Can Liraglutide Be Given Orally for Weight Loss?


Mar 15, 2024

Everything you need to know about liraglutide for weight loss, including if you can take it orally.

Hand holding pill
Hand holding pill
Hand holding pill

So you want to lose weight and you keep hearing about GLP-1 medications. These revolutionary weight loss medications are taking the world by storm for their ability to suppress your appetite and make you feel full faster. In your search through the different types, no doubt you’ve run across Liraglutide. 

Most of these weight loss medications require the person or their healthcare provider to administer an injection. However, some people don’t like getting injections. On the other hand, it may be easier for some to remember to take another pill with their other oral medications.

A bottle of Liraglutide medication

So it’s only natural to wonder: Can Liraglutide be taken orally for weight loss? And how can you get it? We’ll answer those questions and more in this article so you can decide if you’re interested in Liraglutide for your weight loss journey.

A Closer Look at Liraglutide

Also known by the brand names Saxenda® or Victoza®, Liraglutide is an FDA-approved glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist used to improve blood sugar control in adults with Type 2 Diabetes (also known as Diabetes Mellitus).¹ It’s also designed to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events — such as heart disease or heart attacks — in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

It’s also been proven to cause significant weight loss. However, it’s meant to be used together with a healthy, balanced diet and exercise.²

Liraglutide is also good for chronic bodyweight management if you’re obese or overweight with at least one body weight-related condition, such as:³

  • High blood pressure

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

  • Dyslipidemia

How It Works

As part of the class of GLP-1 receptor agonists, Liraglutide works by binding to your body’s GLP-1 receptor, enhancing insulin secretion to help regulate blood sugar levels.⁴ It also slows down gastric emptying, which is when your stomach pushes your digested food into the small intestine. As a result, it reduces your appetite by making you feel full. These functions help keep your blood sugar levels regulated, control your appetite, and reduce calorie intake.

Just like any other weight management medication, Liraglutide may not be enough to help you lose weight on its own. Combining it with regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet can help you increase your chances of success.⁴

Who It’s For

Liraglutide is designed to treat high blood sugar in people with Type 2 Diabetes who also want to lose weight. It’s also used to treat obesity or help an overweight person with body weight-related comorbidity lose weight.

A smiling woman exercising

However, it may not be suitable for everybody. Your clinician will assess your situation to see if you’re a good candidate for Liraglutide treatment.


While Liraglutide can help with these associated medical conditions, there are some contraindications to treatment. For example, Liraglutide isn’t meant for treatment of Type 1 Diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. It’s also not meant to be used if you have inadequate glycemic control even with diet and exercise.¹

Furthermore, you shouldn’t take Liraglutide if you or your family have a history of thyroid cancer or endocrine disorders. You also shouldn’t take it if you have a hypersensitive allergic reaction to Liraglutide or any of its components or if you have severe renal dysfunction.⁴

Additional Benefits

Liraglutide improves your health in various ways besides regulating blood sugar levels and helping you lose weight. It can cause:⁵

  • Improved biosynthesis, proliferation of beta cells (cells of the pancreas that produce insulin), neuroprotection, and insulin sensitivity

  • Lowered appetite and gastric emptying

  • Reduced beta cell apoptosis and glucose production

As a GLP-1 agonist, it can also reduce systolic blood pressure, improve cardioprotection and heart condition in people with heart failure or ischemic cardiac injury, and improve dyslipidemia.⁶ This means it can help lower the risk of heart attacks and other heart conditions. Other benefits include increased glucose uptake in the muscles, increased satiety, and reduction of hemoglobin A1C.⁴

Potential Side Effects

Liraglutide also has its own adverse effects and risks. Common side effects include:⁷

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Increased heart rate, liver enzyme levels, and gastrointestinal symptoms

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Biliary disease

  • A higher risk of acute pancreatitis and acute renal impairment

Other potential risks include thyroid cancer, a higher risk of breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer.⁷

A breakdown of Liraglutide diagram

How Much It Costs

Weight management therapy with Liraglutide averages over $1,000 per month without insurance coverage.⁸ Saxenda® is listed at $1,349.02.⁹ On the other hand, Victoza® is listed at $744.54 for a 2-pack of 0.6 mg or 1.2 mg pens and $1,116.81 for a 3-pack of 1.8 mg pens.¹⁰

The list price of a medication is how much it costs before any rebates or discounts. Therefore, the price may decrease if you have insurance coverage. In those cases, how much you pay depends on your carrier’s coverage terms.

Henry Meds believes in making weight loss medication affordable for all. With Henry Meds, you can get a compounded version of Liraglutide sent straight to your door for only $297 per month.

If you’re interested in Liraglutide for weight loss, speak to a provider on the Henry Meds platform today to start your weight management journey!

How Liraglutide Is Administered

Liraglutide can be extremely effective for treating Type 2 Diabetes and weight management, but only if it’s taken correctly. Let’s take a look at the administration method and dosages to get the most out of treatment.

Administration Method

Can Liraglutide be administered orally? The short answer is no. Liraglutide can only be delivered as a subcutaneous injection, which means you have to use a needle to insert it under the skin.⁸

Liraglutide comes in a vial and syringe. You can administer it yourself or have your healthcare provider do it for you. You should take it once a day at any time of the day on its own. You shouldn’t take it with meals.¹¹


Liraglutide is administered in a vial and syringe in daily doses up to 3 mg.

