What is Victoza (liraglutide)
Victoza (liraglutide) is an injectable medication used in combination with diet and exercise to reduce blood sugar in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. By acting like human GLP-1 hormone (incretin hormone), it stimulates insulin secretion by the pancreas, slows the absorption of sugar from the gut and reduces appetite by delaying movement of food through the gut. Victoza is not recommended as a first line therapy for type II diabetes and should not be given to patients with type I diabetes, or diabetic ketoacidosis.
There is evidence that weight loss occurs in obese patients who are taking Victoza. However, it is currently not approved for weight loss or management of obesity. Patients exploring the use of Victoza purely for weight loss should fully understand the risks and benefits of Victoza.
How does Victoza cause weight loss
Victoza acts like human GLP-1 hormone. Its effects are on the gut and the brain, where several GLP-1 receptors are located. It suppresses appetite, decreases the absorption of sugar from the gut, and delays movement of food through the gut. Victoza causes patients to feel fuller for a longer time. Victoza’s role in weight management is dose-dependent, ranging from 1.2 mg to 3.0 mg per day (that’s higher than the recommended approval dose for the treatment of type 2 diabetes).
Victoza study in weight management in non-diabetic obese patients
Obesity Development Program-SCALE study
Weight Loss in Victoza Obesity Study (SCALE Study)
Results from the study:
What are the possible side effects of Victoza
Common: headaches, nausea, diarrhea
Serious: Pancreatitis and thyroid tumor
Do not start Victoza if you have…
Benefit versus risk associated with Victoza
The use of Victoza for promoting weight loss is an ongoing research and clinical data and efficacy are not yet established. It is highly recommended that patients discuss the risk/benefit associated with Victoza with their doctor before starting the medication.
Victoza is beneficial for promoting weight loss in patients who are:
Diagnosed Type II diabetes + Obese
Diagnosed Type II diabetes + Overweight
Diagnosed Type II diabetes + uncontrolled blood sugar levels
FDA approval has been granted for the above 3 population since efficacy has been proven with the management of blood sugar levels in type II diabetes patients.
Victoza is being studied for patients who are:
Non-diabetic + Obese
Non-diabetic + Overweight
Victoza has not been approved by the FDA for weight management in patients without Type II diabetes. Therefore, it is important that patients weigh side effects associated with Victoza such as higher frequency of nausea and vomiting, episodes of psychiatric disorders, inflammation of the pancreas, and medullary thyroid cancer against the potential benefit for weight loss.
Cost information plus Insurance coverage options
Should Victoza be used for weight loss in individuals without diabetes
Arne Strup et al. Effects of liraglutide in the treatment of obesity: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study. Lancet 2009: 374:1606-16.
Victoza FDA Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.
Gansz Bobo, ElaineElaine. "News & Events." FDA Approves New Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes. FDA U.S. Food and Drug Admin.
Liraglutide Helps Non-diabetics Keep the Weight Off. Internal Medicine News
The material on this site is for information only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.
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