Switching from Saxenda to Wegovy
If you’re on Saxenda already and you’re not happy with your treatment, Wegovy is one possible alternative that is coming soon. Knowing when and how to switch between medications can make the decision to change treatments easier.
Can you switch from Saxenda to Wegovy?
Right now in Ireland, you can’t switch to Wegovy because it isn’t available. You can only switch to another medication that contains the same active ingredient (semaglutide), and only if you have type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic is another form of Wegovy, since they have the same active ingredient (semaglutide). Ozempic is currently available for treating type 2 diabetes so you could switch from Saxenda to Ozempic if you want help managing your weight and your diabetes.
Wegovy will be available in Ireland soon. When it’s available, Wegovy will be able to help people lose weight, whether they have diabetes or not. Please note, at ZAVA we will only be offering Wegovy to people without diabetes because using Wegovy as a diabetic requires close monitoring we can not offer through our online service.
Is switching a good idea?
Switching from Saxenda to Ozempic can be a good idea as long as:
- you have type 2 diabetes
- Saxenda treatment isn’t right for you
- Ozempic is safe for you to switch to
- Ozempic is likely to work for you
In the future, the same may be true for switching from Saxenda to Wegovy. The only difference will be once Wegovy is available, switching from Saxenda might be a good idea even if you don’t have diabetes.
Why you might want to switch from Saxenda
You may want to switch from Saxenda to another treatment for a few different reasons, like:
- you’ve been using Saxenda and it hasn’t worked as well as you’d like
- you’ve been using Saxenda but you’ve had side effects you can’t put up with
You might find that other treatments can work where Saxenda hasn’t. They may also give fewer side effects as well. This could apply to Wegovy which is a similar treatment but with a different active ingredient. The difference in active ingredients can lead to different effectiveness and side effects.
Is Wegovy a good alternative?
Once it is available, Wegovy could be a good alternative to Saxenda. Studies show that medications containing semaglutide like Wegovy are generally more effective than Saxenda.
People using Wegovy / Ozempic (semaglutide) have a:
- 86% chance of losing at least 5% weight
- 71% chance of losing at least 10% weight
- 56% chance of losing at least 15% weight
- 39% chance of losing at least 20% weight
People using Saxenda (Liraglutide) have a:
- 56% chance of losing at least 5% weight
- 26% chance of losing at least 10% weight
- 12% chance of losing at least 15% weight
- 6% chance of losing at least 20% weight
How to switch from Saxenda to Wegovy
Before starting Wegovy you would need to stop taking Saxenda. This is because taking both at the same time wouldn’t be safe. Since they have similar active ingredients, taking them together would be like taking an overdose. Provided Wegovy is suitable for you, you would be able to start using it 24 hours after your last Saxenda injection.
When you see a doctor to get Wegovy treatment they will ask what medications you’re already taking. Once you tell them you’re already on Saxenda, they will give you advice about when and how to switch.
Normally you would slowly decrease the amount of Saxenda you’re taking to ‘taper off’. This makes the transition easier and helps you adjust to your appetite coming back.
Always follow advice from your doctor when it comes to starting new treatments to make sure your treatment is safe and you’re not at risk.
What dose to switch to
Everyone gets the same dose when starting Wegovy (0.25mg), whether they have used Saxenda before or not. You’d take this dose for a month and then move up a dose. You’d increase your dose every 4 weeks for 16 weeks until you reach the maximum dose of 2.4mg.
What to expect from stopping Saxenda
Saxenda doesn’t cause withdrawal because it’s not addictive. But, it will cause your appetite to come back again once you stop taking it. By slowly reducing the amount of Saxenda you take when you stop, it makes it easier to adapt to your appetite returning.
By sticking to your diet and exercise plan after you stop Saxenda, you can avoid putting the weight back on.
Is it ok to stop Saxenda suddenly?
It is safe to stop Saxenda suddenly, although it can make you feel sick. There are no major health risks and no withdrawal that comes from stopping suddenly. But, since your appetite will also come back suddenly, it’s better to stop slowly to help you manage it better.
It is a good idea to stop Saxenda suddenly if you’re having serious side effects since the risk is more serious than your appetite coming back suddenly.
How long it stays in your system
13 hours after taking a dose of Saxenda, half of the medication will already be out of your system. It takes a full 3 days from your last dose for your body to get rid of all the Saxenda completely.
Are there side effects to stopping?
It depends how fast you stop. If you stop slowly, there shouldn’t be any side effects, but stopping suddenly can make you feel sick. Saxenda doesn’t cause withdrawal or any other side effects when you stop it. The only other effect of stopping it is that your appetite will return to normal.
How to start Wegovy
When it’s available, you’ll be able to start Wegovy treatment by making an appointment with your regular GP or ordering it online from an online doctor service like ZAVA.
Your GP may refer you to a weight management specialist. They may decide to start you on Wegovy if:
- you’ve already tried losing weight using diet and exercise alone
- you’ve tried other weight loss medications like Orlistat already
- you’ve considered weight loss surgery but it’s not right for you
Alternatively if you order it online, a doctor will check it’s safe for you and you can start treatment that way instead. You will still need to provide your BMI since Wegovy is only for people who are overweight.
Does the Wegovy shortage matter?
While there was a shortage of Ozempic in 2022 due to people ordering it for weight loss, as of Spring 2023 this shortage is being resolved. Novo Nordisk, the manufacturers of Ozempic and Wegovy, say they have been ramping up production since the 2022 shortage.
The manufacturers are continuing to up production as Wegovy is due to hit US and European markets and should be available in pharmacies nationwide.
Dr Crystal Wyllie
Crystal qualified in Medicine at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2010. She then trained as a GP in London hospitals and practices. She has a particular interest in reproductive, sexual and women’s health.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 14 Aug 2023
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