Both Wegovy and Saxenda are weight loss injections registered for weight loss in people that are overweight or obese. They are even made by the exact same company, Novo Nordisk, so what’s the difference? While they have many similarities, the differences are in the active ingredient, the latest clinical evidence for effectiveness and dosing.

The Active Ingredients & Effectiveness

Wegovy contains semaglutide while Saxenda contains liraglutide. Both medicines contain a medicine belonging to the same family of medicines known as GLP-1 agonists. While these active ingredients work in a very similar way, regulating and reducing appetite, they can have different results for effectiveness shown in clinical trials.

Long term clinical trials both over 12 months have shown that both medicines are highly effective for chronic weight management when paired with diet and exercise. *Please note there is a 12-week difference in the treatment period between these trials which may make up a part of the difference in results.

Wegovy Effectiveness

Wegovy Effectiveness Guide



Source: Wegovy Efficacy and safety results step 1

Saxenda Effectiveness

Source: Saxenda in weight management randomized controlled trial

A large reason why Novo Nordisk decided to create a direct competitor to its own medicine was due to the improved results they saw in their trials and the easier dosing schedule with Wegovy.


Perhaps one of the biggest differences between Wegovy and Saxenda is the difference in dosing. Wegovy is a once-weekly injection, while Saxenda is a once-daily injection. This is because semaglutide (Wegovy) stays active in the body for 7 days, whereas liraglutide (Saxenda) stays for just 24 hours.

As the fear of needles is common, it was a big reason for people to avoid injection weight loss medications. By reducing the need for injection to once weekly, Wegovy becomes a much easier to use and less invasive way to assist with weight loss.

Wegovy and Saxenda Similarities

Wegovy and Saxenda both contain GLP-1 agonists from the same medicine family. GLP-1 is a hormone that works to reduce body weight in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity by acting on the areas of the brain that regulate appetite. This causes you to feel less hungry and eat less, greatly assisting your weight loss.

Both medicines are dosed using an easy to use injection pen device. The needles range in size from 4mm to 8mm and are designed to be as comfortable as possible.

Both medicines are started on a low dose and increased to a maintenance dose of 2.4 mg for Wegovy and 3 mg for Saxenda. This helps reduce the side effects of each treatment as the majority of side effects are experienced while getting up to the maintenance dose.

The average weight loss that is expected with both treatments after 16 weeks is at least 5% of your body weight. If you have not lost 5% body weight after 16 weeks, talk to a doctor for medical advice.

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Wegovy vs Saxenda - What's the difference?

Both Wegovy and Saxenda are highly effective weight loss injections however the current data we have about Wegovy would suggest that it is a direct improvement to Saxenda and will be the preferred weight loss injection going forward. Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer, have said that they aim to supplant Saxenda with Wegovy entirely – though patients who cannot make the switch may be able to get access to Saxenda stock for a while after the launch.