Use, Cost, Side Effects, Dosage, and More

Like most drugs, Saxenda may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Saxenda may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects of using Saxenda for weight loss.

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

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

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’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Saxenda can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Saxenda’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of Saxenda that have been reported include:

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Saxenda can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Saxenda, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having 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 about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Suicide prevention

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • 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.

Side effect focus

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

Boxed warning

Saxenda has a boxed warning about the risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed 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, Saxenda’s active drug,* liraglutide, was found to cause thyroid tumors in animals. But it’s not known if the drug causes thyroid cancer in humans.

Due to the possible risk of thyroid cancer, your doctor will likely not prescribe Saxenda if:

  • you or a member of your close family 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 raises your risk of thyroid cancer

Symptoms of thyroid cancer may include:

* An active drug is the ingredient that makes a medication 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. Informing your doctor about your medical history will help them determine whether Saxenda is safe for you to take.

See your doctor right away if you have symptoms of thyroid cancer during Saxenda treatment.


You may have nausea with Saxenda. This is usually mild and should lessen as you continue to use Saxenda.

In studies, nausea was the most common side effect reported with Saxenda.

Keep in mind that nausea can sometimes happen with Saxenda’s more serious side effects. These include kidney problems, gallbladder problems, pancreatitis, and low blood sugar level.

What might help

If you have nausea from Saxenda, here are a few tips to try to help ease it:

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

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, even if you have nausea or vomiting. If you become dehydrated, this can raise your risk of kidney problems with Saxenda.

If you have nausea that’s bothersome, severe, or stops you from eating and drinking normally, talk with your doctor. Also, talk with your doctor if you have nausea with other symptoms, such as belly pain, fever, or urinating less than usual.

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


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

In studies, headaches were commonly reported in adults who took Saxenda. But they weren’t 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 get better, talk with your doctor.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Saxenda.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

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


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