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Saxenda: Potential Side-effects

Posted 2 March 2021 in Weight Loss

A happy couple showing their weight loss in over-sized jeansLike all medicines, Saxenda can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

The most common adverse events experienced with Saxenda are gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. The 4-week dose-escalation schedule was designed to minimise GI symptoms and most GI symptoms are mild to moderate and transient . (1)

What if I feel sick?

If you experience any nausea, it is advisable to eat smaller meals, stop eating when full and to make sure that you follow the dose escalation schedule.

What if I have diarrhoea or an upset stomach?

You may experience diarrhoea or constipation. In both cases it is very important to stay well hydrated. You can drink lots of fluids, such as water or squash – take small sips if you feel sick but do not have fruit juice or fizzy drinks as they can make diarrhoea worse.

If the diarrhoea persists then you can buy either oral rehydration sachets you mix with water to make a drink or medicine to stop diarrhoea for a few hours (like loperamide) from your local pharmacy. (2)

What if I am constipated?

To relieve constipation drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol, increase the fibre in your diet or add some wheat bran, oats or linseed to your diet. A daily walk or run can help you too as well as contributing to your weight loss! (3)

How do I prevent indigestion?

Indigestion can be remedied by cutting down on tea, coffee, cola or alcohol. Also, propping your head and shoulders up in bed can stop stomach acid coming up while you sleep.

Try to eat 3 to 4 hours before going to bed and avoid rich, spicy or fatty foods. Avoid taking ibuprofen or aspirin as this can make indigestion worse. If you smoke, cutting down can help too.

If you are still suffering, then your local pharmacy can help with medicines that help reduce acid in your stomach such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors (like Omeprazole 10mg). (4)

Some indigestion medicines are best taken after eating as their effects last longer. Check the information leaflet that comes with the medicines for more information.

What if I can’t sleep?

If you experience insomnia, then you can try changing your bedtime routine.

Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and only go to bed when you feel tired. Relax at least 1 hour before bed by taking a bath or reading a book. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet by using thick curtains, black out blinds, wearing an eye mask or ear plugs.

Exercising regularly during the day will help and make sure that you are comfortable in bed. (5)

What if I’m showing signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)?

Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:

  • sweating
  • feeling tired
  • dizziness
  • feeling hungry
  • tingling lips
  • feeling shaky or trembling
  • a fast or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
  • becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
  • turning pale

If you experience any of the above then have a snack that contains a slow-release carbohydrate, such as a slice of bread or toast, a banana or a glass of cows' milk.

For a full range of potential side-effects visit https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.2313.pdf

However, most people only experience very mild side-effects that last only a short time as your body gets used to Saxenda and some people don’t have any at all.

If you would like to learn more about Saxenda and how it works, click this link.


  1. Novo Nordisk Limited. Saxenda Summary of Product Characteristics [cited 2nd March 2021] https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/2313#gref
  2. NHS diarrhoea and vomiting [cited 2nd March 2021] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diarrhoea-and-vomiting/
  3. NHS Constipation [cited 2nd March 2021] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/constipation/
  4. NHS Indigestion [cited 2nd March 2021] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/indigestion/
  5. NHS. Insomnia [cited 2nd March 2021] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/
  6. NHS. Hypoglycaemia [cited 2nd March 2021] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/low-blood-sugar-hypoglycaemia/

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