May 11, 2022

Use, cost, side effects, dosage, etc.

Like most medicines, Saxenda can cause mild or severe side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Saxenda can cause. These lists do not include all possible side effects of using Saxenda for weight loss.

Keep in mind that the side effects of a medicine can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health problems you have
  • other medicines you are taking

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Saxenda. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here is a short list of some of the mild side effects that Saxenda can cause. For more information about other mild side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or read the Package Leaflet for Saxenda prescribing information.

Mild Saxenda side effects that have been reported include:

*For more information on this side effect, see the “Side Effects Focus” section below.

Mild side effects of many medications can disappear within days to weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Saxenda can occur, but they are not common. If you have serious side effects from Saxenda, call your doctor right away. But if you think you have a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Saxenda that have been reported include:

*For more information on this side effect, see the “Side Effects Focus” section below.

suicide prevention

If you think someone is at immediate risk of harming themselves or another person:

  • Dial 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, drugs, or other objects that could cause damage.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten or yell.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Focus on side effects

Learn more about some of the side effects Saxenda can cause.

Framed warning

Saxenda has a boxed warning on the thyroid cancer risk. A framed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

There may be a possible risk of thyroid cancer with Saxenda. In animal studies, the active drug in Saxenda*, liraglutide, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in animals. But it’s not known whether the drug causes thyroid cancer in humans.

Due to the possible risk of thyroid cancer, your doctor is unlikely to prescribe Saxenda if:

  • you or a close family member have had a rare type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid cancer (MTC)
  • you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), a rare inherited condition that increases your risk of thyroid cancer

Symptoms of thyroid cancer can include:

* An active drug is the ingredient that makes a drug work.

What might help

Before starting Saxenda, talk with your doctor about your medical history. Tell them about any conditions you have. This includes conditions that may increase your risk of thyroid cancer, such as MTC or MEN 2. Telling your doctor about your medical history will help them determine if Saxenda is safe for you.

Consult your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of thyroid cancer during treatment with Saxenda.


You may feel nauseous with Saxenda. This is usually mild and should decrease as you continue to use Saxenda.

In studiesnausea was the most common side effect reported with Saxenda.

Keep in mind that nausea can sometimes occur with the more serious side effects of Saxenda. These include kidney problems, gallbladder problems, pancreatitis, and low blood sugar.

What might help

If you have nausea from Saxenda, here are some tips to try to relieve it:

  • Avoid eating large meals. Instead, eat smaller amounts more frequently.
  • Avoid rich, spicy or fatty foods.
  • Take frequent sips of water.
  • Try ginger or peppermint teas.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes.
  • Avoid lying down after eating.

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, even if you are nauseous or vomiting. If you become dehydrated this may increase your risk of kidney problems with Saxenda.

If you have nausea that is bothersome, severe, or prevents you from eating and drinking normally, talk to your doctor. Also tell your doctor if you have nausea along with other symptoms, such as stomach pain, fever, or if you urinate less than usual.

Your doctor may recommend other ways to relieve nausea. They can also check that your nausea is not caused by a more serious condition.


You may have headaches during treatment with Saxenda. These headaches are usually mild and tend to go away as your body gets used to Saxenda.

In studies, headaches have been commonly reported in adults taking Saxenda. But they were not commonly reported in children.

What might help

If you have bothersome headaches with Saxenda, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a suitable product.

If you have headaches that are severe or do not improve, talk to your doctor.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Saxenda.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction may include:

A more serious allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under the skin, usually on the eyelids, lips, hands or feet. They can also include swelling of the tongue, mouth, or throat, which can lead to difficulty breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Saxenda. But if you think you have a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

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