Saxenda vs. Victoza: What are the Similarities and Differences?

Saxenda vs. Victoza
Saxenda vs. Victoza

In today’s feature, we have the battle of liraglutide: Saxenda vs. Victoza! There are different types of diabetic drugs doctors prescribe to control blood sugar in diabetic patients, and two very common ones are Victoza and Saxenda. These medications are used for the management of diabetes, and they are both active drugs that contain liraglutide. Recently, they have become rather popular in the weight-loss conversations around the globe but they do differentiate in functionality and purpose.

These drugs may have similarities but they are approved by a healthcare professional for different uses. While Victoza is approved for diet improvement and to control sugar levels in the bloodstream, it is mainly prescribed to people who are 10 years and above who are Type 2. Meaning it cannot be administered to children below age 10. Also, Victoza is used for mitigating certain risks that can lead to heart problems in adults with Type 2 diabetes that may lead to heart complications. It also has the same ingredients as Saxenda (mainly Liraglutide) and does help with weight loss. Although both are meant for Type 2 diabetics, they both are usually prescribed for different scenarios.  

Saxenda is used to help address obesity or overweight challenges in people who are 12 years and above who are also dealing with diabetic conditions. It has very similar results to the use of Ozempic and Trulicity.

Saxenda and Victoza are basically generic names given to both drugs, but they have certain similarities and differences. In this article, we explore both in detail and explain how they work and what they are used for.


Let’s start with Saxenda. Saxenda is an injection drug used for treating obesity in people who are 12 years and above. This drug is quite popular as it has regularly been prescribed by doctors. It is commonly used by people differing from diabetes because it is a very effective weight loss medication. You probably may not know, but many people with diabetes suffer from excess weight, which affects their health. So by managing their weight properly, they are able to control their cholesterol intake, control blood pressure and prevent their blood sugar level from spiking. It also is important to incorporate the correct foods in your diet, while you are taking Saxenda. 

This drug is not taken in isolation but is administered in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Saxenda has been approved by the FDA and as of late, many non-diabetics are taking Saxenda for strictly weight-loss purposes.

Women showing off her weight loss
Studies have down the effects of using liraglutide to treat obesity to be beneficial and effective.


Victoza is another injection drug used to treat cardiovascular disorders in people who have Type 2 diabetes. This medication is prescribed alongside a healthy diet and a regular exercise program. Victoza is administered to manage blood sugar in patients 10 years and older and reduce th risks of certain heart conditions like heart attacks, stroke and heart disease.

This medication is administered once a day with it without food at the same time each day to establish a regular and consistent circle.

Similarities & Differences Between Saxenda and Victoza

These medications have certain similarities and differences you should know about. Let’s review some of them below.

Saxenda and Victoza – Similarities

Saxenda and Victoza are produced by the same company named Novo Nordisk. Secondly, they contain the same essential ingredient called liraglutide. For administration, the user uses an injectable pen subcutaneously. This ingredient then transforms into incretin, which further stimulates the pancreas to produce and releases insulin into the bloodstream when the sugar level becomes too high. Saxenda and Victoza are classified as GLP-1 agonists in the medical field because they mimic incretin the human body, which gives you a feeling of satiety (a feeling of satisfaction like you just had food). Initially, they were both used to treat diabetes. When people usually think of diabetic medications, they are usually thinking of insulin (such as Humulin and Humalog). However many diabetics take additional medication to manage their diabetes. 


Saxenda and Victoza both contain liraglutide which is the active drug. Being GLP-1 agonists, they work in almost the same way to trigger insulin release and decrease appetite. Basically, these drugs limit the hunger signals that your brain creates. No hunger leads to no good which leads to weight loss. A simple concept but not as simple to implement in real life (one of our biological functions is to eat). 

Side Effects

As with all drugs, Saxenda and Victoza have their side effects. Since they are active drugs that contain the same agent, they post the same reactions in users. So if you are in the process of using any of them, bear in mind that you may experience one or more of these side effects. This is why it is dangerous and ill-advised to self-medicate. It is essential to consult your doctor for directions and prescriptions.

Saxenda and Victoza mild side effects:

● Headache
●  Nausea
●  Indigestion
●  Diarrhea
●  Low appetite
●  Injection site itching, rashes, redness

Saxenda and Victoza serious side effects:

● Serious allergic reactions
● Pancreatitis
● Low blood sugar
● Potential kidney failure
● May lead to thyroid cancer 
(more information in FDA Warnings)

Women using weight loss pen
Saxenda and Victoza are both administered through injectable pens.

