Saxenda-vs-Ozempic for weight loss Canada

Saxenda vs Ozempic For Weight Loss: A Surgeon’s Deep Dive

Saxenda vs. Ozempic dissected by a weight loss surgeon who’s tried both. Get an expert’s insights into these weight loss medications in Canada.

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    Last Updated on May 30, 2024


    As a bariatric surgeon who’s walked the challenging path of weight loss personally, including undergoing weight loss surgery, I’ve explored the gamut of options – and yes, that includes weight loss meds like Ozempic and Saxenda.  

    If you’re digging into the Saxenda vs. Ozempic debate, you’re probably weighing your options on the weight loss front.

    In this article I’ll dissect the ins and outs of both, highlighting their similarities, differences and why, in the end, neither might be the silver bullet you’re hoping for.

    I’ll also share why I decided to have sleeve surgery myself, and why I feel it stands out as the best solution for tackling obesity for the long-term. 

    Saxenda vs. Ozempic® — A Comparison 

    Key Takeaways

    • Saxenda and Ozempic Comparison: While both Saxenda and Ozempic hail from the GLP-1 receptor agonist family and have some overlapping side effects, they vary in their dosing frequency, potency, primary usage, and long-term health effects. 
    • Not Magic Bullets: Both medications, though helpful, are often not the magic solution people hope for. They come with their own set of benefits and risks, and their efficacy is heightened when combined with a healthy diet, and lifestyle changes. 
    • Superiority of Sleeve Surgery: For those seeking substantial, sustainable, and life-transforming weight loss, weight loss surgery, including sleeve surgery, has shown to be more effective and lasting than weight loss medications. 

    Weight Loss Medication in Canada

    In Canada there is a host of weight-loss medications. But it’s essential to take a discerning view, as no medication is a silver bullet.

    Some are crafted to reduce your appetite, some prevent fat absorption, while others are not even specifically categorized as weight-loss drugs but have found off-label use in this realm. 

    A Snapshot of Weight-Loss Medications: 

    • Bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave): Primarily designed to curb your cravings.  
    • Liraglutide (Saxenda): This is a daily shot. It’s geared to help control the quantity of food you consume. 
    • Orlistat (Xenical): The modus operandi of Orlistat is inhibiting the absorption of fats.  
    • Semaglutide (Ozempic): Not strictly a weight-loss medication, Ozempic is sometimes prescribed off-label for those seeking weight reduction. 

    Purpose Behind Prescribing Weight-Loss Medicines: 

    If you’re overweight or obese, and simultaneously juggling other health issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor might point you in the direction of these medicines.

    These drugs are an adjunct to the practices of a balanced diet and regular physical activity. 

    See also  What I want you to know about our patients.

    Side Effects – A Reality Check: 

    No drug is free from side effects. Common ones include nausea, headaches, heartburn, indigestion, vomiting, and constipation.

    For instance, both Contrave and Saxenda users have reported nausea.  

    The data suggests that the many patients often discontinue these weight-loss medications due to side effects, cost and weight loss plateaus.  

    In a Nutshell:

    For many people, Medication alone is often not the  holistic solution that they were looking for.  It can also come with costs – both financial and side effects.  

    If you’re looking to lose a life-changing amount of weight and keep that weight off, it might be time to look into weight loss surgery like sleeve surgery

    Saxenda For Weight Loss

    What is Saxenda? 

    Saxenda, or its generic name Liraglutide, is a prescription weight-loss drug in Canada.  

    Saxenda (liraglutide) is primarily approved for weight management in adults and some pediatric patients aged 12 and older who have a certain initial body weight and suffer from weight-related conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or dyslipidemia. It’s used alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

    How It Works: 

    Liraglutide (in Saxenda) mirrors a naturally occurring hormone in our gut called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1).

    When we eat, this hormone is released, signaling our brain about fullness and ensuring appropriate insulin production.

    By mimicking this hormone, Saxenda amplifies feelings of fullness, making one eat less, which, when coupled with a healthy lifestyle, can lead to weight loss. 

    Personal Insights:  

    Being on Saxenda is a bit like having an internal regulator. When I took it, I felt the hunger pangs somewhat dimming.

    But remember, it’s not like flipping an off-switch. Hunger doesn’t vanish, but the edge is taken off.

    The incessant need to snack or indulge in larger portions becomes a bit easier to manage.

    It’s like having a backseat driver telling you to slow down at the food buffet.

    Unfortunately, these effects diminished for me over time. 

    Ozempic For Weight Loss

    What is Ozempic? 

