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Semaglutide VS. Saxenda for Weight Loss: Which is the Better Treatment?

Semaglutide and Saxenda are some of the most common medications via subcutaneous injection for weight reduction. They help you jump-start your journey toward getting normal body weight and achieving a healthier lifestyle by controlling your appetite. While they have striking similarities, these weight loss drugs aren't actually the same. If you’re looking for the best weight loss medication, you might want to learn more about their differences.

So which is the better treatment between semaglutide and Saxenda? According to clinical trials, semaglutide caused greater weight loss than liraglutide, the generic name of Saxenda. The once-weekly weight loss drug is also more effective in controlling blood sugar levels. However, semaglutide was reported to have caused more side effects, so you might want to seek a reliable healthcare provider to ensure a safe and effective weight loss journey.

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Is Semaglutide the Same as Saxenda?

Semaglutide and Saxendra may have many similarities, but they’re two different medications. Semaglutide is the generic name of another brand of weight loss drug, called Wegovy, while Saxenda is a brand of liraglutide subcutaneous injection. They don’t have the same molecular structure, so their pharmacokinetic profile and biological effects also vary. Many patients may confuse one for the other because of these similarities:

1. Drug Class

Semaglutide and liraglutide come from the same drug class, called glucagon-like peptide or GLP 1 receptor agonist, also called GLP 1 agonist or incretin mimetic. A GLP 1 medication mimics incretin hormones that send signals to the pancreas for blood sugar control by insulin secretion.

2. Uses

Semaglutide and liraglutide are both used for treating chronic weight management alongside a comprehensive lifestyle modification. This is because of its effects in controlling the appetite and slowing down gastric emptying, making you feel less hungry for long periods.

Lifestyle intervention for weight reduction can be difficult for many obese and overweight patients with medical conditions impairing their metabolism – they tend to feel more tired and hungry than usual. That’s why the effects of semaglutide and liraglutide greatly help them achieve normal body weight and improve their quality of life.

Semaglutide and liraglutide are initially medications for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes mellitus, but brands Wegovy (semaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide) are formulated only for chronic weight management.

3. Mechanism of Action

Semaglutide and liraglutide both have the same mechanism of action in controlling blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss due to belonging to the same drug class, GLP 1 RA.

GLP 1 receptor agonists mimic the function of naturally occurring incretin hormones – the intestines secrete these peptides as you eat, sending signals to the pancreas for insulin secretion and blood sugar control.

The effects of GLP 1 RA medications on your blood glucose levels cause slower gastric emptying. They also send signals to the brain to suppress appetite and cravings, making you feel full for longer periods.

4. Treatment Plan

Both semaglutide and liraglutide are supposed to be taken alongside significant lifestyle interventions to maximize their effects. Patients under weight loss injection treatment must also do physical exercise and observe a low-calorie diet.

Differences Between Saxenda and Semaglutide


Choosing the most reliable weight loss medication can set you up for success in weight management with lifestyle modifications, like improving physical activity and observing a balanced, low-calorie diet. weight loss drug. That’s why knowing the difference between subcutaneous semaglutide and Saxenda (liraglutide) can help you determine the best option for you. These stark differences are:

1. Molecular Structure

Semaglutide and Saxenda might come from the same drug class, but they’re still entirely different weight-loss medications. As established, semaglutide is a generic name for brands like Wegovy, Ozempic, or Rybelsus while Saxenda is a brand for liraglutide – these GLP 1 receptor agonist brands are all manufactured by Novo Nordisk.

Semaglutide and liraglutide have entirely different molecular structures, so they will also have varying pharmacokinetic profiles. The difference in their chemical compositions are the following:

Type of GLP 1 DrugSemaglutideLiraglutide
Chemical formulaC187H291N45O59C172H265N43O51
Average molecular weight4113.641 Da3751 Da
Similarities to naturally-occuring GLP 194% similarity to endogenous GLP 1,
enough to prevent immunogenicity
97% similarity to endogenous GLP 1

These differences in the molecular structure make one drug more effective or potent than the other, as each peptide causes a reaction in the body. That’s why patients should seek a reliable healthcare provider who can assess their overall health and determine the best treatment according to their bodily needs. 

2. Dose

You can expect semaglutide and liraglutide to have different doses for weight reduction due to having varying molecular structures. It’s also important to note that both GLP 1 RA drugs are taken via subcutaneous injections. Semaglutide injections are taken once a week, while liraglutide medications are taken once a day.

