Saxenda vs. Victoza

Authored by The Rx Advocates, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS


Saxenda and Victoza are two different drugs prescribed for different reasons, although they contain the same active ingredient, liraglutide.

Saxenda is a weight loss drug prescribed to patients who need to lose weight for medical reasons.

Victoza is a diabetes drug prescribed to patients with type two diabetes to help them manage their blood sugar levels.

Both medications may be beneficial for patients, depending on their individual needs. The question is, which one is right for you?

Learn more about the similarities and differences between the two drugs here and talk with your doctor if you are trying to decide between Saxenda and Victoza.

About Saxenda

Saxenda is a brand-name drug that is used to aid in weight loss.

It is typically prescribed to overweight or obese patients who need to lose weight for medical reasons.

The drug is administered daily, regulating insulin levels and decreasing appetite.

Saxenda works for weight loss as it causes the stomach to empty slower. This causes feelings of fullness and reduces the consumption of excess calories.

Saxenda should be combined with a healthy diet and exercise to be effective.

Although both medications’ ingredients are similar, Saxenda is not interchangeable with Victoza. Saxenda is a weight loss drug not approved for or intended to treat type 2 diabetes.

About Victoza

Victoza is a brand-name medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes.

It is administered once daily and helps patients with type 2 diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels.

Victoza works by encouraging the pancreas to release insulin to combat glucose in the blood. Victoza will also reduce the amount of glucagon in the blood so there is less work for the body to do to regulate glucose.

Victoza will also slow digestion causing food to stay in the stomach longer, promoting feelings of fullness. This can decrease the patient’s desire to eat frequently, which can further help reduce glucose in the blood.

This medication is not used to treat type 1 diabetes.

Similarities of Saxenda and Victoza


Saxenda and Victoza both contain liraglutide.

Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist. This type of drug works by increasing insulin levels and decreasing appetite.


Saxenda and Victoza are packaged and administered similarly.

They both come as liquid injections in pre-filled pens. The patient administers the shots to themselves under the skin once per day.

Weight Loss

Both medications may aid in weight loss. However, Saxenda is prescribed with the intent to cause weight loss and is administered at a higher dose.

Victoza is prescribed to diabetic patients to help moderate blood-sugar levels. It may also aid in weight loss but that is a side effect, not the prescribed intent.

No Generic Available

Both Saxenda and Victoza are brand-name drugs with no generic version available.

Brand-name drugs are usually more expensive than generic ones. However, financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Depending on your dose and how much your insurance covers, you may have to pay some money out of pocket for your prescription.

Side Effects

Because both drugs contain the same active ingredient, they cause similar side effects.

Some common side effects that can occur with both Saxenda and Victoza are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Injection site pain, redness, or itching

Some serious possible side effects can occur using either drug, and these include:

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney problems
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Allergic reactions

If you are taking either Saxenda or Victoza and you experience any negative reactions, please talk with your medical doctor immediately. You may need to take a different medication.

Risk of Thyroid Tumors

The side effects of the drugs vary because the dosage is different. However, both drugs contain a boxed warning from the FDA about thyroid tumors.

Because both drugs contain the active ingredient liraglutide, they both have the risk of thyroid tumors.

In animal studies, thyroid tumors have been noted as a side effect of both drugs. There are no studies that confirm that this risk occurs in humans. However, the warning is still applicable.

Your doctor should discuss the potential side effects and risks of every drug you use and not prescribe any drug if the risks outweigh the benefits.

Differences Between Saxenda and Victoza


Although the drugs both contain liraglutide, they are used to treat different conditions and should never be substituted for each other. The drugs should also not be prescribed at the same time.

Saxenda is used for weight loss in overweight or obese patients.

Victoza is used to treat type 2 diabetes.

If you believe Saxenda or Victoza could help you with your condition, discuss using it with your doctor.


The drugs are administered the same way via injection under the skin. However, the dosage is different.

Saxenda starts with a small dose of 0.6 mg a day at first and then gradually builds to the full dose over eight weeks. The maintenance dose of Saxenda is 3 mg a day.

Victoza starts similarly with a dose of 0.6 mg a day. After a week, the dose is increased to 1.2 mg a day, and if more is needed to get the desired effect, the patient can take as much as 1.8 mg a day. That is the maximum dose.

Side Effects

Some side effects are unique to each drug.

Side effects specific to Saxenda include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased heart rate

Side effects specific to Victoza include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Back pain

Using Saxenda vs. Victoza

Although Saxenda and Victoza use the same active ingredient, these drugs are not interchangeable and are not meant to be taken simultaneously.

If you are interested in one of these prescriptions and believe it can help you, talk to your doctor about its use.

Worried About Affording Your Prescription?

Both Saxenda and Victoza are name-brand prescription drugs with no generic version available. Because of this, the out-of-pocket cost may be higher than you can afford to pay monthly.

The Rx Advocates specializes in making patients’ monthly prescription costs affordable. We work directly with patient assistance programs to bring down the cost of brand-name prescription medications for our patients.

You may not have realized that you can afford prescription medication assistance. But if you qualify for our program, you can save substantially each month on needed medications. At The Rx Advocates, we frequently work with patients who have been prescribed Victoza and can assist you as well.

Contact us today to see how we can help you!

  1. Saxenda. Saxenda liraglutide injection 3mg. 2022. Available at
  2. Healthline. What Are GLP-1 Receptor Agonists and How Do They Treat Type 2 Diabetes? 2020. Available at
  3. Medical News Today. Saxenda vs. Victoza. 2021. Available at
  4. Saxenda. 2022. Available at
  5. Victoza. 2021. Available at
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