Wegovy vs Saxenda For Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, there are many factors at play. 

Your lifestyle habits, genetics, and other aspects of your health can influence how easy or difficult weight loss can be.

Studies suggest that people of higher body weights (otherwise known as overweight or obese) have altered levels of hormones that impact satiety. 

That means you might feel more hungry and less satiated if you have a high body weight.

A class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists have become popular as a weight loss medication, and it acts on the hormones that impact hunger and satiety. Two weight loss drugs approved by the FDA include Wegovy and Saxenda.

Keep reading for a detailed guide comparing wegovy vs saxenda.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a weight loss medication with the drug name semaglutide. Wegovy is an injectable medication and might be mistaken for Ozempic, a brand name sharing the same drug name as Wegovy. 

Ozempic is meant to treat type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy is not a diabetes medication and is only for weight loss.

The FDA approved Wegvy in 2021 to be used for weight management and weight loss. Wegovy dosages start at 0.25 milligrams once per week and increase to a maximum of 2.4 milligrams per week. This medication is meant for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher.

Wegovy targets the hormone GLP-1, a hormone responsible for regulating appetite. Studies show that appetite hormones can be altered in people who are obese, which means they might feel more hungry compared to lean subjects. 

In obese subjects, GLP-1 receptor agonists like Wegovy appear to restore a hormone activation pattern similar to lean patients.

Wegovy also works to promote weight loss by slowing gastric emptying, which can make you feel fuller longer, reduce your appetite, and can lead to reduced caloric intake.

What is Saxenda?

Saxenda is the brand name for liraglutide, an injectable medication used to treat obesity for people aged 12 years and older.

Like Wegovy, Saxenda is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, a medication that can also treat type 2 diabetes. Also, like Wegovy, Saxenda isn’t meant to treat type 2 diabetes. 

Some GLP-1 receptor agonists used for treating diabetes include Victoza (sharing the same drug name as Saxenda), Byetta, Ozempic (sharing the same drug name as Wegovy), and Trulicity.

The FDA approved Saxenda in 2014 as a weight loss medication. Saxenda is approved for adults with a BMI over 27 and children aged 12-17 over 132 pounds and considered obese.

Saxenda is for daily use with a maximum dose of 3 milligrams. It’s sold as a prefilled injectable pen and should be injected into subcutaneous tissue such as your abdomen, thigh, or back of your forearm.

Are Saxenda and Wegovy the same?

Saxenda and Wegovy are both GLP-1 receptor agonist medications approved for weight loss. They work in similar ways, but they aren’t the same drugs.

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Saxenda vs Wegovy effectiveness


According to a study, 60% of people taking Saxenda achieved a weight loss of 5% or more, which equates to an average of 12 pounds lost from their baseline.

Around 33% of people taking Saxenda experienced significant weight loss of 10% or more, which was around 23 pounds lost on average.

While it is rarer, around 6% of people taking Saxenda lost over 20% of their initial body weight, the equivalent of around 47 pounds on average. All of these results occurred over 56 weeks.


A study was done on almost 2,000 overweight or obese adults without diabetes. Participants taking Wegovy lost an average of 35 pounds over the 68-week study, which was about 15% of their starting body weight. Overall, 83% of people taking Wegovy lost at least 5% of their body weight.

According to a 2022 paper, a review of ten studies concluded that Wegovy was “superior” to Saxenda and other GLP-1 receptor agonists in reducing patients’ body weight. 

Based on the more significant weight loss in studies and that conclusion, it’s safe to conclude that Wegovy appears more effective at promoting weight loss than Saxenda.

Which works better, Saxenda or Wegovy?

Wegovy appears to result in more significant weight loss compared to Saxenda. Everyone is different, and results will vary, so that doesn’t mean that Saxenda wouldn’t be an effective weight loss drug for many people.

Benefits of Saxenda vs Wegovy

  • Saxenda requires daily dosing, while Wegovy is a once-weekly dose, making Wegovy more convenient.
  • Wegovy appears to be more effective at promoting significant weight loss.
  • Both medications might offer cardioprotective benefits, which can reduce your heart disease risk. The likely reason behind this is improvements in blood sugar levels, weight reduction, and blood pressure levels.

Similarities and differences


  • Saxenda and Wegovy have similar side effects because they are in the same drug class.


  • Saxenda is approved for use in children as young as 12, whereas Wegovy’s manufacturer says it’s unknown if Wegovy is safe and effective for use in children under 18 years of age. 
  • Saxenda’s dosing is daily, whereas Wegovy’s dosing is once weekly. 

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Do Saxenda and Wegovy have the same side effects and risks?

Because they’re both GLP-1 receptor agonists, Saxenda and Wegovy have similar side effects.

Saxenda’s common side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Injection site reaction
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Change in enzyme (lipase) levels in your blood 

Wegovy’s common side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like upset stomach (nausea and vomiting), stomach pain, loss of appetite, heartburn, burping, gas, and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Injection site pain
  • Low blood sugar (especially if you’re taking a diabetes medication like insulin or a sulfonylurea)

Thyroid cancer

The FDA has issued a black box warning for both Wegovy and Saxenda for their potential to cause thyroid cancer.

Semaglutide (Wegovy) has caused thyroid cancer in rodents. There is a chance that Wegovy may cause thyroid cancer, but it isn’t clear if taking these medications increases your thyroid cancer risk.

Liraglutide (Saxenda) has also caused thyroid tumors in animals. The dose given to those animal subjects was eight times higher than the dose that humans would receive, but it’s still a potential risk.

You shouldn’t take Wegovy and Saxenda if you have a history of thyroid cancer or a thyroid tumor. Also, you should also avoid taking them if anyone in your family has a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a type of thyroid cancer.

