child’s dosage of Saxenda, talk with their doctor.

Length of treatment

Doctors typically prescribe Saxenda as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Saxenda: Common questions about dosage

Below are some common questions related to Saxenda’s dosage.

Is there a Saxenda dose chart?

Yes, there’s a Saxenda dose chart for the typical dose increases of Saxenda. You’ll start this medication at a low dose and then slowly increase your dose each week to get to the recommended maintenance dose.

For details, see “Saxenda: Dosage” section above. If you have questions about your dosage of Saxenda, talk with your doctor.

Does Saxenda have a dosing schedule? Will I take my Saxenda dose daily?

Yes, there is a recommended dosing schedule for Saxenda. Typically, Saxenda is used once daily.

You’ll start this medication at a low dose and then slowly increase your dose each week to get to the recommended maintenance dose. Before you start your treatment, your doctor will explain the dosing schedule to you.

For details, see “Saxenda: Dosage” section above. If you have questions about your dosage of Saxenda, talk with your doctor.

How many Saxenda doses are there per pen?

It depends on your dosage of Saxenda.

Each Saxenda pen contains 3 milliliters (mL) of liquid solution. The solution has a strength of 6 milligrams (mg) per mL. So, if your dose of Saxenda is 3 mg once daily, each pen will have 6 doses in it. However, if you’re taking the starting doses of Saxenda, your pen may last you longer. (See “Saxenda: Dosage” section above for details.)

If you have questions about how long your Saxenda pen should last, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Would my doctor increase my Saxenda dose early?

Not usually. In the beginning of your treatment with Saxenda, your doctor may increase your dose each week. (See “Saxenda: Dosage” section above for details.)

It’s typically not recommended to increase your Saxenda dose early. This is because the drug can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. And, increasing your dose early can increase your risk of these side effects occurring.

If you have questions about your dosing schedule of Saxenda, talk with your doctor.

Saxenda: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider several factors when prescribing the dosage for Saxenda. These factors include:

  • your age
  • how well you tolerate Saxenda
  • other medical conditions you have

Saxenda: How to use

Saxenda comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled pen. Saxenda is given as a subcutaneous injection.

Before starting your treatment, your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to inject Saxenda. You can inject your dose with or without food.

Saxenda should be injected into your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. You should try to inject your dose into a different area each day. For example, after you inject a dose in your upper arm, use a different part of your upper arm the next day or switch to your abdomen or thigh instead. Using the same injection site over and over could lead to skin problems, such as a lump under the skin.

For step-by-step directions on how to inject Saxenda, check out the instructions for use.

ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS

Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They may also offer labels containing a scannable code that your smartphone can convert from text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If it’s difficult for you to open medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can dispense Saxenda in an easy-open container. They also may recommend ways to help make it easier to open the bottles.

Saxenda: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Saxenda, take the next dose at your usual time. Don’t take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose.

It’s important to note that if you miss more than 3 days of Saxenda doses, you’ll have to restart the drug’s dosing schedule. (See “Saxenda: Dosage” section above for details.)

If you missed your dose of Saxenda and you’re concerned about when to take your next dose or whether you should restart your dosing schedule, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

Saxenda: Overdose

If you take more than the recommended dosage of Saxenda, serious effects can occur. Do not take more Saxenda than your doctor prescribes. 

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms that an overdose of Saxenda could cause include:

  • severe nausea
  • severe vomiting
  • very low blood sugar, which can be severe

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or a local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Saxenda: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for additional information about Saxenda’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosages presented in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Saxenda that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any medications you’re taking, do not change your Saxenda dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Saxenda with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Saxenda. For comprehensive details on Saxenda, see this article.
  • Information on side effects. If you’d like to know about possible side effects of Saxenda, view this article.
  • Cost and savings options. For information about Saxenda’s cost and ways to save on your prescription, read this article.
  • Details about weight loss. To learn more about weight loss, which Saxenda is used to help with, see this article.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.


 
Medical Reviewer: Dena Westphalen, Pharm.D.
Last Review Date: 2023 Sep 18
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