Saxenda (liraglutide) is a brand-name subcutaneous injection pen. It’s prescribed for weight loss and weight management. Saxenda has interactions with some other drugs and certain supplements. Examples include certain antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac).

An interaction occurs when one substance causes another substance to have a different effect than expected.

To learn more about Saxenda’s interactions, keep reading. For additional information about Saxenda, including details about its uses, see this article.

Before you start treatment with Saxenda, tell your doctor and pharmacist which prescription, over-the-counter, and other medications you take. By sharing this information with them, you may help prevent possible interactions. To learn whether Saxenda interacts with supplements, herbs, or vitamins, see the “Saxenda and other interactions” section below.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Here’s a table of drugs that can interact with Saxenda. Keep in mind that this table doesn’t include all drugs that may interact with Saxenda. Some of these interactions are described in detail just below in “Drug interactions in depth.”

Drug class or drug nameDrug examplesInteraction result with Saxenda
certain antidepressants? phenelzine (Nardil)
? selegiline (Emsam, Zelapar)
? fluoxetine (Prozac)
can increase the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect of Saxenda*
other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists?? semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus, Wegovy)
? dulaglutide (Trulicity)
? other forms of liraglutide (Victoza)
can increase the risk of side effects of Saxenda* and other GLP-1 receptor agonists
insulin? insulin lispro (Admelog, Humalog,
Lyumjev)
? insulin glargine (Basaglar, Lantus,
Toujeo)
? insulin detemir (Levemir)
can increase the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect of Saxenda* and insulin
sulfonylureas? glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase)
? glipizide (Glucotrol XL)
? glimepiride (Amaryl)
can increase the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect of Saxenda* and sulfonylureas
bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol)can increase the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect of Saxenda*
clarithromycincan increase the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect of Saxenda*

* For details about the side effects of Saxenda, see this article.
? Saxenda is a GLP-1 receptor agonist.

In some cases, factors or conditions could prevent your doctor from prescribing Saxenda due to the risk of harm. These are known as contraindications. The Saxenda contraindications include:

Having medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2)

Doctors typically won’t prescribe Saxenda for people with certain factors that increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

These specific factors include:

This is because Saxenda has a boxed warning about the risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see “Boxed warning” at the beginning of this article.

If you have medullary thyroid carcinoma or MEN2, talk with your doctor before using Saxenda. They’ll likely prescribe a treatment other than Saxenda for your condition.

Being pregnant

Doctors typically won’t prescribe Saxenda during pregnancy. This is because animal studies have shown that liraglutide (the active drug in Saxenda) may cause congenital anomalies (commonly known as birth defects). It’s important to note that animal studies don’t always indicate what may happen in humans.

In addition, Saxenda is prescribed for weight loss and weight management. Typically, weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy. In fact, weight gain during pregnancy is often encouraged to help the fetus grow and develop.

If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor before starting Saxenda. They can talk with you about weight goals during pregnancy.

Having had an allergic reaction to Saxenda or any of its ingredients

If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Saxenda or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Saxenda. Taking the drug could cause another allergic reaction. You can ask them about other treatments that may be better choices for you.

Note: Before you start treatment with Saxenda, it’s important to tell your doctor if these contraindications apply to you. They can determine whether to prescribe Saxenda.

There aren’t any known interactions between Saxenda and alcohol. However, your doctor may advise you to avoid or limit alcohol consumption during Saxenda treatment.

This is because drinking alcohol while taking the drug may worsen some of Saxenda’s side effects. For example, you may experience nausea, headache, and low blood sugar. (For details about the side effects of Saxenda, see this article.)

If you drink alcohol and have questions about drinking it during Saxenda treatment, talk with your doctor.

Here’s a closer look at certain drug interactions of Saxenda.

Certain antidepressants

Antidepressants are prescribed to treat certain mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.

Interaction result. Taking Saxenda with certain antidepressants can increase the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect of Saxenda.

Interaction explained. Saxenda may cause low blood sugar in certain people with type 2 diabetes. This risk affects people taking other diabetes medications, including insulin and sulfonylureas. It’s possible that taking certain antidepressants with Saxenda may also increase this risk.

Examples of antidepressant drugs. Here are some antidepressants that may interact with Saxenda:

  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • selegiline (Emsam, Zelapar)
  • fluoxetine (Prozac)

Steps you or your doctor may take. Before you start Saxenda treatment, tell your doctor if you take an antidepressant. They can tell you whether it’s safe to take Saxenda with certain antidepressants.

If your doctor prescribes Saxenda with certain antidepressants, they may advise you to watch for symptoms of low blood sugar. Examples include shaking, sweating, and headache.

Your doctor can prepare you to treat symptoms of low blood sugar if they occur. For example, your doctor may suggest eating at least 15 grams (g) of carbohydrates to help raise your blood sugar level to a safe range. Sources of carbohydrates may include fruit juice and hard candies. Keep in mind that sugar-free candies and diet sodas will not help raise your blood sugar.