Your healthcare provider will work with you to choose the best starting dose and dose progression based on your personal health history, family history, and unique needs. You’ll also have regular follow-up appointments to track your progress and make dose adjustments as needed.

How to Get Liraglutide

Now that we’ve covered everything about liraglutide, the next question is how to get it. Having this information is important so you can make an informed decision and get your medication from a legally acceptable source.

Addressing the Current National Shortage

Unfortunately, the FDA declared a national shortage of the liraglutide injection in July 2023.¹²

Henry Meds utilizes facilities that are licensed by the FDA and the state Boards of Pharmacy to produce compounded medications, which can step in to fill the gap. These pharmacies can legally fill prescriptions for compounded forms of prescription drugs that are under a nationally declared shortage, like Liraglutide.¹³

A smiling weight management doctor

Answering Common Liraglutide Questions

What BMI is Liraglutide for Weight Loss?

When taking Saxenda®, Liraglutide should be used for chronic weight management if you’re obese with a body mass of ≥30kg/m2. It should also be used if you’re overweight with a body mass of ≥27kg/m2 and at least one bodyweight-related comorbidity, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or dyslipidemia.³

Which Is Better for Weight Loss, Liraglutide or Semaglutide?

In recent scientific evaluations, it was shown that Semaglutide results in a weight loss of 12.4%, while liraglutide results in a weight loss of 5.4% over the same period.¹⁴ However, Semaglutide does have more frequent and severe negative side effects than liraglutide.¹⁵ Therefore, it’s best to weigh the benefits and potential risks of each — and consult with your healthcare provider — to determine which medication is best suited to you.

How Fast Is Weight Loss on Liraglutide?

People taking Liraglutide can see results as fast as 45 days when combined with a low-calorie diet and mild exercise.¹⁶

What Is an Alternative to Liraglutide?

There are various alternatives to Liraglutide, including Tirzepatide, Semaglutide, and Dulaglutide. Not all are created equal, so it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider to find the best option for you. 

Get Compounded Liraglutide Easily with Henry Meds 

While you can’t take Liraglutide orally, it’s an excellent solution for anyone with Type 2 Diabetes who wants to lose weight and get their blood sugar under control. When combined with a proper diet and regular exercise, this GLP-1 medication can lead to life-changing weight loss and improve your overall health.

Here at Henry Meds, we believe that everyone should be able to get the care they need at an affordable price. That’s why we offer free consultations through our platform to help you see which compounded GLP-1 medication is best for you. Schedule yours today!

The process is simple: Schedule a telehealth visit with your provider, complete your online medical history form, attend your appointment, and get your prescription shipped straight to your mailbox if approved. No insurance required, no hassle — just judgment-free weight loss treatment for a happier, healthier you.

To help you trust the information we provide, every article written by Henry relies on peer-reviewed studies and medically-reviewed facts. We ensure that data, ideas, and figures cited are reliable, current, and accurate. Our team of medical reviewers aims to help you cut through the noise with clear and authoritative primary and secondary sources.

Nothing in this article is intended to be prescriptive or medical advice. Talk to your doctor before starting a new diet and exercise plan. The information presented is about our medically supervised weight management programs and is not an advertisement for a specific drug.


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  2. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2021). FDA approves weight management drug for patients aged 12 and older. FDA.

  3. Scott L. J. (2015). Liraglutide: a review of its use in the management of obesity. Drugs, 75(8), 899–910.

  4. Collins, L. & Costello, R.A. Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists. [Updated 2023 Jan 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

  5. Mehta, A., Marso, S. P., & Neeland, I. J. (2017). Liraglutide for weight management: a critical review of the evidence. Obesity science & practice, 3(1), 3–14.

  6. Tilinca, M. C., Tiuca, R. A., Burlacu, A., Varga, A. (2021). A 2021 Update on the Use of Liraglutide in the Modern Treatment of ‘Diabesity’: A Narrative Review. Medicina 2021, 57, 669.

  7. Seo Y. G. (2021). Side Effects Associated with Liraglutide Treatment for Obesity as Well as Diabetes. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 30(1), 12–19.

  8. Nuffer, W. A., & Trujillo, J. M. (2015). Liraglutide: A New Option for the Treatment of Obesity. Pharmacotherapy, 35(10), 926–934.

  9. Novo Nordisk. Saxenda® (Liraglutide) Injection 3mg List Price & Insurance Coverage Explained | NovoCare®. NovoCare. (n.d.).

  10. Novo Nordisk. Victoza® Pricing. NovoPricing. (n.d.).

  11. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017). HIGHLIGHTS of PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: Victoza. FDA. (n.d.).

  12. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2023). FDA Drug Shortages. FDA. 

  13. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2022). Compounding and the FDA: Questions and Answers. FDA.

  14. Azuri, J., Hammerman, A., Aboalhasan, E., Sluckis, B., & Arbel, R. (2023). Liraglutide versus semaglutide for weight reduction-a cost needed to treat analysis. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 31(6), 1510–1513.

  15. Xie, Z., Yang, S., Deng, W., Li, J., & Chen, J. (2022). Efficacy and Safety of Liraglutide and Semaglutide on Weight Loss in People with Obesity or Overweight: A Systematic Review. Clinical epidemiology, 14, 1463–1476.

  16. Almarshad F. (2019). Short-term monotherapy with Liraglutide for weight management: A case study. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 8(5), 1804–1806.

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