“The same drug, with a different trade name [Victoza] – we have been using for type 2 diabetes for more than ten years,” he adds. “What we found was that those patients started to lose weight. Then the drug company did a trial using a bigger dose of the same medication, liraglutide, and so that’s how Saxenda came into being. It’s a higher dose of 3 milligrams.”
So, Saxenda can also be hugely helpful to those suffering with diabetes, too, as well as helping with appetite control. But though the weight loss treatment has made headlines thanks to its launch on the NHS, Raj warns that it is still incredibly difficult to get hold of free of charge for most patients.
“There’s a lot of restrictions. As well as meeting the NHS guidelines, you’ve often got to be in a system called the Tier 3 Weight Management Service, which is run by a consultant. There’s a lot of loopholes,” he says. It’s no surprise that so many are looking to buy it online.
“I lost two stone in a month”
GLAMOUR spoke to a number of women who have taken or are taking Saxenda – and the experiences varied widely. 26-year-old photographer Lauren tried Saxenda to aid her on her weight loss journey in January 2022, but stopped within two months due to experiencing skin reactions to the injections. “I was very sick on it. That was one of the main side effects anyway,” she says, adding that her skin came out in rashes, too.
“Every needle site had a big ring around it… like a bug bite. Then, over the course of three days, it would just grow, and grow, and grow. And of course, I was injecting every day. They were getting really sore, itchy and hot, like allergic reactions, similar to the reactions I get to insect bites.
“I decided to stop using it, but afterwards I was really, really poorly. For about a week, with sickness and diarrhoea and a temperature of 38.”
Lauren adds that aside from the side effects, she was happy with the results from the injections – which she used alongside a fitness routine of personal training and dance classes. “I was so gutted, because it really worked. I lost two stone in a month. It’s the first thing that’s ever really helped me, and it really did suppress my appetite.”
But as for buying the injections online, she did reveal a worrying detail. “I’ve got a binge-eating disorder, and I have struggled with bulimia and laxative abuse in the past.
“I specifically remember when I was filling it out the first time, it said, ‘Do you have an eating disorder? Yes or no.’ Initially, I put yes. Then, it came up with big red writing saying, ‘you can’t have it if you’ve got an eating disorder.’ So, I just clicked ‘no.'”
“I lied. Then, obviously, I got it, and I will say, it did start bringing in my bad habits again… because it makes you feel sick. It makes you want to be sick because of the medication. So, if you’ve already got a predisposition to unhealthy binging and purging, it’s not ideal.”
“It’s only a tool, rather than a solution”
31-year-old Robyn, who is a nurse, has been using Saxenda for around a year and is hoping to lose four stone.