If you have other questions about Saxenda and certain antidepressants, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists

Saxenda belongs to a group of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. Like Saxenda, other GLP-1 receptor agonists may be prescribed for weight loss and weight management. Other GLP-1 receptor agonists can also be prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes.

Interaction result. Using Saxenda with other GLP-1 receptor agonists can increase the risk of side effects from either drug.

Interaction explained. Saxenda and other GLP-1 receptor agonists work similarly in the body. As a result, these medications may cause similar side effects. Using them together could further increase the risk of these side effects. Examples include digestive problems such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Examples of GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs. Here are some GLP-1 receptor agonists that may interact with Saxenda:

Steps you or your doctor may take. The manufacturer of Saxenda recommends against prescribing the drug with other GLP-1 receptor agonists. In addition, it’s not known whether Saxenda is safe or effective when used with other weight loss aids. This includes other GLP-1 receptor agonists that are used for this purpose.

For these reasons, your doctor isn’t likely to prescribe Saxenda with another GLP-1 receptor agonist. If you’re already taking a GLP-1 receptor agonist, talk with your doctor before using Saxenda. They’ll likely prescribe a different treatment instead.

If you have other questions about Saxenda and GLP-1 receptor agonists, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Bismuth subsalicylate

Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) is used to ease digestive symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea.

Interaction result. Using Saxenda while taking bismuth subsalicylate may increase the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect of Saxenda.

Interaction explained. Using Saxenda may lead to low blood sugar in certain people with type 2 diabetes. Specifically, this risk affects people taking sulfonylureas and insulin. (These are other types of diabetes medications.) It’s possible that taking bismuth subsalicylate with Saxenda could also increase this risk.

Steps you or your doctor may take. If you have a digestive problem that could be eased by bismuth subsalicylate while you’re using Saxenda, talk with your doctor. They may recommend a different treatment that doesn’t interact with Saxenda.

If you take bismuth subsalicylate while using Saxenda, watch for symptoms of low blood sugar. Examples include shaking, sweating, and headache.

Your doctor can tell you how to treat symptoms of low blood sugar. For example, they may recommend eating at least 15 grams (g) of carbohydrates. Doing so will help increase your blood sugar level to a safe range. Sources of carbohydrates may include fruit juice and hard candies. It’s important to remember that sugar-free candies and diet sodas will not help raise your blood sugar.

If you have other questions about Saxenda and bismuth subsalicylate, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Saxenda may have other interactions, such as with supplements, foods, vaccines, or even lab tests. You’ll find details below. Keep in mind that the following information doesn’t include all other possible interactions with Saxenda.

Saxenda interactions with supplements

Saxenda may interact with the supplements listed below:

The supplements above may decrease blood sugar levels. Saxenda may also cause low blood sugar as a side effect.* Using Saxenda while taking any of these supplements can further increase your risk of low blood sugar. For this reason, your doctor may recommend avoiding green tea, garlic, and DHEA supplements during your Saxenda treatment.

In addition, it’s not known whether Saxenda is safe or effective when used with weight loss supplements.

Before you start treatment with Saxenda, tell your doctor and pharmacist which supplements, herbs, and vitamins you take. By sharing this information with them, you may help prevent possible interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

* For details about the side effects of Saxenda, see this article.

Saxenda and herbs

There are no reports of specific herbs interacting with Saxenda. However, it’s not known whether Saxenda is safe or effective when used with herbs for weight loss.

Because of this, it’s important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal products during Saxenda treatment.

Saxenda interactions with vitamins and minerals

There are no specific reports of vitamins interacting with Saxenda. However, Saxenda may interact with chromium. This mineral is sometimes used to help manage blood sugar levels.

Chromium may decrease blood sugar levels. Saxenda may also cause low blood sugar as a side effect.* Taking chromium with Saxenda can increase your risk of having low blood sugar. Due to this, your doctor may recommend avoiding chromium products during Saxenda treatment.

It’s important to note that some multivitamins may also contain chromium and other minerals. Talk with your doctor to determine which multivitamin is best for you.

* For details about the side effects of Saxenda, see this article.

Saxenda interactions with food

Saxenda may interact with green tea, which can decrease blood sugar levels. Saxenda may also cause low blood sugar as a side effect.* Consuming too much green tea during Saxenda treatment can increase the risk of low blood sugar.

Because of this interaction, your doctor may recommend limiting how much green tea you consume during Saxenda treatment.

If you’d like to learn more about consuming certain foods or beverages during treatment with Saxenda, talk with your doctor.

* For details about the side effects of Saxenda, see this article.

Saxenda and vaccines

There aren’t any known interactions between Saxenda and vaccines. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to check whether you’re due for any vaccines.

Saxenda and lab tests

Saxenda isn’t known to interact with any lab tests. If you have concerns about this medication interacting with lab tests, talk with your doctor.

SAXENDA AND CANNABIS OR CBD

Cannabis (often called marijuana) and cannabis products, such as cannabidiol (CBD), have not been specifically reported to interact with Saxenda. However, as with any drug or supplement, talk with your doctor before using cannabis in combination with Saxenda. The impact of cannabis may affect how well you stick to your Saxenda treatment plan.

