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Does Saxenda speed up metabolism?

GLP-1 Agonists & Weight Loss: How Do GLP-1 Medications Work?

GLP-1 medications (glucagon-like peptide 1s) are the most effective medication for long-term, sustained weight loss.The GLP-1 medications, Saxenda and Wegovy®, are FDA-approved for weight loss. GLP-1 medications stimulate the secretion of insulin and slow the release of glucagon in your body, influencing blood sugar control. GLP-1s also help with weight loss by acting on the body’s “set point,” reducing appetite and increasing satiety. GLP-1 medication is most effective when combined with intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) for habit change across food, exercise, sleep, and emotional health.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the effectiveness of GLP-1s on weight, the effects of GLP-1s in the body, the various types of GLP-1 medications available, and more. If you’re struggling with weight, it’s time to regain control. Read through for a complete overview of GLP-1 weight loss medications, or use the links below to navigate throughout the post.

  • Effectiveness of GLP-1 Medications on Weight
  • How Soon Can I Expect Weight Loss Results Using GLP-1s?
  • Benefits of Using GLP-1s for Weight Loss
  • Effects of GLP-1 Agonists on the Body
  • What GLP-1 Medications Are There?
  • Which GLP-1 Agonists Are FDA Approved?
  • Safety Information About GLP-1 Class Drugs
  • Final Notes

Effectiveness of GLP-1 Medications on Weight Loss

In clinical trials, GLP-1s drove 5-10% weight loss. Calibrate has produced 2-3X better sustained weight loss results than GLP-1s alone thanks to the powerful combination of GLP-1 medication with a holistic curriculum and accountability coaching.

The average weight loss for year one Calibrate members is 14%—versus the 10% average seen with GLP-1s plus lifestyle intervention in clinical trials.

Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between a GLP-1s and weight loss. GLP-1s are naturally occurring hormones produced by your gut that send signals to your brain to improve metabolic function and regulate your digestion and appetite, allowing you to feel fuller longer. Calibrate doctors prescribe a variety of FDA-approved GLP-1 medications that work on the same receptors as your body’s natural GLP-1 hormones to regulate your body’s set point—the weight your body fights to maintain—blood sugar response, and insulin.

GLP-1 medications improve your metabolic health and control your blood sugar levels. While GLP-1 medication helps to unblock the biological factors that are holding back your weight loss, that doesn’t mean that developing healthy lifestyle habits isn’t also important. GLP-1s for weight loss work best when combined with lifestyle tweaks around food, sleep, exercise, and emotional health. Developing healthier habits will help you sustain your weight loss over the long term for a healthier and happier life.

At Calibrate, we combine GLP-1s for weight loss with 1:1 weight management coaching with an accountability coach who will keep you on track and accountable for the goals you set. Whether that means drinking more water, or navigating eating during the holidays, an accountability coach can provide the resources and motivation to ensure your goals are sustained.

95% of diets fail because they don’t address the root cause of weight gain—your biology. Calibrate’s approach fights biology with biology to actually improve your overall metabolic health for lasting results. Knowing how to reset your metabolism can help you sustain long-term weight loss and develop healthier lifestyle habits.

How Soon Can I Expect Weight Loss Results Using GLP-1s?

The effectiveness of GLP-1s for weight loss can vary, but are most effective when combined with lifestyle changes proven to support weight loss. Because Calibrate’s program combines GLP-1 medication with intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) across the Four Pillars of metabolic health (food, exercise, sleep, and emotional health), members sustain an average 10% loss of their body weight long term.. Members on the Calibrate program can expect to lose at least 5% of their weight within 3 months as well as reduce their overall body fat percentage. At 3 months, members should also feel improvements in sleep, energy levels, and exercise stamina. At 6 months, Calibrate members should reach at least 10% body weight loss while taking GLP-1s, resulting in a smaller waist circumference.

How Long Should I Expect to Take GLP-1s?