You should avoid taking Wegovy and Saxenda if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). MEN2 is a rare disorder that causes tumors to form on glands that make hormones, such as the thyroid.

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Wegovy or Saxenda, you should alert your healthcare provider immediately:

  • A lump in your neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in your neck
  • Pain in the front of your neck, sometimes going up to your ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold


Inflammation of your pancreas can occur when taking GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Wegovy and Saxenda. Watch for signs of pancreatitis, like severe abdominal pain, with or without vomiting.

Gallbladder problems

You might develop gallbladder problems when taking Wegovy and Saxenda. Signs of gallbladder issues include middle upper stomach pain, fever, nausea and vomiting, and the yellowing of the whites of your eyes.

Kidney problems (kidney failure)

If you already have kidney problems, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting (more common side effects from Wegovy and Saxenda) can cause a loss of fluids (dehydration), which can worsen your kidney problems.

Which is cheaper, Saxenda or Wegovy?

According to GoodRx: Five prefilled 3-milliliter pens (one carton) of Saxenda containing 18 milligrams each will cost around $1300-$1400 out of pocket, which would last 30 days when taking the maximum dose of 3 milligrams daily.

Four prefilled pens with 2.4 milligrams each (the maximum dose) of Wegovy cost around $1400, which would last for four weeks of weekly treatment.

These medications end up costing around the same. If you have prescription drug coverage or other medical insurance, your costs could be much lower if either Saxenda or Wegovy are covered.

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Can you change between Saxenda and Wegovy?

Your healthcare provider might recommend switching from Saxenda to Wegovy or vice versa if you’re not responding to the first drug as expected or if your insurance provider prefers the other drug.

You shouldn’t alternate between Saxenda and Wegovy regularly because they have different dosing schedules. 

If you switched between these two drugs often, you wouldn’t be able to assess how effective either one is since it can take several weeks to start to see results.

Are there any natural alternatives to Saxenda and Wegovy?

Saxenda and Wegovy help boost levels of GLP-1, a hormone responsible for increasing insulin release and slowing gastric emptying. 

According to a 2021 study, berberine, tea, curcumin, cinnamon, wheat, soybean, resveratrol, and gardenia may all naturally boost GLP-1 concentrations and act as natural alternatives to Wegovy and Saxenda.


Berberine is a compound found in some plants and is a natural alternative for treating insulin resistance and high blood sugar. Insulin resistance is associated with weight gain and overweight/obesity.

According to a small study on people with metabolic syndrome (a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes), berberine improved insulin sensitivity and reduced participants’ waist circumference. 

A 2020 meta-analysis of 12 studies on berberine and weight loss showed that berberine resulted in a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference. 

Reduced waist circumference can be indicative of losing visceral fat, which is fat that you carry in your abdomen. Visceral fat is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, even in people with a BMI considered healthy.


A 2020 review of 12 trials on over 700 participants concluded that cinnamon supplementation significantly reduced body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass. 

Weight loss was more significant in people with a body mass index of 30 or greater and people under age 50. The amount of cinnamon that resulted in the most weight loss was at least 2 grams per day for at least 12 weeks.


You’ve probably heard of resveratrol in relation to red wine. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in the skins of grapes and has beneficial protective effects against cardiovascular disease.

A 2020 meta-analysis of 36 randomized controlled trials concluded that resveratrol supplementation significantly reduced body weight, BMI, fat mass, and waist circumference, especially in obese patients. Resveratrol didn’t appear to impact leptin, the appetite hormones that promote satiety.


Wegovy and Saxenda are both GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs approved for weight loss. They are not meant to treat type 2 diabetes, though many other brands of GLP-1 receptor agonists are diabetes medications.

Because they’re both GLP-1 receptor agonists, Wegovy and Saxenda have similar side effects and risks. The price of Wegovy and Saxenda are also similar.

Wegovy appears to be more effective at promoting significant weight loss than Saxenda, but individual results will vary.

For natural alternatives to Wegovy and Saxenda, consider plant-based compounds like berberine, cinnamon, and resveratrol.

Explore More

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Switching From Saxenda To Wegovy: How To Safely Change Drugs.


  1. ​​van Bloemendaal L, IJzerman RG, Ten Kulve JS, Barkhof F, Konrad RJ, Drent ML, Veltman DJ, Diamant M. GLP-1 receptor activation modulates appetite- and reward-related brain areas in humans. Diabetes. 2014.
  2. Singh G, Krauthamer M, Bjalme-Evans M. Wegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management. J Investig Med. 2022. 
  3. Jia X, Alam M, Ye Y, Bajaj M, Birnbaum Y. GLP-1 Receptor Agonists and Cardiovascular Disease: a Meta-Analysis of Recent Cardiac Outcome Trials. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2018.
  4. Yaribeygi H, Jamialahmadi T, Moallem SA, Sahebkar A. Boosting GLP-1 by Natural Products. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021. 
  5. Pérez-Rubio KG, González-Ortiz M, Martínez-Abundis E, Robles-Cervantes JA, Espinel-Bermúdez MC. Effect of berberine administration on metabolic syndrome, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2013.
  6. Asbaghi O, Ghanbari N, Shekari M, Reiner Ž, Amirani E, Hallajzadeh J, Mirsafaei L, Asemi Z. The effect of berberine supplementation on obesity parameters, inflammation and liver function enzymes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2020.
  7. Mousavi SM, Rahmani J, Kord-Varkaneh H, Sheikhi A, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Cinnamon supplementation positively affects obesity: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Nutr. 2020. 
  8. Tabrizi R, Tamtaji OR, Lankarani KB, Akbari M, Dadgostar E, Dabbaghmanesh MH, Kolahdooz F, Shamshirian A, Momen-Heravi M, Asemi Z. The effects of resveratrol intake on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020.

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