Your doctor will prescribe the proper dose for your chronic weight management treatment with semaglutide or liraglutide. They will perform a thorough physical examination and laboratory tests and collect your medical history to determine the dose of weight loss medication you need. Your dose for GLP 1 agonist drug usually goes as follows according to each brand’s recommendations:

Wegovy (semaglutide)Saxenda (liraglutide)
Duration (once a week)DoseDuration (once a day)Dose
Week 1 to 40.25 mgWeek 10.6 mg
Weeks 5 to 80.5 mgWeek 21.2 mg
Weeks 9 to 121 mgWeek 31.8 mg
Weeks 13 to 161.7 mgWeek 42.4 mg
Maintenance Dose2.4 mgMaintenance Dose3 mg, depending on your healthcare provider

These are the doses recommended by Wegovy (semaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide), but your healthcare provider will still advise the proper intake of these weight loss medications. They will also assess your tolerability to the drug. Your doctor will increase or decrease your dose or delay its escalation.

3. Duration of Action

The duration of action or half-life is the time it takes for a drug to get concentrated in the body and be reduced by half. This measures how long the drug’s effects persist in the body. Semaglutide and liraglutide differ in dose and schedule of intake because they have different molecular structures, causing them to also have varying durations of action.

Semaglutide has a longer half-life and duration of action than liraglutide – semaglutide takes 7 days per 0.5 to 1 mg to get reduced by half, while liraglutide takes only 13 hours. This is because semaglutide has a more advanced albumin binding, resulting in lower renal clearance.

Knowing a weight loss medication’s half-life or duration of action is necessary for determining the needed dose of a patient. It can also indicate a medication’s withdrawal and side effects, with a longer half-life resulting in fewer withdrawal effects, while a shorter half-life results in more withdrawal problems.

4. Side Effects

Semaglutide and liraglutide have similar side effects, usually involving the gastrointestinal tract. These adverse events are your body’s normal reaction to the drug. Consult your healthcare provider for instructions on dealing with these effects. They can also assess your condition thoroughly to know if the effects should already be a cause of concern. The side effects of semaglutide and liraglutide are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Runny nose, cough, or sneezing
  • Redness or rash on the injection side
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Skin reactions
  • Low blood sugar

Semaglutide and liraglutide might have similar adverse reactions involving the gastrointestinal tract. But between the two obesity medications, semaglutide results in more adverse reactions than liraglutide.

5. Clinical Trials

Semaglutide and liraglutide are reliable weight-loss medications for patients with obesity and medical conditions impairing their metabolism. But between these GLP 1 agonist drugs, semaglutide has produced a greater weight loss among patients in clinical trials than liraglutide.

A clinical trial has compared the effects of 2.4 mg once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide from 3 mg once-daily subcutaneous liraglutide. From baseline, the study has reported a mean weight change of –15.8% with semaglutide and –6.4% with liraglutide, showing that semaglutide has caused greater weight loss.

Semaglutide has caused a greater weight loss in subjects in another clinical trial comparing 2.4 mg and 1 mg semaglutide and 1.8 mg and 3 mg liraglutide. The study has reported the following mean body weight changes from baseline:

  • Semaglutide 2.4 mg - − 12.47 kg
  • Liraglutide 3 mg - − 5.24 kg
  • Semaglutide 1 mg - − 3.74 kg
  • Liraglutide 1.8 mg - − 3.29 kg

While causing the most weight loss, semaglutide was also reported to have more side effects than liraglutide. That’s why patients must consult a trusted healthcare provider to prescribe the most suitable weight loss medication based on their needs.

Achieve Your Goal Weight for Overall Wellness with Semaglutide Medications at Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

Dr. V

Wegovy (semaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide) are GLP 1 receptor agonist drugs that promote weight loss among patients with obesity and other conditions causing unexpected weight regain. While having stark similarities, these solutions are entirely different medications with varying pharmacokinetic profiles. To determine the best medication for you, you need a reliable healthcare professional to ensure a safe and successful weight loss journey.

Dr. V Medical Aesthetics is one of the most reliable clinics in Florida, offering a wealth of treatments, from skin resurfacing to overall wellness. We also provide weight management solutions with semaglutide injections. You can expect a comprehensive treatment plan prepared by highly-trained medical professionals for your weight loss journey. Get started on achieving your goal weight today for a healthier lifestyle and book an appointment.


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