Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) are brand-name injections. They’re both prescribed for weight loss and long-term weight management. Saxenda is used daily, while Wegovy is used weekly.

This article explains the main similarities and differences between Saxenda and Wegovy. If you’re considering using one of these drugs, discussing this information with your doctor can help you decide whether one of these treatments may be right for you.

Note: For more comprehensive information about these two drugs, you can refer to our Saxenda and Wegovy articles.

Key differences between Saxenda and Wegovy

These are a few of the main differences between Saxenda and Wegovy:

  • Dosage: Saxenda is used more often than Wegovy. (See the Dosage section.)
  • Conditions treated: Saxenda and Wegovy are both used for weight loss and long-term weight management in certain adults and children. Wegovy is also approved to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in adults with heart disease, obesity, and overweight. (See the Uses section.)

Here’s information about the generic status of Saxenda and Wegovy, as well as details on their active ingredients.

SaxendaWegovy
Generic availablenono
Active ingredientliraglutidesemaglutide
Drug classglucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonistGLP-1 agonist

Saxenda and Wegovy have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the following uses.

  • Both Saxenda and Wegovy are FDA-approved to:
  • Wegovy is also FDA-approved to:
    • reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke, and death, in adults with heart disease and overweight or obesity

Saxenda or Wegovy and children

Saxenda and Wegovy are both approved to help weight loss and long-term weight management in children ages 12 years and older with obesity.

Note: For more information about the drugs’ uses, see our articles about Saxenda and Wegovy.

Here’s a quick look at the dosage and administration of Saxenda and Wegovy for the conditions both drugs treat.

Dosage for weight management

Saxenda and Wegovy are both FDA-approved for weight loss and long-term weight management in certain adults with overweight or obesity. The usual recommended dosages are described below. Doses are in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) of solution.

Saxenda for weight managementWegovy for weight management
Formsolution in a prefilled, multi-dose injection pen,
given as a subcutaneous injection
solution in a prefilled, single-dose injection pen,
given as a subcutaneous injection
Strengths? 18 mg/3 mL? 0.25 mg/0.5 mL
? 0.5 mg/0.5 mL
? 1 mg/0.5 mL
? 1.7 mg/0.75 mL
? 2.4 mg/0.75 mL
Dose? week 1: 0.6 mg
? week 2: 1.2 mg
? week 3: 1.8 mg
? week 4: 2.4 mg
? week 5 onward: 3 mg
? weeks 1 to 4: 0.25 mg
? weeks 5 to 8: 0.5 mg
? weeks 9 to 12: 1 mg
? weeks 13 to 16: 1.7 mg
? week 17 onward: 2.4 mg
Frequencyonce per dayonce per week
Given byself (see below)self (see below)

Saxenda and Wegovy are both given as an injection in your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Your doctor or another healthcare professional will teach you or a caregiver how to use the Saxenda or Wegovy pen to give yourself the injections at home. For more instructions, you can visit the website for Saxenda or Wegovy.

Children’s dosage

Saxenda and Wegovy are both FDA-approved for weight loss and long-term weight management in children ages 12 years and older with obesity. The recommended dosages are the same as the adult dosages described above.

Note: For more information about dosage, see our dosage articles about Saxenda and Wegovy.

Saxenda and Wegovy both belong to the same class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists. These drugs can cause some of the same side effects, as well as some different ones. Some of the side effects reported in clinical trials of these drugs are mentioned below.

For more details about side effects of the two drugs, see our side effect articles about Saxenda and Wegovy. You can also refer to the Saxenda prescribing information and Wegovy prescribing information.

Mild side effects

The following table lists some of the more commonly reported mild side effects of Saxenda and Wegovy. The table may also include mild side effects that are less common but that you might have concerns about in some cases.

Mild side effectsSaxendaWegovy
nausea and vomiting??
abdominal pain??
bloating??
flatulence (gas)??
diarrhea? ?
constipation? ?
indigestion? ?
headache? ?
injection site reactions? ?
dizziness??

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. If the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

The following table lists the reported serious side effects of Saxenda and Wegovy.

Serious side effectsSaxendaWegovy
gallbladder problems??
acute (sudden) kidney failure? ?
acute pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)??
hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)? ?
increased heart rate? ?
possible risk of thyroid cancer*??
severe allergic reaction??

If you have serious side effects while using Saxenda or Wegovy, call your doctor immediately. If the side effects feel life threatening or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

* Saxenda and Wegovy have a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see the “Precautions for Saxenda and Wegovy” section below.

ALLERGIC REACTION

For some people, Saxenda injection and Wegovy injection can cause an allergic reaction.

In general, symptoms of allergic reaction can be mild or serious. You can learn more about possible symptoms in this article.

Ways to manage

For mild allergic reaction symptoms, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may recommend treatments to help manage your symptoms. They’ll also let you know whether you should keep using the medication.

For severe allergic reaction symptoms, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms require immediate medical care because they can become life threatening. If you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Saxenda or Wegovy, your doctor may recommend taking a different medication instead.

Below are answers to some common questions about Saxenda and Wegovy.

How do Saxenda and Wegovy compare with Mounjaro?

Saxenda, Wegovy, and Mounjaro are brand-name medications with different active ingredients. They have some similar and some different uses.

