In response to the many requests we receive for information regarding Saxenda® as a weight loss medication please read this brief guide and refer to the link at the end of this post for more in depth information. We have provided some background content to weight loss in general as a prelude to the information about Saxenda.

Dr. Sandi and the team at Como Diagnostic recognise that the causes of weight gain are complex and that the key to successful weight loss and weight maintenance is appetite control. In order to lose weight and keep it off, we need: A healthy reduced energy diet PLUS a sense of fullness or satiety. 

Many of our patients have successfully lost significant weight and maintained a healthy weight with just a sensible diet, lifestyle and exercise but there are also a select group of people who find it very difficult to lose weight and maintain it – so let’s first consider the physiological basis of weight control.

How Weight is Controlled

how-weight-is-controlledOur weight is controlled by a special part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus’ main role is to keep the body in balance or equilibrium – it helps control blood sugar, blood pressure, body temperature and body weight.

When you lose weight the hypothalamus does all that it can to defend your weight ‘set point’ and you can feel hungrier and are less satisfied after you have eaten. In other words it is physiologically difficult to maintain weight loss. If you are going to be successful in the long term then it is important to overcome the body’s natural tendency to protect against weight loss.

The body can adjust to the new lower weight set point if hunger is well controlled – there are now a number of medications that can assist weight loss in addition to controlling hunger.

battle-of-the-hunger-hormonesAt Como Diagnostic we understand the physiological nature of weight loss and why it’s harder for some people to lose weight & keep it off.

Who is a candidate for weight-loss medication?

You should know, however, that any prescription weight-loss medicines including Saxenda are used in addition to — not instead of — diet and exercise.

According to medical guidelines weight-loss medication may be of assistance if you haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise and you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30.
  • Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Weight-loss medications approved for long-term use produce significant weight loss compared with placebo. In addition, studies show that the addition of weight-loss medication to lifestyle changes results in greater weight loss than lifestyle changes alone produce.

Over the course of 12 months, this can mean a weight loss of 3 to 7 percent of total body weight beyond that achieved with lifestyle changes alone. That may seem like a modest amount, but sustained weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of total body weight can have health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

What you should know about weight-loss medication

Your current health status, existing medical conditions and weight loss goals are all important determinants in deciding whether weight loss medication is an appropriate intervention – these and any potential risk of side effects will be discussed in your consultation(s) with Dr. Sandi.weight-loss-standing-on-scales

How long does one need to be on weight loss medication?

How long you will need to take weight-loss medication depends on whether the drug helps you lose weight and whether you have any side effects. If you have lost enough weight to improve your health and aren’t having serious side effects, some medication can be taken indefinitely.

If you don’t lose at least 5 percent of your body weight after 12 weeks on the full dose of your medication then an alternative medication may be instituted.

After stopping weight-loss medication, many people gain back some of the weight they lost. However, adopting healthy lifestyle habits may help limit weight gain.


What is Saxenda®

Liraglutide (Saxenda®) is a once-daily injected  medication that mimics one of the hormones made in the gut that tells the brain that you are full (glucagon-like peptide 1 or GLP-1).  It slows the emptying of the stomach and suppresses appetite.

How does Saxenda® work?

Saxenda® can help reduce weight by enhancing the way your body regulates appetite.Your body naturally produces a number of appetite regulators. One of these is called glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1). GLP-1 is released in response to food intake and increases feelings of fullness, reduces hunger and reduces food intake. It has a short half-life of about 2 minutes.

Saxenda®)  is 97% similar to native human GLP-1 with half-life of approximately 13 hours. Like naturally occurring GLP-1, Saxenda works to reduce feelings of hunger while increasing feelings of fullness, leading to reduced appetite and less food consumption.

Who should use it?

It has been approved for use in patients who have BMI >30 or BMI >27 and at least one obesity related conditions such as such as pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or sleep apnoea and many others.

How is it taken?

Once-daily Saxenda®, can be taken at any time, independent of meals, but is ideally taken in the morning to provide a feeling of fullness throughout the day. Saxenda® is administered by subcutaneously injecting into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The injection site and timing can be changed without dose adjustment.

The starting dose is 0.6mg and it may be increased in small increments, to a maximum of 3mg, if required.  This will guided by Dr. Sandi, and is dependent on your weight loss and levels of hunger.

Expected weight loss with Saxenda®

Weight loss of about 5-10% of your starting body weight may be achieved with Saxenda® when used as part of a weight management program, as discussed with Dr. Sandi.

Saxenda®will help you to maintain this new lower body weight and help to prevent weight from being regained.

When does weight loss start?

Weight loss normally starts within two weeks and continues for 9-12 months on Saxenda®) treatment.

The  impact of  5-10% weight loss 

Losing 5-10% of your weight may improve obesity related problems including: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardio-vascular disease and sleep apnoea.


As with any medication there are potential risks of adverse reactions which Dr. Sandi will cover at length with you.

At Como Diagnostic, we understand the complex physiological and hormonal drivers of weight gain and how to overcome them, so that you can achieve long term weight control.  We offer:

  • Dietary programs that help suppress hunger

  • Medications that assist with weight loss and weight maintenance

  • Lifestyle programs to help you overcome emotional and lifestyle barriers to weight loss (for some inspiring guidance check out Dr. Sandi’s blog on weight loss)

  • Nutritional supplementation that assists digestion, supports gut health and nutritional status
  • Our goal, is not just to help you lose the weight, but to help keep it off

At Como Diagnostic we know that sometimes it is not possible to be fully prepared all the time especially with the commitments of modern day life and working schedules.As such we can advise about the judicious use of a number of highly nutritional meal replacements and snack foods – these include Protein Shakes, Protein Soups & Energy Bars.

Please read the consumer information for Saxenda® and note other details not elaborated on in this post.


For more information about Saxenda you can access information on the following website with your unique patient ID – or contact Saxenda as per this link


This blog is general in nature only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. For further information please contact our clinic or your own medical practitioner before commencing any diet, medication or exercise regimen.