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Facts about the 'skinny jab' | Healthier Weight

The facts about the 'skinny jab'

What is the skinny jab?
Liraglutide is a drug that is injected daily. It is marketed under the brand name Saxenda and has become known as the ‘skinny jab’.

It’s an unfortunate name as it sets the expectation that people who use it will suddenly become ‘skinny’. That is not the case. Like any drug it has side effects and exclusion criteria (contraindications) that need to be fully understood and taken onto account. 

On this page we give you the facts about the skinny jab and help you decide whether it is a reasonable option for you. If you are someone who is obese (BMI over 30 – check your BMI here) it is likely that one of the established weight loss surgery procedures, gastric band, gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, will be better for you. Even a non surgical procedure like the gastric balloon is likely to be better, both in terms of cost and effectiveness. That is not to say that Saxenda (the skinny jab) doesn’t have merit. There will be people who are seeking a non surgical treatment for obesity who it may help. 

The information you need to build your understanding of Saxenda, and whether it could be a sensible option for you, can be found on this page by using the links below. We’ve tried to cover everything.


*Weight loss surgery results and benefits differ for each individual. Results cannot be guaranteed
Skinny Jab FAQs

How does it work?

Liraglutide works by suppressing a patient’s appetite. It started out as a drug that was developed to treat diabetes. It was prescribed at a low dosage for this purpose. It was later found that when the dosage was increased, to 3.0mg per day, the drug offered a weight loss benefit. Since that time trials have been completed and the weight loss results that can be expected are shown in the ‘what weigh loss can you expect’ section’ below. 

At Healthier Weight we believe that patients with a BMI above 30 will be better served by a surgical procedure or by the non surgical gastric balloon. Our team is trained on all of these procedures, plus Saxenda. If you have any questions about Saxenda or about your surgical options, please call us on 0800 313 4618 or use our enquiry form. Our team is trained to help you find your way through the options available and will be pleased to help.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for Saxenda you need to have a body mass index above 30. You are also eligible with a BMI above 27 as long as you have a weight related co-morbidity (illness/disease), such as type 2 diabetes of high blood pressure.

Patients are screened for a number of ‘contraindications’ based on their general state of health. For example, patients with a  history of kidney disease would not be prescribed the drug. There are several other contraindications and these would be explained at your face to face consultation.

Woman on scales large

How much weight might I lose?

The latest data show that in a randomised trial 92% of patients using Saxenda for a for a year were able to achieve at least some weight loss. It is important to note that for everyone in this trial the drug was supplemented by a diet and exercise programme. The weight loss results would have been lower without this. 66% of patients achieved at least 5% weight loss, 34% achieved at least 10% and 14% managed to lose at least 15% of their starting weight. 

The percentage of patients who lost 5% of their body weight through the exercise and diet programme alone (those who were given a placebo instead of Saxenda) was 27%.

The trial results also show that you will know quickly if the drug is going to work for you. If you haven’t lost weight within 3 months then you won’t at all and can stop taking it.

In the context of the weight that most obese patients need to lose these results are quite modest and a fraction of what would be achieved with a gastric band, sleeve or bypass. 

To discuss your options or book a free consultation, make an online enquiry or call 0800 313 4618 

Other FAQs

How much does it cost?

The price is in the region of £400 per month. It’s a lifelong commitment as you’ll lose the benefit when you stop taking it and the weight you have lost would normally be regained quickly. The positive news is that you will know within 3 months if you are going to be successful. If you haven’t lost any weight by that time, the trials show that you never will. It means you could stop paying after 3 months if the results weren’t as you hoped. 

If you do lose weight with it, you are committing to nearly £5000 per year. This is a similar amount to the cost of a gastric band procedure and is more than you would pay for a gastric balloon. The gastric band would deliver better short and long term weight loss than Saxenda, and the balloon would deliver better short term results.

Please use these links for price information on the gastric band and gastric balloon.

Which patients would be best suited to it?

It’s understandable that people with a BMI above 30 would prefer a non surgical solution to help them manage their weight. Saxenda is unlikely to be that solution however as the weight loss is modest. All eligible patients could expect to do a lot better with a gastric band and many would do better with a gastric balloon. It’s likely that risks associated with the band or balloon are lower than most patients imagine. It means that if you are considering Saxenda you should think carefully about these options too. They are proven over a long period of time to be both safe and effective. Certainly those with BMIs above 40 would achieve far better results with a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass than they would with Saxenda.

What happens if I stop taking it?

You’ll put the weight back on. A long term weight loss solution will require you to take Saxenda indefinitely or to have a weight loss surgery procedure instead. 

What are the risks and side effects?

The main side effect of Saxenda is that patients experience a period of nausea. This usually settles after a few weeks. There are other side effects and these would be explained at consultation before you proceed. Although the incidence rates are very low, the trial data show that patients are at an increased risk of gall bladder disease and pancreatitis.

If you have visited this page it means you are serious about finding a sustainable solution for managing your weight. We help hundreds of people every week who are weighing up their options just as you are. The best course of action will vary from patient to patient based on their own personal circumstances. Please call us on 0800 3134618 or complete our enquiry to explore all of the options available to you. .

To discuss your options or book a free consultation, make an online enquiry or call 0800 313 4618


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*Weight loss surgery results and benefits vary and are different for each individual. As such, Healthier Weight cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals.