The information on this section of the website about treatment with Saxenda® (liraglutide injection 3mg) for weight loss in addition to diet and exercise is intended for people who have already been prescribed Saxenda®. If you are a member of the public or a UK healthcare professional, please visit the relevant section:

Saxenda® (liraglutide injection 3mg) side effects & safety information


What is Saxenda®?1

Saxenda® may help you lose weight, and keep it off over the long term, as part of a weight management programme.

A daily, self-administered injection, the treatment is approved in the UK for weight loss in addition to diet and exercise in adults who have obesity (a BMI of 30 or greater), or are overweight (a BMI of 27-30) and also have weight-related medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

Hand removing the Saxenda® (liraglutide) pen needle cover

What are the serious side effects of Saxenda®?1

Some severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have been reported rarely in patients using Saxenda®.

You should see your doctor straight away if you get symptoms such as breathing problems, swelling of the face and throat and a fast heartbeat. Cases of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) have been reported uncommonly in patients using Saxenda®. Pancreatitis is a serious, potenially life threatening medical condition. Stop taking Saxenda® and contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following serious side effects:

  • Severe and persistent pain in the abdomen (stomach area) which might reach through to your back, as well as nausea and vomiting, as it could be a sign of an inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis)

For a complete list of side effects, please see the patient information leaflet that comes with your Saxenda® package. If you have any questions regarding side effects, please speak to your healthcare professional.

What are the other side effects of Saxenda®?1

Very common: may affect more than 1 in 10 people

  • Feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting), diarrhoea, constipation – these usually go away after a few days or weeks.

Common: may affect up to 1 in 10 people

  • Problems affecting the stomach and intestines, such as indegestion (dyspepsia), inflammation in the lining of the stomach (gastritis), stomach discomfort, upper stomach pain, heartburn, feeling bloated, wind (flatulence), belching and dry mouth
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Changed sense of taste
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia). This usually occurs the first 3 months of treatment
  • Gallstones
  • Injection site reactions (such as bruising, pain, irritation, itching and rash)
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). The warnings of low blood sugar may come on suddenly and can include: cold sweat, cool pale skin, headache, fast heartbeat, feeling sick, feeling very hungry, changes in vision, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, being nervous, being anxious, confusion, difficulty concentrating and shaking (tremor). Your doctor will tell you how to treat low blood sugar and what to do if you notice these warning signs
  • Increase of pancreatic enzymes, such as lipase and amylase

Uncommon: may affect up to 1 in 100 people

  • Loss of fluids (dehydration). This is more likely to occur at the start of treatment and may be due to being sick (vomiting), feeling sick (nausea) and diarrhoea
  • Delay in the emptying of the stomach
  • Inflamed gall bladder
  • Allergic reactions including skin rash
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Faster pulse.

Rare: may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people

  • Reduced kidney function
  • Acute kidney failure. Signs may include reduction in urine volume, metallic taste in mouth and easily bruising.

Reporting Saxenda® side effects

If you experience any side effects, you should speak to your healthcare professional. This includes any possible side effects not listed here. You can also report side effects directly via the UK’s Yellow Card Scheme by visiting searching for ‘MHRA Yellow Card’ in the Google Play or Apple App Store. Adverse events should also be reported to Novo Nordisk Limited (Telephone Novo Nordisk Customer Care Centre 0845 6005055). Calls may be monitored for training purposes.

Managing common side effects

Helpful tips for managing nausea

Nausea is a common Saxenda® side effect1, but it usually goes away after a few days or weeks.

If you do feel sick, here are a few things you can do to help:2

  • Get plenty of fresh air
  • Distract yourself – for example, listen to music or watch a film
  • Take sips of a cold drink – some people find fizzy drinks best
  • Drink ginger or peppermint tea
  • Eat foods containing ginger – such as ginger biscuits
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals

Some things to avoid include:2

  • Do not eat or cook strong-smelling food
  • Do not eat hot, fried or greasy food
  • Do not eat too quickly
  • Do not have a large drink with meals
  • Do not lie down soon after eating
  • Do not wear clothes that are tight around your waist or tummy

What are the warnings and precautions to consider before taking Saxenda®?1

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse before using Saxenda®.
The use of Saxenda® is not recommended if you have severe heart failure.

There is little experience with this medicine in patients of 75 years and older. It is not recommended if you are 75 years or older.

There is little experience with this medicine in patients with kidney problems. If you have kidney disease or are on dialysis, consult your doctor.

There is little experience with this medicine in patients with liver problems. If you have liver problems, consult your doctor.

This medicine is not recommended if you have a severe stomach or gut problem which results in delayed stomach emptying (called gastroparesis), or if you have an inflammatory bowel disease.

People with diabetes
If you have diabetes, do not use Saxenda® as a replacement for insulin.

Inflammation of the pancreas
Talk to your doctor if you have or have had a disease of the pancreas.

Inflamed gall bladder and gallstones
If you lose substantial weight, you are at a risk of gallstones and thereby inflamed gall bladder. Stop taking Saxenda® and contact a doctor immediately if you experience severe pain in your upper abdomen, usually worst on the right side under the ribs. The pain may be felt through to your back or right shoulder.

Thyroid disease
If you have thyroid disease, including thyroid nodules and enlargement of the thyroid gland, consult your doctor.

Heart rate
Talk to your doctor if you have palpitations (you feel aware of your heartbeat) or if you have feelings of a racing heartbeat while at rest during Saxenda® treatment.

Loss of fluid and dehydration
When starting treatment with Saxenda®, you may lose body fluid or become dehydrated. This may be due to feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and diarrhoea. It is important to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you have any questions or concerns.

Children and adolescents
Saxenda® should not be used in children and adolescents under 18 years of age. This is because the effects and safety of this medicine have not been studied in this age group.

Other medicines and Saxenda®
Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines.
In particular, tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if:

  • you are taking medicines for diabetes called ‘sulfonylurea’ (such as glimepiride or glibenclamide) or if you are taking insulin – you may get low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) when you use these medicines with Saxenda®. Your doctor may adjust the dose of your diabetes medicine to prevent you from getting low blood sugar. If you adjust your insulin dose your doctor may recommend you to monitor your blood sugar more frequently.
  • you are taking warfarin or other medicines by mouth that reduce your blood clotting (anticoagulants). More frequent blood testing to determine the ability of your blood to clot may be required.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Do not use Saxenda® if you are pregnant, think that you might be pregnant or are planning to have a baby. This is because it is not known if Saxenda® may affect the baby.

Do not breast-feed if you are using Saxenda®. This is because it is not known if Saxenda® passes into breast milk.

Driving and using machines
Saxenda® is unlikely to affect your ability to drive and use machines. Some patients may feel dizziness when taking Saxenda mainly during the first 3 months of treatment. If you feel dizziness be extra careful while driving or using machines. If you need any further information, talk to your doctor.

Important information about some of the ingredients of Saxenda®
This medicine contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per dose, that it is to say essentially ‘sodium-free’.


  1. Saxenda® Patient Information Leaflet
  2. NHS. Feeling sick (Nausea). Available at:
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