GLP-1 meds are not intended to be a quick fix to weight loss—they are an investment in long-term metabolic health improvements. Your Calibrate doctor will prescribe the most clinically appropriate GLP-1 that’s covered by your insurance and as you progress through the program, the Calibrate Medical team will recommend how long taking GLP-1 medication is right for you. Our goal for members is to see sustained success, and many members will be able to taper off medication, equipped with the tools to maintain the food, exercise, sleep, and emotional health habits needed to maintain weight loss and metabolic health over time.

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Benefits of Using GLP-1s for Weight Loss

There are many benefits of using GLP-1s for weight loss. GLP-1 meds send signals to your brain to improve your metabolic function and regulate your appetite and digestion so that you feel fuller longer.GLP-1s are also beneficial to your metabolic system. They help to regulate your body’s blood sugar levels and to reset your “set point,” which is the weight your body fights to maintain.. This will not only help you lose weight but also sustain that weight loss long term.

Effects of GLP-1 Agonists on the Body

When starting any new type of medication, it’s always important to be aware of possible side effects. While side effects are rare for GLP-1 medications, they include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. At Calibrate, if you do experience any side effects, your doctor will work with you to mitigate them and (as always) make sure you’re titrating your medicine at a pace that works best for your body.

What GLP-1 Medications are There?

Calibrate doctors prescribe the following GLP-1s:

  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity®)
  • Semaglutide (Wegovy®, Ozempic®, and Rybelsus®)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda®, Victoza®)

Your Calibrate doctor will review your labs and your Calibrate health assessment with you before prescribing you medication to ensure you’re taking the right GLP-1 for you.

Safety Information about GLP-1 Class Drugs

GLP-1s are safe and effective to take alongside many conditions for adults with a BMI over 30 or a BMI over 27 with a weight-related comorbidity. It is important to consult with a doctor before starting a GLP-1 medication for weight loss to make sure it’s right for you.

Final Notes

If diet and exercise have not worked for you, it may not be your willpower, but your biology. GLP-1s can help you break through the weight gain cycle and find results that last. GLP-1 medications aren’t just beneficial for weight loss, but they can also have lasting metabolic health improvements.

If you’re interested in getting started on your weight loss journey, check out our guide to GLP-1s and find out if you’re eligible to join Calibrate. In addition to meeting your Calibrate doctor, you will also be paired with a 1:1 accountability coach who will support you in lifestyle changes to help you sustain your weight loss in the long run. Joining Calibrate can help you achieve your weight loss goals while maintaining a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.

We’re a modern, medical approach that combines doctor-prescribed medication with 1:1 accountability coaching—all personalized to your biology, your goals, and your life for a metabolic reset that lasts and 10% Weight Loss Guaranteed (see terms).

Saxenda® for weight loss

When it comes to weight loss, the most common advice is usually trying to eat a healthy, balanced diet and increase the exercise you’re doing. But for some people, weight loss aids and treatments might also be an option to consider.

There are lots of treatments available for weight loss, from weight loss pills to shakes and injections. One of these injections is a treatment called Saxenda®, which is an effective weight loss treatment used for people with high BMIs. Your BMI (body mass index) is a measurement calculated using your height and weight, to determine if you’re a healthy weight for your body.

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In this article we’re going to look at how Saxenda® works, its effectiveness and the benefits you might feel before and after using the treatment.

What is Saxenda®?

Saxenda® is a daily weight loss injection, used to help people with high BMIs try and lose weight. Saxenda® has been proven to be a fairly effective weight loss treatment, with around 86% of people using it losing some weight.

The active ingredient in the treatment is liraglutide, so sometimes it’s referred to as liraglutide instead of Saxenda®.

The treatment is available for some people on the NHS and can also be access privately through the our online service.

How does liraglutide (Saxenda®) work?

Liraglutide works by supressing your appetite – this means you feel fuller for longer and less hungry.

Saxenda® supresses your appetite by copying the action of a hormone that your body naturally produces to regulate how hungry you feel. With liraglutide copying that action, you should feel like eating less.

What you need to know before using Saxenda®

Like with any prescription-medication, it’s important you have a consultation with a clinician (whether that’s online or face-to-face) before taking Saxenda®.

