Saxenda (Liraglutide) side effects
As with any medication, Saxenda comes with a list of side effects that you could potentially experience. Some of these negative effects are serious, so if you suffer from any of the following symptoms you should stop taking it immediately and tell your doctor or health care provider:
- Thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer
In tests involving rats and mice, Saxenda was found to cause thyroid tumors and medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Although there is no evidence that the drug will lead to the same conditions in people, you should watch out for any swelling or lumps in your neck. If your voice becomes hoarse, or you become short of breath, it could be a symptom of a thyroid tumor developing.
If you or any of your family members have had MTC or an endocrine system condition known as Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), you should avoid using Liraglutide.
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
When taking Liraglutide, you could suffer from stomach pain. The discomfort may extend to your back and cause vomiting. If the pain is sharp and does not go away, it could be a sign of an inflamed pancreas.
- Gallbladder problems (gallstones)
The drug could cause gallstones. Signs of gallbladder problems include stomach pain, fever, yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice), discoloured stool, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), particularly if you have type 2 diabetes mellitus. Some gallbladder problems could require surgery.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
It is a good idea to monitor your blood sugar levels before and after you start taking Saxenda. Sometimes when you take it with another diabetes drug, such as a sulfonylurea, your blood sugar levels may drop too low. If this happens, you could become dizzy or lightheaded. You may experience blurred vision, headaches, increased heart rate, jittery or shaky feelings, mood changes, such as anxiety or irritability, slurred speech, hunger, confusion or drowsiness. If these symptoms occur, it does not mean you cannot take Liraglutide, but you should tell your doctor. Your doctor will most likely adjust your dose of your sulfonylurea medication.
- Increased heart rate
It is a good idea to also monitor your heart rate since it can increase while taking the medication. If you feel your heart pounding or racing for several minutes, let your doctor know.
It is important to monitor your moods and behaviors, and tell your health care provider of any changes you experience while taking Saxenda, especially if you have previously suffered from depression or experienced suicidal thoughts.
- Kidney problems (kidney failure)
The drug may cause some diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. If these symptoms continue, they could cause a loss of fluids. Dehydration is especially dangerous for people with existing kidney conditions and could lead to kidney failure and dialysis.
- Severe allergic reactions
Some people may have a severe allergic reaction to the ingredients in Saxenda. If at any time you have trouble breathing, you develop a rash or itchiness, you experience swelling or severe vomiting, stop taking it right away and get emergency medical attention.
Common side effects
The most common side effect include
- nausea, but this usually subsides as your body gets used to the medication.
Other common side effects include
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- decreased appetite
- stomach pain
- changes in enzyme (lipase) levels in your blood.
As with any medication, precautions should be taken, yet along with a healthy lifestyle plan, Saxenda can help you achieve significant weight loss.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.