I usually don't prominently mention the brand names of drugs, but in this case there's a reason why: Saxenda and Victoza are exactly the same thing: a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist called liraglutide.
Many folks with diabetes probably have heard of liraglutide under the brand name Victoza: it's the stuff that Paula Deen pitched for her own T2D a while ago. It's been a moderate success for the manufacturer, although newer once-weekly GLP-1 agonists have stolen its thunder (or decreased the likelihood that physicians will prescribe it).
One of the favorable "side effects" of the GLP-1 agonist drugs is the likelihood of weight loss, although the Victoza label doesn't mention weight loss amongst the common side effects. But drug companies never fail to exploit side effects (remember, Rogaine wasn't originally developed as a hair restorative product). And a side effect of weight loss is a lovely one for PWD -- especially for obese T2D folks.
So the manufacturer did a bunch of trials, and persuaded the FDA and its Endocrine Advisory Committee to approve using liraglutide as a weight-loss drug. (The AdCom vote for approval was 14 in favor, 1 opposed, no abstentions; the FDA announced its approval this past week, "as a treatment option for chronic weight management in addition to a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity. The drug is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obesity) or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) who have at least one weight-related condition such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia)."
Several thoughts to chew upon:
1) The manufacturer christened the version of liraglutide for weight loss with a new name: Saxenda. Other companies have played the same deceptive trick: Wellbutrin (for depression) was renamed Zyban (for smoking cessation).
Will liraglutide/Saxenda be a successful product for weight loss? I really can't hazard a guess. It requires daily injections, which will freak out some obesity patients. It has the potential for some pretty nasty side effects (but then, so does obesity). It will inevitably be a frequent cause of hypoglycemia in obese diabetes patients, especially if they and their physicians ignore the label's advice. But it's another choice amongst others that have tried and failed to succeed in a huge market (pun intended).