Brand Name (Generic Name)
Victoza (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection)
What is Victoza?
Victoza (liraglutide) is a member of the GLP-1 agonist family of medicines. It is the second member of its family to be marketed in the US and is given as a once daily injection to treat type 2 diabetes in adults along with diet and exercise. Victoza works by supporting system of hormones in the gut called the incretin system. These gut hormones are able to detect rises in blood sugar due to food intake and they go to work telling the pancreas to squirt out insulin. At the same time they tell the liver NOT to release stored glucose. They act sort of like a thermostat in that when the blood sugar goes up they turn up the insulin and when it goes down they turn down the insulin. In a person with type 2 diabetes this incretin system does not function properly and needs some help. Victoza has the following actions in the body:
• Stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin when the blood sugar goes up due to food intake.
• Keeps the pancreas from telling the liver to squirt out stored glucose after a meal when it is not needed.
• Slows the stomach emptying time. Having type 2 diabetes seems to make the food clear the stomach quicker than normal which in turn causes a rapid spike in blood sugar. The rapid spike is hard for the body to handle but a slower entry of the sugar into the system is easier to handle.
• Stimulates the satiety center in the brain. The satiety center or the "I've had enough to eat" center in the brain tells you that are ready to push away from the plate of food.
• Causes weight loss. Many people will lose weight when they take these medicines and that in turn usually translates to better blood sugar control.
Who can use Victoza?
Selected adults with type 2 diabetes can use Victoza. You will probably have tried diet and exercise and one or more other diabetes medicines before you take Victoza. Victoza can be used in combination with some of the other diabetes medicines.
Who should not use Victoza?
• People with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
• Pregnant women
• Individuals who are breast-feeding
• Individuals with a history of thyroid cancer or pancreatitis
• People with severe kidney problems
• People with a GI disease called gastroparesis
Victoza is very effective in lowering both fasting and after meal glucose levels. When used alone Victoza is not likely to cause severe low blood sugar. It is also possible that weight loss may occur over time and this is a benefit for people with type 2 diabetes. The once daily dosage and preloaded pen device makes it more convenient to take.
It must be given by injection. Victoza may cause nausea, especially during the first few weeks but that usually gets better and goes away over time.
What dosage can I take and how often/when should I take it?
Victoza is usually started at a dose of .6 mg once a day for the first week of use. After that, it is usually increased to 1.2 mg and can be brought up to 1.8 mg if necessary. It is given once daily with or without food and it does not have to be given at the same time each day. It can be injected just under the skin in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm and the pen device makes dialing in the proper dose a simple matter.
What are possible side effects?
• Injection site redness
What else should you know about Victoza before you start?
There are warnings about certain types of cancer including thyroid cancer that appeared in animals during testing of Victoza. There are also warnings about possible pancreatitis issues. Please consult the accompanying FDA approved Medication Guide for further information.
Reviewed by James A. Bennett 5/14
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