    Ozempic, with the generic name Semaglutide, is primarily designed to treat type 2 diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. However, its off-label use for weight loss has caught significant attention. 

    It can improve blood sugar levels alongside diet and exercise. However, weight loss can be a beneficial side effect due to its mechanism of action. It’s worth noting that semaglutide is also marketed under the name Wegovy for weight management, specifically.

    How It Works: 

    Ozempic belongs to a class of medications known as GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) receptor agonists. Its job is twofold:

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    First, it amplifies the amount of insulin released post-meal, ensuring sugars in the blood are adequately used.

    Second, it mimics a gastrointestinal hormone, signaling the body about fullness and digestion.

    This double-action not only helps in managing diabetes but also impacts appetite, making users consume fewer calories by also slowing down gastric emptying 

    Personal Insights:  

    When I’ve taken Ozempic, the feeling wasn’t that of a drastic appetite annihilation. Instead, the urge to eat, especially after being full, was subtly suppressed.

    However, it’s critical to clarify that the lure of food doesn’t vanish into thin air. Even though the constant ‘need’ to eat reduces, there’s still a lingering ‘want’.

    It’s like having your car’s accelerator slightly jammed – you can still speed, but it’s going to take a bit more effort. The effects wane with time. 

    Saxenda vs. Ozempic For Weight Loss: A comprehensive comparison  

    At first glance, Saxenda and Ozempic might seem like twins in the world of weight loss medications.

    They both belong to the GLP-1 receptor agonist family, and they’ve both been lauded for their efficacy in promoting weight loss.  

    But dig a little deeper, and differences emerge. 

    Common Side Effects:

    Both Saxenda and Ozempic have overlapping side effects such as:

    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Headache
    • Vomiting 

    However, the severity and frequency of these side effects can vary among users. While some side effects are mere annoyances, others can be more serious.

    For example, Ozempic has been associated with an elevated risk of pancreatitis, while Saxenda can increase the likelihood of hypoglycemia.

    It’s paramount to promptly report any side effects and strictly follow the guidance of a healthcare provider. 

    Saxenda vs. Ozempic Key Differences:

    While Saxenda is approved for chronic weight management,  Ozempic is approved for Type 2 diabetes

    • Dosing Frequency: Saxenda is administered once daily, while Ozempic is a weekly affair.
    • Active Ingredient: Saxenda has liraglutide, and Ozempic boasts semaglutide.
    • Potency: Ozempic, being a more potent GLP-1 receptor agonist, exhibits a stronger effect on appetite regulation than Saxenda.
    • Administration: Both are self-injected, but the dosing specifics might differ. 

    In the end, neither of these medications should be perceived as magic bullets. They are designed for use alongside sustainable lifestyle changes.  

    Also read – Ozempic vs. Contrave Comparision

    Why do some people prefer to use saxenda over Ozempic?

    Both medications work by mimicking the action of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar and appetite. However, the difference in formulation might lead to a preference for one over the other due to individual responses or the perceived effectiveness in managing either blood sugar or weight, or both.

    See also  Is Ozempic Covered by OHIP - Insurance Coverage & Financial Options

    Availability, insurance coverage, and cost can also play a significant role in choosing between Saxenda and Ozempic. Depending on the patient’s health insurance plan, one medication might be more financially accessible than the other.

    The choice might also depend on the individual’s health goals (e.g., weight loss versus blood sugar control) and their medical history.

    For someone primarily focused on weight management without type 2 diabetes, Saxenda might be the preferred option.

    Conversely, Ozempic might be chosen by patients who are primarily looking to manage their type 2 diabetes but also benefit from the weight loss side effect.

    Saxenda vs. Ozempic: In conclusion:

    When weighing the options between Saxenda and Ozempic, it’s essential to dive deep into their makeup, effects, and potential outcomes. 

    Both medications, albeit with their respective merits, primarily operate by influencing appetite and have shown promising results in the weight loss realm.  

    However, they come with their own sets of side effects, and their results might not be the long-term solution many seek.  

    For those aiming to achieve transformative and sustained weight loss, the compass often points beyond temporary medicinal aids.

    Consider looking into weight loss surgery, like sleeve surgery, which has consistently proven to be a more impactful and lasting approach. 

    If you’re thinking about sleeve surgery, here’s some next steps to take:

    Please note that the information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance regarding weight loss surgery.

    If you are considering sleeve surgery you can book a consultation with our weight loss clinic here: Contact us


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    As one of the leading weight loss surgeons in Canada, Dr Gmora has gained a reputation for being a master of his surgical craft and producing outstanding weight loss results.