Saxenda (liraglutide) is a prescription drug used for weight management. The drug comes as a liquid solution that you inject daily.
The active ingredient in Saxenda is liraglutide. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
Saxenda belongs to a group of drugs called glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
This article describes the dosages of Saxenda, as well as its strengths and how to use it. To learn more about Saxenda, see this in-depth article.
The table below highlights the basics of Saxenda’s dosage. All doses are listed in milligrams (mg).
Keep reading for more details about Saxenda’s dosage.
What is Saxenda’s form?
Saxenda comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled pen. The pen delivers doses by subcutaneous injection, which means under the skin.
What strength does Saxenda come in?
A prefilled Saxenda pen comes in a strength of 6 mg per milliliter (mL). Each pen contains 3 mL of solution. The prefilled pen can deliver doses of 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg, or 3 mg.
What are the usual dosages of Saxenda?
Adults with obesity or excessive weight may use Saxenda. Your doctor will likely start you on a low dose and adjust it gradually to reach the maintenance dose.
Be sure to use the dosing schedule your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Your first dose of Saxenda is usually 0.6 mg that you will inject once per day for 7 days. Your doctor will increase the dose each week, as shown in the following typical dosing schedule.
|Week of treatment
|5 and later
Depending on any side effects you experience during treatment, your doctor may adjust this schedule. They may slow down the schedule, perhaps delaying an increase in dose by 1 week.
The recommended maintenance dose of Saxenda is 3 mg once per day. The recommended maximum dose of Saxenda is also 3 mg once per day. If you can’t tolerate the 3-mg maintenance dose, your doctor may tell you to stop Saxenda.
What’s the dosage of Saxenda for children?
Doctors may prescribe Saxenda to children ages 12 years and older. The children must weigh at least 60 kilograms (kg). (For reference, 1 kg is usually considered equal to 2.2 pounds [lb]. So 60 kg would be equal to about 132 lb.) They must also have a minimum body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg per meter squared (kg/m2).
Children follow the same dosing schedule as adults. (See “What are the usual dosages of Saxenda?” just above.) Your child’s doctor will lower the child’s dosage if they’re having too many side effects. For example, they may recommend using the dose from the previous week. Doctors advise that raising the dose of Saxenda for children may take up to 8 weeks.
If a child can’t tolerate the 3-mg maximum dose, their doctor may drop the dose to 2.4 mg. If a child can’t tolerate 2.4 mg of Saxenda, their doctor may recommend stopping Saxenda.
Is Saxenda used long term?
Yes, Saxenda is usually used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely use it long term.
Doctors don’t have specific dosage adjustments for people with kidney or liver problems. But if you have kidney or liver problems, ask your doctor about the appropriate dosage of Saxenda. They may adjust the dosing schedule to increase your dose slowly toward a maintenance dose.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Saxenda’s dosage.
What is Saxenda’s dosing schedule?
The table below shows the typical dosing schedule for Saxenda. It shows that the recommended maintenance dose of Saxenda is 3 milligrams (mg) once per day.
|Week of treatment
|5 and later
Your doctor will prescribe a first dose of 0.6 mg. Then they’ll increase your dose each week until you reach the 3-mg dose.
Some people have side effects during treatment. If these are bothersome, your doctor can take steps to help manage them. They may:
- slow down the schedule by delaying a dose increase
- limit the maintenance dose to 2.4 mg instead of 3 mg in a child who is age 12 years or older
- recommend stopping treatment for someone who can’t tolerate the 3-mg dose
Not everyone responds to Saxenda in the same way. Your doctor will monitor you for side effects during treatment and discuss any dosage changes needed.
Does Saxenda have a recommended dosage chart?
Yes, Saxenda has a recommended dosage chart that provides dosing instructions. Doctors will follow this dosage guide when prescribing Saxenda.
Some people may have side effects during Saxenda treatment. If these are bothersome, your doctor can take steps to help manage them. You can learn more about these steps in the question just above.
How many doses are there per Saxenda pen?
Saxenda comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled pen. The total volume of drug in the syringe is 3 milliliters (mL).
Each pen contains six 3-mg doses. If you’re taking 3 mg per day, one pen will last 6 days. But if you’re taking less than 3 mg per day, it may last more than 6 days. (See the typical dosing schedule in the “What is Saxenda’s dosing schedule?” question above for more details.)
Your doctor or pharmacist can give you more information on the Saxenda pen.
Would my doctor increase my Saxenda dose early?
No, your doctor won’t increase your Saxenda dose early. But if you’re having too many side effects, your doctor may keep you at a particular dose for an extra week. (The typical dosing schedule in the “What is Saxenda’s dosing schedule?” question above provides details on doses during Saxenda treatment.) Keeping you at a particular dose longer can help your body adjust to the side effects.
Everyone responds differently to Saxenda. Your doctor will monitor you for side effects during treatment. They can discuss any dosage changes you might need.
If you miss a dose of Saxenda, skip the missed dose. Then inject the next dose at your regularly scheduled time. Don’t double your dose if you missed an injection.
If you miss more than 3 days of Saxenda injections, talk with your doctor. They might recommend dropping your dosage to the starting dose of 0.6 mg daily. If so, your doctor will follow the typical dosing schedule. That means they’ll increase your dose weekly until you reach the maintenance dosage.
If you need help remembering to inject your dose of Saxenda on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.
The dosage of Saxenda your doctor prescribes may depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of any side effects you have during treatment
- other conditions you may have (see “Dosage adjustments” in the “What is Saxenda’s dosage?” section above)
Before starting Saxenda, your doctor will instruct you on how to inject it properly. You can also find instructions in Saxenda’s prescribing information or on the drug manufacturer’s website. Your doctor will also provide you with a dosing guide, which you should follow week by week.
You’ll inject Saxenda under the skin of your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. When injecting it into the abdomen, avoid injecting close to the belly button.
Inject Saxenda once per day at any time of the day. Continue to inject it at the same time each day. Be sure to change the injection site for each dose. For example, if you inject a dose into your abdomen, use a different area of your abdomen next time, or use your thigh or upper arm.
For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Saxenda, see this article.
Accessible drug containers and labels
Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:
- have large print or use braille
- feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio
Ask whether your pharmacy provides these accessibility features. If they don’t, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that do.
Do not use more Saxenda than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to serious side effects. If you use too much Saxenda, your doctor may monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of overdose. In studies, people have experienced overdoses of Saxenda.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by an overdose of Saxenda can include:
- severe nausea
- severe vomiting
- severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
What to do in case you use too much Saxenda
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve injected too much Saxenda. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.
The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drugmaker. If your doctor recommends Saxenda for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you should not change your dosage of Saxenda without your doctor’s recommendation. Only use Saxenda exactly as your doctor prescribes. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- If I’ve reached my weight loss goals, does my dose of Saxenda need to be lowered gradually?
- If I have a history of thyroid cancer, would you prescribe the lowest dose of Saxenda?
- How does the dose or dosing schedule of Saxenda differ based on my starting weight?
To learn more about Saxenda, see these articles:
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.