Here’s a brief overview of Saxenda vs. Wegovy vs. Mounjaro:

SaxendaWegovyMounjaro
Active ingredientliraglutidesemaglutidetirzepatide
Drug classGLP-1 agonistGLP-1 agonistdual glucose-dependent
insulinotropic polypeptide
(GIP) and GLP-1 agonist
Formsolution in a prefilled injection pensolution in a prefilled injection pensolution in a prefilled injection pen
How they’re usedsubcutaneous injection once per daysubcutaneous injection once per weeksubcutaneous injection once per week
Uses? to help with weight loss in certain adults and children? to help with weight loss in certain adults and children
? to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke in adults with heart disease and obesity
? to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes
? may be prescribed off-label to help with weight loss in certain adults

For more information about how these drugs compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help you determine whether one of these drugs is a good option for you.

To find out more about these drugs, you can also refer to these detailed articles about Saxenda, Wegovy, and Mounjaro.

How do Saxenda and Wegovy compare with Ozempic?

Saxenda, Wegovy, and Ozempic are brand-name medications. Wegovy and Ozempic have the same active ingredient, but Saxenda has a different active ingredient. These drugs have some similar and some different uses.

Here’s a brief overview of Saxenda vs. Wegovy vs. Ozempic:

SaxendaWegovyOzempic
Active ingredientliraglutidesemaglutidesemaglutide
Drug classGLP-1 agonistGLP-1 agonistGLP-1 agonist
Formsolution in a prefilled injection pensolution in a prefilled injection pensolution in a prefilled injection pen
How they’re usedsubcutaneous injection once per daysubcutaneous injection once per weeksubcutaneous injection once per week
Uses? to help with weight loss in certain adults and children? to help with weight loss in certain adults and children
? to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke in adults with heart disease and obesity
? to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes
? to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke in adults with heart disease and type 2 diabetes
? may be prescribed off-label to help with weight loss in certain adults

For more information about how these drugs compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help you determine whether one of these drugs is a good option for you.

To find out more about these drugs, you can also refer to these detailed articles about Saxenda, Wegovy, and Ozempic.

Where can I find reviews of Saxenda vs. Wegovy?

You may be able to find reviews of Saxenda and Wegovy online. But keep in mind that different people may have different experiences with these drugs.

Your doctor can give you a better indication of what you can expect with either drug, based on your individual health situation.

You can also learn more about what to expect with these drugs by visiting the websites for Saxenda and Wegovy.

You may wonder whether Saxenda or Wegovy is more effective for helping weight loss.

Comparison study: Here’s a brief look at whether Saxenda or Wegovy was found to be more effective for helping weight loss.

A clinical trial compared weight loss in adults with overweight or obesity who took Saxenda or Wegovy for 68 weeks. In this trial, Wegovy was more effective for weight loss than Saxenda. However, keep in mind that results you may have with either drug depend on your personal circumstances.

Prescribing information: Here’s a brief look at how effective Saxenda and Wegovy were found to be in clinical trials.

For details about how these drugs performed in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Saxenda and Wegovy. Keep in mind that trial results may not apply to your individual health situation.

Treatment guidelines: Another way to see whether a drug is considered effective is to look at treatment guidelines.

When an organization includes certain drugs in treatment guidelines, this means that research has shown the drug to be safe and effective. Saxenda and Wegovy are both recommended as a treatment option for people with overweight or obesity in guidelines from the American Gastroenterological Association.

How much Saxenda or Wegovy costs depends on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, your insurance plan, and your pharmacy. You can visit Optum Perks* for price estimates of Saxenda and Wegovy.

Both Saxenda and Wegovy are brand-name drugs. The two medications do not come in a generic form. Brand-name medications are often more expensive than generics. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about the costs of either drug.

* Optum Perks is a sister site of Medical News Today.

Saxenda and Wegovy may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The two drugs share some of the same precautions, but they also have different ones. Some of these precautions are mentioned below.

Boxed warning: Risk of thyroid cancer

Saxenda and Wegovy both have a boxed warning for the risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the FDA. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In animal studies, liraglutide (the active drug in Saxenda) and semaglutide (the active drug in Wegovy) can both cause thyroid tumors. It’s not known whether Saxenda or Wegovy can cause thyroid cancer in humans. This is because animal studies will not always predict what happens with humans. Due to the possible risk, your doctor likely will not prescribe either drug for you if:

While using Saxenda or Wegovy, see your doctor right away if you develop possible symptoms of thyroid cancer. These can include a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, and shortness of breath.

If you have questions about this warning, talk with your doctor.

Precautions

In addition to boxed warnings, Saxenda and Wegovy have other warnings.

If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors are relevant to you, talk with your doctor before using Saxenda or Wegovy.

PrecautionSaxendaWegovy
if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredients??
if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant? ?
if you’re breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding??
if you have a history of pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)??
if you have type 2 diabetes? ?
if you have a history of diabetic retinopathy (vision problems due to complications
of diabetes)
? ?
if you have kidney problems? ?
if you have liver problems?
if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts??

Note: For more comprehensive information about these two drugs, you can refer to our Saxenda and Wegovy articles.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects if it’s safe to do so.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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Switching between Saxenda and Wegovy is possible.

If you’d like to know more about switching between Saxenda and Wegovy, talk with your doctor. They can give you additional details and help determine the best course of action for your personal situation. Even if the two drugs treat the same condition or are in the same drug class, your body can still respond differently.

It’s important that you do not stop, start, or switch any of your drug treatments without your doctor’s recommendation.

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.