SAXENDA (Liraglutide)

SAXENDA (Liraglutide)

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What is this medication?

SAXENDA (Liraglutide)
Antidiabetic Agent, Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist

SAXENDA (Liraglutide) is officially indicated for chronic weight management as and an adjunct to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Liraglutide causes dose-dependent and treatment duration–dependent thyroid C-cell tumors at clinically relevant exposures in both genders of rats and mice. It is unknown whether liraglutide causes thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans, because the human relevance of liraglutide-induced rodent thyroid C-cell tumors has not been determined.

Liraglutide is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of MTC and in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Counsel patients regarding the potential risk for MTC with the use of liraglutide and inform them of symptoms of thyroid tumors (eg, a mass in the neck, dysphagia, dyspnea, persistent hoarseness). Routine monitoring of serum calcitonin or using thyroid ultrasound is of uncertain value for early detection of MTC in patients treated with liraglutide.

How does this medication work? 

SAXENDA (Liraglutide) is a long-acting analog of human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) (an incretin hormone).  Liraglutide works in multiple ways to lower blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C.  Liraglutide stimulates the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin when blood glucose levels are high.  Liraglutide slow down gastric emptying and the rate at which glucose enters the blood after meals.  Liraglutide also helps lower hepatic glucose output by suppressing pancreatic glucagon secretion.

How should I take this medication? 

SQ: Inject 0.6mg subcutaneously once daily for 1 week; increase the dose by 0.6mg at weekly intervals to a target dose of 3mg once daily.  If you cannot tolerate an increase in dose, consider either delaying the dose escalation for another week.  Some individuals may use a tolerated dose of less then 3mg daily if weight loss goal is being achieved.

How to Take: Inject subcutaneously in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen.  Administer without regard to meals or time of day.  Make sure to change the pen needle with each use.  Always inspect the pen to make sure the solution is clear and free of particulate matter.  Never share your pen with another person or inject in the same exact body region as insulin.  

What should I watch for while using this medication? 

Before starting SAXENDA (Liraglutide), make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take. There remains a risk of medullary thyroid carcinoma in patients who take Liraglutide.  If you suspect pancreatitis, discontinue use immediately. Hypoglycemia can occur when Liraglutide is combined with an insulin secretagogue or insulin.  Monitor renal function in patients with renal impairment reporting severe adverse gastrointestinal reactions. Liraglutide has been associated with depression and suicidal thoughts, discontinue use immediately if you develop such symptoms.

Any medication used for weight loss is not recommended at conception and during pregnancy.  Hence, Liraglutide is contraindicated in pregnant women (lack of potential benefit and possible fetal harm).

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss your daily dose, you can resume your daily injection on the next scheduled dose (never attempt to increase the dose).  If you miss more than 3 days, reinitiate scheduled therapy at 0.6mg daily to avoid gastrointestinal symptoms and titrate accordingly.

How should I store this medication?

Store new, unused pens in the refrigerator between 36°F and 46°F (2°C to 8°C). After first use, store in a refrigerator or at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Pens in use should be thrown away after 30 days even if they still have medication left in them. Do not freeze, SAXENDA (Liraglutide) that has been frozen must not be used.

Keep out of the reach of children at all times. 

What are the possible side effects of using this medication?

Increased heart rate, headache, hypoglycemia, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, injection site reaction.

Note this is not a complete list of side effects for SAXENDA (Liraglutide), only common ones.