Weight loss medications, while effective, come with their share of side effects. A recent report highlighted that users of GLP-1-based drugs experienced a significantly higher risk of gastrointestinal issues, including pancreatitis and gastroparesis.

Saxenda, which falls under the GLP-1 category, has been a subject of interest due to its role in weight management. As with any medication, understanding its potential side effects is crucial for safe and informed use.

In this article, we will delve into the side effects associated with Saxenda, providing a comprehensive guide on what users may expect and how to manage these effects for a smoother weight loss journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Saxenda is a weight loss medication that can have common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as less common side effects like constipation, headache, and dizziness.
  • Serious side effects of Saxenda include pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, and hypoglycemia.
  • It is essential to manage these side effects effectively, adjust dosage under medical supervision, and be aware of Saxenda’s safety profile.

Common Side Effects of Saxenda

Many people using Saxenda may feel sick to their stomach, throw up, or have bathroom troubles. Keep reading to learn more about how to handle these side effects.

  • Nausea: Nausea is the top side effect people feel when taking Saxenda. It happens a lot in the beginning. Doctors know about this and expect it. They say it’s because your body is getting used to the medicine.
  • Vomiting: Vomiting is another side effect to watch out for with Saxenda. It’s a common problem that some people face when they start taking this medicine. This issue can make it hard to keep food down and stay hydrated.
  • Diarrhea: Saxenda users report this problem, especially in the early stages of treatment. It’s part of the body’s response to the new medicine. Doctors advise patients to stay hydrated and eat light meals to manage this side effect. If diarrhea worsens or lasts long, it’s crucial to talk to a healthcare provider about it.


Less Common Side Effects of Saxenda

Weight loss.

While Saxenda helps many, some people might feel constipation, headaches, or dizziness. These side effects are not as standard but can still happen.

  • Constipation: Constipation is one of the less common side effects seen with Saxenda use. It’s not as often talked about as nausea, but it does happen. Those taking this medication might face difficulty when trying to have a bowel movement.
  • Headache: Headaches may surface alongside other symptoms or as a noticeable reaction to the treatment regimen. Tracking such occurrences is crucial, providing valuable insights into how one’s body responds to Saxenda.
  • Dizziness: Dizziness is a less common side effect of taking Saxenda. It can make you feel light-headed or like you’re going to faint, and medical professionals must inform patients about this possibility.


Serious Side Effects of Saxenda

Weight loss.

Saxenda can cause significant health issues for some people. If you feel a lot of pain in your stomach or if your sugar levels drop too much, these might be warning signs.

  • Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis is a profound side effect of Saxenda, marked by severe stomach pain that spreads to the back. This condition can lead to vomiting and calls for immediate medical attention. The risk increases with Saxenda use, highlighting the importance of monitoring for symptoms.
  • Gallbladder Problems: Another severe side effect of Saxenda to watch out for is gallbladder problems. Saxenda raises the risk of these issues. Signs might include stomach pain different from pancreatitis or general gut discomfort.
  • Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is a severe side effect of Saxenda, especially concerning for those who also manage diabetes. This condition means your blood sugar drops too low. Catching signs early, like shaking, sweating, and feeling dizzy or hungry, is vital.

Managing Saxenda Side Effects

Weight loss.

Saxenda can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s critical to manage these to keep patients comfortable. Below are some guidelines professionals can give their patients to ensure their safety and comfort when taking Saxenda:

  • Suggest starting with a low dose of Saxenda. This process can help reduce the risk of nausea, the most common side effect.
  • Advise patients to eat small, bland meals. Foods that are easy on the stomach may lessen nausea and vomiting.
  • Recommend drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps with diarrhea and constipation.
  • Encourage taking Saxenda at a time when rest is possible afterward. This can ease discomfort from initial side effects.
  • Inform about over-the-counter options for nausea and diarrhea after checking with a healthcare professional to avoid drug interactions.
  • Discuss adjusting the dosage if common side effects persist under medical supervision.
  • Prepare patients for potential injection site reactions and suggest rotating sites to minimize skin issues.
  • Remind patients that serious side effects like severe stomach pain or symptoms of pancreatitis need immediate medical attention.
  • Explain that low blood sugar symptoms should be monitored, especially in those taking diabetes medicine alongside Saxenda.
  • Highlight the importance of reporting any sustained or worsening side effects to their healthcare provider for further assessment or intervention.

Safety Profile of Saxenda

Clinical trials and safety data that compare treatments like Saxenda vs Ozempic show that nausea is the top side effect for new users. Studies spot other common effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. A severe concern comes with its boxed warning about thyroid cancer risk.

Understanding Saxenda’s side effects involves examining real people’s experiences. Here, we discuss several patient experiences that shed light on potential reactions to this medication.

  • Started October 19, 2020. In the first three months, the side effects were nausea and acid reflux. At about two months in, constipation was terrible. Started eating All-Bran every morning and taking 1 FloraLax daily, and the constipation disappeared in two weeks. Almost four months in, all side effects were gone, so my body got used to the drug. 
  • Started Saxenda on January 1, 2020, at 300.4 lbs. To date, on February 21, I am down 44 lbs. 1000 to 1200 calories per day and 10k to 12k average # of steps per day. My cravings are gone, and I have a low appetite and nausea if I try to overeat. Few side effects now, but the same as everyone else at the beginning. By the end of my 2nd script, I may be down 60 lbs and would like to stop shots for a while, but concerned about gaining back. 

Longterm Safety Considerations

Saxenda, like any medicine, comes with a need for careful long-term safety monitoring. Its link to thyroid cancer is a critical concern that patients and healthcare providers must watch closely. This severe risk highlights the importance of regular checkups and vigilance for symptoms such as neck swelling, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath, which could hint at thyroid issues.

By staying informed about these conditions – from minor irritations at the injection site to low blood sugar episodes – both patients and doctors can act swiftly to adjust treatment plans if needed, securing immediate relief and safeguarding health.


Saxenda can cause both mild and severe side effects, from nausea to risks of thyroid cancer. It’s critical to watch for signs your body is not reacting well. Talk with a doctor if you notice anything off after starting it.

Changing how much you take might help. Ensuring Saxenda works safely for you involves staying informed and in touch with healthcare professionals.


1. What are the common side effects of Saxenda?

You might feel sick, get a headache, or feel tired when taking Saxenda.

2. Can Saxenda cause serious health problems?

Yes, in rare cases, it can lead to pancreatitis, kidney problems, or gallbladder issues.

3. Do the side effects of Saxenda go away over time?

Yes, as your body gets used to the medicine, the side effects often lessen for many people.

4. Should I stop taking Saxenda if I experience side effects?

It’s best not to stop alone but talk with your doctor about any concerns; they’ll guide you on what to do next.

5. Is it okay to drink alcohol while using Saxenda?

Drinking alcohol while on Saxenda isn’t recommended; it can increase the chance of feeling sick.

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Drugs.com. (n.d.). Saxenda: User reviews. Drugs.com. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://www.drugs.com/comments/liraglutide/saxenda.html

Medical News Today. (n.d.). Saxenda side effects: What to know. Medical News Today. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/drugs-saxenda-side-effects