It’s not suitable for everyone and can only be prescribed to people who have a:

  • BMI of 30 and over
  • BMI of 27 to 30 and have another weight-related ‘co-morbidity’ (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea)

You should also be aware that Saxenda® is most effective when it’s combined with a reduced calorie diet and increased exercise regime.

Saxenda® dosage

The dosage of Saxenda® changes in the first few weeks you’re using the treatment, this helps your body get used to it and hopefully limits some of the side effects. This process of increase dosing is called titration.

The dosing schedule for Saxenda® is as follows:

  • Week 1 – 0.6mg injected daily
  • Week 2 – 1.2mg injected daily
  • Week 3 – 1.8mg injected daily
  • Week 4 – 2.4mg injected daily
  • Week 5 – 3.0mg injected daily

If your body can manage the 3.0mg dose, you’ll then be kept on this dose for the rest of the time you’re taking the treatment. This is known as the maintenance phase.

How to manage weight alongside Saxenda®

To get the best results out of Saxenda®, you’ll need to be eating a reduced calorie diet and increase the amount of exercise you’re getting. This will give you the best chance of losing weight and keeping weight off.

When you start Saxenda®, your healthcare provider or clinician will give you advice on ways to change your diet and how to get more physical exercise.

How exercise boosts weight loss with Saxenda®

We also know that increasing the amount of exercise we do can help us lose weight. And this is the same while you’re using Saxenda®.

Exercise can help burn off calories that you cannot lose through reducing calories alone. So by reducing calories, exercising more and using Saxenda®, you’ll be improving your chances of losing weight – tackling it from three angles.

Saxenda® FAQs

Are there any side effects when taking liraglutide?

You should consider potential side effects from taking Saxenda®. Most of the side effects tend to be mild, and will pass as your body gets used to the treatment. But some people do experience things like nausea, vomiting, digestive issues (diarrhoea or constipation) and headaches.

Can I take other weight loss treatments at the same time as Saxenda®?

It’s not advised that you take two weight loss treatments at the same time. The risks are not known of taken Saxenda® alongside prescription, over the counter or herbal weight loss solutions.

Where should I store my Saxenda® pens?

All unused Saxenda® pens should be kept in the fridge. After the first use, pens can either kept in the fridge or at room temperature.

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Open pens should be thrown away after 30 days, no matter if they have any Saxenda® left in them or not.

How do I throw away my Saxenda® pens?

Used pens should be thrown in a sharps bin – you should get given one of these when you start using the treatment.

Your provider/clinician will let you know how to dispose of the sharps bin and its contents.

Wegovy vs Saxenda For Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, there are many factors at play.

Your lifestyle habits, genetics, and other aspects of your health can influence how easy or difficult weight loss can be.

Studies suggest that people of higher body weights (otherwise known as overweight or obese) have altered levels of hormones that impact satiety.

That means you might feel more hungry and less satiated if you have a high body weight.

A class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists have become popular as a weight loss medication, and it acts on the hormones that impact hunger and satiety. Two weight loss drugs approved by the FDA include Wegovy and Saxenda.

Keep reading for a detailed guide comparing wegovy vs saxenda.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a weight loss medication with the drug name semaglutide. Wegovy is an injectable medication and might be mistaken for Ozempic, a brand name sharing the same drug name as Wegovy.

Ozempic is meant to treat type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy is not a diabetes medication and is only for weight loss.

The FDA approved Wegvy in 2021 to be used for weight management and weight loss. Wegovy dosages start at 0.25 milligrams once per week and increase to a maximum of 2.4 milligrams per week. This medication is meant for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher.

Wegovy targets the hormone GLP-1, a hormone responsible for regulating appetite. Studies show that appetite hormones can be altered in people who are obese, which means they might feel more hungry compared to lean subjects.

In obese subjects, GLP-1 receptor agonists like Wegovy appear to restore a hormone activation pattern similar to lean patients.

Wegovy also works to promote weight loss by slowing gastric emptying, which can make you feel fuller longer, reduce your appetite, and can lead to reduced caloric intake.

What is Saxenda?

Saxenda is the brand name for liraglutide, an injectable medication used to treat obesity for people aged 12 years and older.

