Blog What is liraglutide?
Sold under various brand names, including Victoza and Saxenda, liraglutide is an anti-diabetic medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity and other chronic weight management conditions.

Given by daily injection, in recent years this drug has become a common tool prescribed by GPs and other licensed healthcare professionals to help those fighting obesity who are struggling to lose significant weight using traditional methods, such as adopting a low calorie diet and increasing exercise.

What is liraglutide used for?

As already touched upon, liraglutide has two main uses, both of which are linked. Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, meaning that when injected daily, this drug will work to stimulate insulin release in the body and inhibit glucagon secretion. This acts to slow down gastric emptying and increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) after eating. In practice, this has two uses. Firstly, it means it can be used to suppress appetite in overweight or obese adults (when used alongside a controlled diet and regular exercise). This is what Saxenda pens are typically prescribed for. Secondly, when given in a higher dose, liraglutide can also be used by those suffering with type 2 diabetes to help manage blood sugar levels.

How does liraglutide work for weight loss?

To put it simply, liraglutide works by telling the receptors in your brain that you are not hungry. This helps you to manage your weight as you tend to feel more full, more quickly and after eating less. This works to change eating habits, with most patients opting for smaller meal portions and fewer snacks during the day. Naturally, this usually leads to a significant decrease in typical calorie intake, helping you to lose weight.

How long does Saxenda stay in your system?

As we have discussed, the main active ingredient in Saxenda is liraglutide. As a rule, liraglutide has a half-life of around 13 hours. This means that liraglutide (Saxenda) will typically stay in your system for around 26 hours after your last injection. However, it could take a few full days for the drug to completely exit your system. 

It’s important to note that if you are considering halting your use of a liraglutide, you should first speak to your GP or a licensed prescriber. They will be able to advise you on the safest, most appropriate method of stopping your treatment. 

If you are struggling to tolerate any liraglutide side effects, you may be advised to stop taking it immediately. On the other hand, if you simply want to try another treatment or want to manage your weight loss without the help of medication, a more gradual process of coming off liraglutide may be recommended.

Is liraglutide safe?

As we discussed in our recent guide to weight loss medication, liraglutide products are generally considered a very safe form of weight loss treatment, as long as they are taken with the approval of your GP or other licensed prescriber. While gastrointestinal side effects are sometimes experienced, these effects are usually mild and do not result in the patient having to stop taking liraglutide.

Although liraglutide is safe, it is important to be aware that it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also not safe to use if you are taking other medications to help control diabetes or obesity. If you have any questions about whether it is safe for you to take liraglutide products, it is important to speak to your doctor. 

Where to purchase liraglutide injections

Liraglutide products, including Saxenda, can be bought at UK pharmacies, as well as licensed online pharmacies such as Access Doctor. As prescriptions are required to purchase these products, you can either visit your GP and discuss your options, or have a consultation here at Access Doctor. The process is simple – if you think liraglutide is suitable for you, you can talk to one of our licensed online prescribers. If they agree that liraglutide injections are suitable, they will provide you with a prescription and you will be able to purchase the medication. It’s as straightforward as that.

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