Saxenda and Victoza – Differences

Both drugs have their differences as well. Although they are both GLP-agonist drugs, they cannot be used interchangeably. Saxenda is used by diabetics to control obesity and to expedite weight loss, while Victoza is has been approved by the FDA to control blood sugar in the bloodstream. However, weigh-loss clinics have been prescribing Victoza to battle against obesity. If you decide you want to switch between Saxenda and Victoza, you must have this approval from your healthcare professional. Do not switch or take any medications that have not been prescribed to you. 

Dosage, Forms and Administration

So how does Saxenda and Victoza appear over the counter? Both are sold in liquid form in prefilled injection pens, with each pen holding 18mg of liraglutide in a 3m solution.

To use any of them, you will have to inject them once a day, however their dosages may be different (depending on the guidance of your healthcare professional).

Generally speaking, patients who use Saxenda require a higher dosage than Victoza. In the first few weeks, you start slowly, but after five weeks, with your body already used to it, your doctor may recommend an increase. On average, the daily recommends dosage is 3mg per day.

For Victoza, the dosages vary between 0.6mg, 1.2mg and 1.8mg daily. So how much you use will depend on your condition and the doctor’s recommendation. Do not take a dosage of medication from what you have read on the internet. Always listen to your doctors advice.

FDA Approvals for Saxenda and Victoza

Although we have addressed their uses, it is important to provide more details regarding what the FDA has approved them for.

Victoza: Based on FDA approval, Victoza is used to improve blood sugar or to manage it effectively and for weight loss. The FDA approved this drug for Type 2 diabetics.

Saxenda: Based on FDA approval, Saxenda is used with healthy dieting and regular exercising for the siding weight loss. It is commonly recommended for use in people with a body mass equal to or higher than 30kg/m2 and for children and anyone who is 12 years or older and weighs more than 132 lbs have a BMI equal to or higher than 27kg/m2.

Note: Saxenda is not used to control blood sugar; neither is it prescribed for those with Type 1 diabetes or children under 12 years of age. As the FDA has pointed out, Saxenda and Victoza may contain the same liraglutide agent but they are used for different purposes.

FDA Warnings

Also, note that the FDA has placed certain boxed warnings in both drugs to enable patients and doctors to make informed decisions, should they choose to use these drugs. Boxed warnings are basically notifications to show that these drugs may cause serious side effects, which may be dangerous for some patients. One of the more serious boxed warnings to be aware of is thyroid tumors.

Saxenda and Victoza may increase the risk of thyroid tumors, according to the FDA. This was discovered after they were both used in animals. So people with a medical family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma, are advised against using Saxenda or Victoza. Also, those with a rare form of multiple endocrine Type 2 neoplasia cancer are advised against usage.

Patients are advised to contact their doctor if they begin to notice any symptoms of thyroid cancer while using these medications. Common symptoms may include but are not limited to: shortness of breath, hoarseness, lumps in the neck and swallowing difficulty.

Other Warnings

Kidney problems: Or those with kidney complications, Saxenda and Victoza, may worsen it, so your doctor may want to monitor your kidney health as you take it.

Slow digestion: They both cause slow digestion, so after eating or drinking, it may take a longer time for your stomach to become empty

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: It remains unclear whether they can be used by pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.

Furthermore, some users report feeling depressed and nursing suicidal thoughts after using Saxenda. For those who experience these or any other mental condition, it is important to talk to a doctor. Using Saxenda if you experience any of these mental issues is not advisable.

Stomach issues with Saxenda and Victoza
Saxenda and Victoza may cause digestive problems. If you experience persistent side effects of any sort, please contact your healthcare professional.


Saxenda and Victoza are two medications that contain liraglutide. They are produced by the same manufacturer but perform different functions. Saxenda and Victoza have become fairly popular in the past year, as their results for weight loss have gained the attention of many.

Based on the reports published by practitioners and the feedback from Type 2 diabetes users, both medications have proven to be very effective. People with weight issues have used Saxenda to either control their weight or lose weight. Victoza has also equally been benefical. Hence, why these medications are becoming popular outside of the diabetes community.

Please note, these drugs were designed for diabetics. If you are interested in using any medication, it is essential and vital to discuss the possibility with your doctor. Do not purchase or administer any medication without the approval of your healthcare professional.