Like Wegovy, Saxenda is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, a medication that can also treat type 2 diabetes. Also, like Wegovy, Saxenda isn’t meant to treat type 2 diabetes.

Some GLP-1 receptor agonists used for treating diabetes include Victoza (sharing the same drug name as Saxenda), Byetta, Ozempic (sharing the same drug name as Wegovy), and Trulicity.

The FDA approved Saxenda in 2014 as a weight loss medication. Saxenda is approved for adults with a BMI over 27 and children aged 12-17 over 132 pounds and considered obese.

Saxenda is for daily use with a maximum dose of 3 milligrams. It’s sold as a prefilled injectable pen and should be injected into subcutaneous tissue such as your abdomen, thigh, or back of your forearm.

Are Saxenda and Wegovy the same?

Saxenda and Wegovy are both GLP-1 receptor agonist medications approved for weight loss. They work in similar ways, but they aren’t the same drugs.

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Saxenda vs Wegovy effectiveness


According to a study, 60% of people taking Saxenda achieved a weight loss of 5% or more, which equates to an average of 12 pounds lost from their baseline.

Around 33% of people taking Saxenda experienced significant weight loss of 10% or more, which was around 23 pounds lost on average.

While it is rarer, around 6% of people taking Saxenda lost over 20% of their initial body weight, the equivalent of around 47 pounds on average. All of these results occurred over 56 weeks.

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A study was done on almost 2,000 overweight or obese adults without diabetes. Participants taking Wegovy lost an average of 35 pounds over the 68-week study, which was about 15% of their starting body weight. Overall, 83% of people taking Wegovy lost at least 5% of their body weight.

According to a 2022 paper, a review of ten studies concluded that Wegovy was “superior” to Saxenda and other GLP-1 receptor agonists in reducing patients’ body weight.

Based on the more significant weight loss in studies and that conclusion, it’s safe to conclude that Wegovy appears more effective at promoting weight loss than Saxenda.

Which works better, Saxenda or Wegovy?

Wegovy appears to result in more significant weight loss compared to Saxenda. Everyone is different, and results will vary, so that doesn’t mean that Saxenda wouldn’t be an effective weight loss drug for many people.

Benefits of Saxenda vs Wegovy

  • Saxenda requires daily dosing, while Wegovy is a once-weekly dose, making Wegovy more convenient.
  • Wegovy appears to be more effective at promoting significant weight loss.
  • Both medications might offer cardioprotective benefits, which can reduce your heart disease risk. The likely reason behind this is improvements in blood sugar levels, weight reduction, and blood pressure levels.

Similarities and differences


  • Saxenda and Wegovy have similar side effects because they are in the same drug class.


  • Saxenda is approved for use in children as young as 12, whereas Wegovy’s manufacturer says it’s unknown if Wegovy is safe and effective for use in children under 18 years of age.
  • Saxenda’s dosing is daily, whereas Wegovy’s dosing is once weekly.

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Do Saxenda and Wegovy have the same side effects and risks?

Because they’re both GLP-1 receptor agonists, Saxenda and Wegovy have similar side effects.

Saxenda’s common side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Injection site reaction
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Change in enzyme (lipase) levels in your blood

Wegovy’s common side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like upset stomach (nausea and vomiting), stomach pain, loss of appetite, heartburn, burping, gas, and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Injection site pain
  • Low blood sugar (especially if you’re taking a diabetes medication like insulin or a sulfonylurea)

Thyroid cancer

The FDA has issued a black box warning for both Wegovy and Saxenda for their potential to cause thyroid cancer.

Semaglutide (Wegovy) has caused thyroid cancer in rodents. There is a chance that Wegovy may cause thyroid cancer, but it isn’t clear if taking these medications increases your thyroid cancer risk.

Liraglutide (Saxenda) has also caused thyroid tumors in animals. The dose given to those animal subjects was eight times higher than the dose that humans would receive, but it’s still a potential risk.

You shouldn’t take Wegovy and Saxenda if you have a history of thyroid cancer or a thyroid tumor. Also, you should also avoid taking them if anyone in your family has a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a type of thyroid cancer.