Note: Cannabis is illegal at a federal level but is legal in many states to varying degrees.

Certain medical conditions and other factors may increase the risk of interactions with Saxenda. Before you take this drug, be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history. Saxenda may not be the right treatment option if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health.

Health conditions or factors that might interact with Saxenda include:

  • Digestive system problems. Before starting Saxenda treatment, tell your doctor if you have a digestive system problem such as stomach paralysis. Saxenda may cause your stomach to empty its contents more slowly than usual and may not be safe for people with digestive system problems. Your doctor can recommend whether Saxenda is the right treatment option.
  • Kidney problems. Before using Saxenda, tell your doctor if you have a kidney problem such as kidney failure. The drug may cause kidney problems as a side effect, which may worsen your kidney condition. If you have a kidney problem, your doctor can tell you whether it’s safe to use Saxenda.
  • Liver problems. Before using Saxenda, tell your doctor if you have a liver problem such as liver failure. It’s not known for certain whether the drug is safe for people with liver problems. Your doctor can recommend whether Saxenda is the right treatment option for you.
  • Pancreatitis. Saxenda may cause rare cases of pancreatitis. If you’ve had this condition in the past, be sure to tell your doctor before using Saxenda. It’s not known whether this factor may increase your risk of pancreatitis as a side effect of the drug. Your doctor can recommend whether it’s safe to use Saxenda.
  • Type 2 diabetes. The use of Saxenda may cause low blood sugar in certain people with type 2 diabetes. This risk affects people taking certain other diabetes medications. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor before using Saxenda. They can recommend whether Saxenda is the right treatment option.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Saxenda or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Saxenda. Taking the drug could cause another allergic reaction. You can ask them about other treatments that may be better choices for you.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known whether it’s safe to use Saxenda while breastfeeding. There isn’t enough information to determine whether the drug passes into breast milk or what effects Saxenda may have on a child who is breastfed. If you’re breastfeeding or planning to, talk with your doctor before using Saxenda. You can discuss treatment options and ways to feed your child.
  • Pregnancy. Doctors typically won’t prescribe Saxenda during pregnancy. For details, see the “When to avoid Saxenda” section at the top of the article.
  • Risk of thyroid cancer. Saxenda has a boxed warning about the risk of thyroid cancer. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For details, see the boxed warning at the top of this article.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Saxenda and possible interactions.

Can I take oral medications with Saxenda?

Yes, you can take oral medications with Saxenda if your doctor recommends it. Oral medications may include any liquid solution, tablet, or capsule you take by mouth.

However, Saxenda may affect your body’s ability to absorb medications that are taken by mouth. For this reason, your doctor may monitor the effects of any oral drugs you take during your Saxenda treatment.

Keep in mind that Saxenda is known to interact with specific oral medications. For examples, see the “Saxenda interactions with other medications” and “Drug interactions in depth” sections above.

If you have other questions about taking Saxenda with oral medications, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is there an interaction between Saxenda and oral birth control?

No, there are no reports of Saxenda interacting with oral birth control.

However, your body’s ability to absorb oral medications may be affected by Saxenda. This risk could affect how well oral birth control works to prevent pregnancy.

If you’re concerned about Saxenda’s possible effect on oral birth control, talk with your doctor. They can recommend other birth control options that aren’t taken by mouth. These forms of birth control are less likely to be affected by Saxenda. An example is an intrauterine device (IUD), such as levonorgestrel (Mirena, Kyleena, others). IUDs are T-shaped, plastic devices that a healthcare professional inserts into the uterus.

If you have other questions about using Saxenda with oral birth control, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

You can take certain steps to help prevent interactions with Saxenda. Your doctor and pharmacist are key resources, so reach out to them before starting treatment. For example, you should plan to do the following:

  • Let them know if you drink alcohol or use cannabis.
  • Tell them about any other medications you take, as well as any supplements, herbs, and vitamins.
  • Create a medication list, which your doctor and pharmacist can help you fill out.

It’s also important to read the Saxenda label and other paperwork that may come with the drug. The label may have colored stickers that mention an interaction. And the paperwork, sometimes called the medication guide or patient package insert, may contain details about interactions.

If Saxenda doesn’t come with paperwork, you can ask your pharmacist to print a copy. If you need help reading or understanding this information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

You can also help prevent interactions with Saxenda by using it exactly as your doctor recommends.

Besides learning about interactions, you may want to find out more about Saxenda. These resources might help:

  • Overview of Saxenda. For a general overview of Saxenda, you can see this article.
  • Side effects. If you’re interested in the side effects of Saxenda, see this article. Another option is to refer to the Saxenda prescribing information.
  • Dosage specifics. To learn about the dosage of Saxenda, see this article.
  • Drug comparison. For information about how Saxenda compares with Victoza, read this article.
  • Cost. If you’d like to learn about Saxenda and cost, see this article.
  • Facts about weight management. To learn more about weight loss and weight management, see our exercise and fitness and obesity hubs.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.