Victoza

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Victoza (liraglutide) is an injectable medication used to help manage blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes. Note that this product requires refrigeration.

Victoza is an interesting treatment; it is a Recombinant DNA (rDNA) origin medication, based on molecules developed in a laboratory by recombining genetic materials in new ways. In technical terms it is a derivative of the metabolic hormone human incretin glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that acts as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. In simpler terms, Victoza binds to receptors which increase production of insulin in the pancreas, while inhibiting production of the competing hormone glucagon.

This medication is generally prescribed only to patients who have demonstrated a commitment to adopting lifestyle changes. Victoza helps reduce the need for insulin therapy and promotes natural insulin production while patients continue to improve overall health, until medications are no longer needed at all.

In the interim, lowering blood glucose can slow or halt progression of diabetic symptoms, resulting in improved quality of life and preventing catastrophic complications.

The active ingredient in this medication, liraglutide, is also marketed as a weight-loss drug under the brand name Saxenda. For more information on this application please see our liraglutide page.

How to Take Victoza

Victoza is delivered via subcutaneous injection; the product comes in injection pens for easy and convenient administration. Each pen contains multiple doses and can be adjusted to deliver doses of 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, or 1.8 mg. Tips for the pens are also included; tips have very thin, fine needles for virtually painless administration.

General administration guidelines are as follows:

  • Inspect the solution in the pen prior to each use and only use if clear and free of particulates.
  • Administer to clean, dry skin on the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm.
  • Do not administer at the exact same site as an insulin injection.
  • Injections should be administered once per day.
  • Most patients are started on 0.6 mg for one week.
  • After one week, if no adverse effects develop, dosage may increase to 1.2 mg per day.
  • After another week, assuming no adverse effects, dosage may increase to 1.8 mg per day.
  • Do not exceed 1.8 mg per day.
  • If treatment is stopped for 3 or more days, restart treatment at 0.6 mg.
  • Always use a new needle for each injection to prevent contamination or infection.

Blood glucose should be monitored carefully at the start of treatment and following any dosage adjustments, especially if other diabetic medications are being taken.

Dosage of Victoza is largely dependent upon the preexisting level of kidney function; kidney function should be evaluated prior to starting treatment and regularly for the duration of treatment. A physician is best prepared to properly evaluate kidney function with appropriate tests such as Blood Urea Nitrogen and Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate.

Regular doctor checkups will also permit screening for other potentially-developing side effects.

Potential Complications

Since Victoza lowers blood glucose levels, symptoms of low blood glucose can result. Victoza is among the less-likely medications to cause dangerously low drops in blood glucose, however; while such incidence resulting from the use of sulfonuric drugs is about 25%, the incidence with Victoza is only about 5%. This risk is considerably increased if other blood glucose-lowering medications are being taken, however; patients should be alert for symptoms of hypoglycemia and be prepared to handle it should it arise.

The most common side effects associated with this medication are scratchy nose or throat and mild respiratory symptoms comparable to those experienced with the common cold.

Because Victoza causes an increase in stomach emptying time, those who already have issues with delayed gastric emptying should consider alternate therapies.

Studies have shown a risk of thyroid C-cell tumors in rats given Victoza. No causal relationship in humans has been established; it is unknown if this is a risk, but regular screenings for abnormalities are advisable.

There is also a slight association with pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, while taking Victoza. This, too, can be caught and handled early with regular checkups.

As mentioned above, Victoza causes a delay in stomach emptying. This may cause increased absorption of other medications administered by mouth. Check with a doctor or pharmacist about taking other medications along with Victoza.

Victoza

6mg/ml liraglutide  Buy Victoza 3 Pens - $385.17
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

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