Saxenda: A new weight loss medicationPosted: Nov 06 in Weight Loss Medication by Dr. Lazarus
This is an exciting year for weight loss medications! Hot on the heels of the FDA approval for Contrave, the FDA is expected to approve Saxenda, another novel weight loss drug soon.
Saxenda (liraglutide) is an analog of GLP-1 (glucose-like peptide 1). GLP-1 is a hormone our small intestine makes in response to eating. Saxenda tells the brain that we are full and should stop eating and tells the stomach that the meal is over signaling it to slow down. GLP-1, along with oxyntomodulin (OXM) and peptide YY (PYY) are known in the obesity medicine world as the “ileal brake.” They are mostly stimulated by protein and fat intake, and are the reason that about 20 minutes after we eat, we feel full. This is why behaviors such as eating more slowly, having protein (vs. carbohydrates) early in the meal, etc. are effective strategies to feel satiated based on time passed instead of calories eaten.
Liraglutide is already approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes under the brand name Victoza. Weight loss has always been listed as a side effect of Victoza. However, if approved by the FDA, Saxenda will be the first GLP-1 agonist approved for weight loss. It should be heart-safe, safe for use with most other medications (like anti-depressants), and has a very different mechanism of action than all of the other anti-obesity drugs like Phentermine, Tenuate, Contrave, Qsymia, and Belviq. In fact, if approved, we will have 5 completely different classes of weight loss medications, each with a unique mechanism of action.
I have been excited to be involved as an expert advisor to Novo Nordisk (the company that is developing Saxenda) over the course of this past year. I will be attending two more advisory council meetings between now and the end of the year and will bring you further updates soon!
By: Dr. Ethan Lazarus