You should avoid taking Wegovy and Saxenda if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). MEN2 is a rare disorder that causes tumors to form on glands that make hormones, such as the thyroid.

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Wegovy or Saxenda, you should alert your healthcare provider immediately:

  • A lump in your neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in your neck
  • Pain in the front of your neck, sometimes going up to your ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold


Inflammation of your pancreas can occur when taking GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Wegovy and Saxenda. Watch for signs of pancreatitis, like severe abdominal pain, with or without vomiting.

Gallbladder problems

You might develop gallbladder problems when taking Wegovy and Saxenda. Signs of gallbladder issues include middle upper stomach pain, fever, nausea and vomiting, and the yellowing of the whites of your eyes.

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Kidney problems (kidney failure)

If you already have kidney problems, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting (more common side effects from Wegovy and Saxenda) can cause a loss of fluids (dehydration), which can worsen your kidney problems.

Which is cheaper, Saxenda or Wegovy?

According to GoodRx: Five prefilled 3-milliliter pens (one carton) of Saxenda containing 18 milligrams each will cost around $1300-$1400 out of pocket, which would last 30 days when taking the maximum dose of 3 milligrams daily.

Four prefilled pens with 2.4 milligrams each (the maximum dose) of Wegovy cost around $1400, which would last for four weeks of weekly treatment.

These medications end up costing around the same. If you have prescription drug coverage or other medical insurance, your costs could be much lower if either Saxenda or Wegovy are covered.

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Can you switch between Saxenda and Wegovy?

Your healthcare provider might recommend switching from Saxenda to Wegovy or vice versa if you’re not responding to the first drug as expected or if your insurance provider prefers the other drug.

You shouldn’t alternate between Saxenda and Wegovy regularly because they have different dosing schedules.

If you switched between these two drugs often, you wouldn’t be able to assess how effective either one is since it can take several weeks to start to see results.

Are there any natural alternatives to Saxenda and Wegovy?

Saxenda and Wegovy help boost levels of GLP-1, a hormone responsible for increasing insulin release and slowing gastric emptying.

According to a 2021 study, berberine, tea, curcumin, cinnamon, wheat, soybean, resveratrol, and gardenia may all naturally boost GLP-1 concentrations and act as natural alternatives to Wegovy and Saxenda.


Berberine is a compound found in some plants and is a natural alternative for treating insulin resistance and high blood sugar. Insulin resistance is associated with weight gain and overweight/obesity.

According to a small study on people with metabolic syndrome (a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes), berberine improved insulin sensitivity and reduced participants’ waist circumference.

A 2020 meta-analysis of 12 studies on berberine and weight loss showed that berberine resulted in a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference.

Reduced waist circumference can be indicative of losing visceral fat, which is fat that you carry in your abdomen. Visceral fat is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, even in people with a BMI considered healthy.


A 2020 review of 12 trials on over 700 participants concluded that cinnamon supplementation significantly reduced body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass.

Weight loss was more significant in people with a body mass index of 30 or greater and people under age 50. The amount of cinnamon that resulted in the most weight loss was at least 2 grams per day for at least 12 weeks.


You’ve probably heard of resveratrol in relation to red wine. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in the skins of grapes and has beneficial protective effects against cardiovascular disease.

A 2020 meta-analysis of 36 randomized controlled trials concluded that resveratrol supplementation significantly reduced body weight, BMI, fat mass, and waist circumference, especially in obese patients. Resveratrol didn’t appear to impact leptin, the appetite hormones that promote satiety.


Wegovy and Saxenda are both GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs approved for weight loss. They are not meant to treat type 2 diabetes, though many other brands of GLP-1 receptor agonists are diabetes medications.

Because they’re both GLP-1 receptor agonists, Wegovy and Saxenda have similar side effects and risks. The price of Wegovy and Saxenda are also similar.

Wegovy appears to be more effective at promoting significant weight loss than Saxenda, but individual results will vary.

For natural alternatives to Wegovy and Saxenda, consider plant-based compounds like berberine, cinnamon, and resveratrol.

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