With supply shortages occurring with weight loss medication, and new medications awaiting release it is important to know how to switch from Saxenda to Wegovy.

Weight loss medication

Weight loss medications are typically prescribed to adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. It can be used for those with a BMI of 27 or higher along with weight-related medical conditions, like type 2 diabetes. However, it’s essential to use these medications alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise.

What is Saxenda?

Saxenda has liraglutide, which acts like a hormone called GLP-1. It works in the brain to regulate appetite, liraglutide helps extend the feeling of fullness, naturally curbing your food intake and aiding in weight reduction.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy has semaglutide, a GLP-1 Receptor Agonist. It works in the brain to regulate appetite. It reduces the rate at which the stomach empties, effectively curbing hunger and providing an extended sense of fullness.

Are Wegovy and Saxenda the same? 

Saxenda and Wegovy are not the same but contain similar active ingredients (liraglutide in Saxenda and semaglutide in Wegovy) and belong to the same class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. They work in similar ways by helping regulate appetite. 

The side effects of Wegovy and Saxenda are also similar e.g. nausea, vomiting and headaches. Despite similar active ingredients  and common side effects, these medications are not the same, there are differences in dosing schedules.

Can Saxenda be switched to Wegovy?

Switching from Saxenda to Wegovy is a viable option due to the similarity of active ingredients however the dosing schedules need to be carefully considered. 

Saxenda is a daily injection which starts with a small weekly dose of 0.6 mg and increases 0.6 mg each week until you reach a daily dose of 3.0 mg. On the other hand, Wegovy is a weekly injection, which starts at a low dose of 0.25 mg. It gradually increases every month for five months until it reaches a weekly dose of 2.4 mg.

The prescribing doctor will make specific recommendations on how to transition from one medication to the other. They can inform people whether the change would be beneficial. A change over plan is important to have a smooth transition. Especially to reduce the likelihood of any potential side effects. 

While switching over the doctor will take into account various factors including the current Saxenda dose. They will account for the individuals weight loss objectives and the overall health before beginning a switch to another weight loss medication. 

Are they both available?

Saxenda has been registered and available to the Australian public since 2018. Wegovy has been registered since 2022 however it is not yet available in Australia. Following the release of Wegovy in other countries, it has shown many promising results.

Clinical trials have shown adults with obesity who took Wegovy were able to lose 15% of body weight. This was accompanied with reduced calorie diets and exercise. Studies have proven that Wegovy is just as effective as Saxenda, so once its available, it can be a good alternative.

Wegovy received FDA approval and was released in the USA in 2021, in Europe in mid 2023 and is anticipated in Australia by early 2024.

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When to consult a doctor or dietitian?

Individuals wanting to switch from Saxenda to Wegovy, should inform their doctor so they can have a plan for once it is released in Australia. For any people wanting to start their weight loss journey there are other options to explore.

Other weight loss treatments including tablets, injections, or even surgical procedures. To initiate this journey, a beneficial starting point might involve seeking guidance from a registered dietitian.

Consult a dietitian