Victoza weight loss

Victoza for weight loss: does it work?

The main use of Victoza is to decrease blood sugar along with diet and exercise in adults and children who are 10 years of age and up with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Victoza also reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus with known heart disease (ie heart attack, stroke, or death).

Victoza is a once-daily, non-insulin medication that is taken to lower A1C. Taking Victoza helps the pancreas produce additional insulin by helping important cells called beta cells to help control blood glucose levels by making and releasing insulin.

Approximately 70% of American adults are obese or overweight. Obesity and overweight are serious health conditions associated with some leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It is also associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Losing 5% to 10% of body weight through diet and exercise has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in adults with obesity or overweight.

What is Victoza (liraglutide)?

Victoza works similarly to glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone naturally produced and released by your body after eating. This helps to control your blood sugar level after meals by slowing down the process of food leaving your stomach. Victoza prevents the liver from producing too much glucose, and when blood sugar levels are high, it prompts the pancreas to create more insulin. Diabetes affects your metabolism and causes high blood sugar due to problems associated with using or making insulin in your body.

Victoza is not insulin so it can be taken in combination with long-acting insulin as separate subcutaneous injections. Both drugs can be injected in the same body area (ie. stomach area), however, they should not be injected close together.

Victoza can be taken at any time of the day, once a day, and does not need to be taken at meal time. It should be injected at the same time every day, so it’s best to get into a daily routine. Victoza should be injected under the skin in your upper arm, abdominal area (stomach), or thigh (upper leg), as instructed by your doctor. Victoza should not be injected into a vein or muscle.

Does Victoza cause weight loss?

Victoza is not meant to be used specifically for weight loss, however, due to the way this drug works, it may assist adults to lose weight. In a clinical trial studying adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus, Victoza was shown to lead to weight loss when combined with metformin. In addition, it is recommended that overweight individuals that are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should prioritize weight loss as part of their ongoing management of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends weight loss as an important goal for people with type 2 diabetes who are overweight.

One publication examined 5 randomized clinical trials of liraglutide for weight management. When combined with changes in diet and physical activity, taking liraglutide led to a weight loss of 4-6 kg.

In one study, people with obesity and PCOS successfully lost more weight when they took metformin and Victoza, compared to taking either drug by itself. Metformin is a prescription drug that is commonly prescribed for diabetes and PCOS.

Saxenda is another prescription drug that contains the same active ingredient as Victoza and is FDA-approved to be used for weight loss.

How does Victoza cause weight loss?

Victoza works similarly to glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) which is a hormone that your body naturally produces and releases after eating. This can help with weight loss as it controls your blood sugar level after eating by slowing down the process of gastric emptying. Victoza prevents the liver from producing too much glucose, and when blood sugar levels are increased, it prompts the pancreas to create more insulin.

How much weight can you lose with Victoza?

In a randomized study of 30 obese women with PCOS, subjects were randomized either to a combination of metformin and liraglutide (1.2 mg) or liraglutide (3 mg) alone for 12 weeks. Significant weight loss was found in both groups: up to 6.1 kg (13.5 pounds) was lost in the combination group (metformin and liraglutide) and up to 10 kg (22 pounds) was lost in the liraglutide alone group.

Who can take Victoza for weight loss?

Adults and children over the age of 10 can take Victoza to help manage their type 2 diabetes.

Victoza should not be taken if you:

  • are less than 10 years old
  • are already taking another medication that contains liraglutide.
  • diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • if you have an endocrine condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) or if you or a family member have ever had MTC.
  • allergic to any of the ingredients in Victoza including liraglutide or have ever had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in Victoza
  • are planning to become pregnant or are already pregnant

Before beginning to take Victoza, discuss with your doctor or healthcare professional if you have any medical conditions, including if you:

  • are taking other diabetes medications
  • have severe abdominal problems, such as digesting problems, or gastroparesis (slow emptying of your stomach)
  • if you have had any health issues with your liver, kidneys, or pancreas
  • plan to or are currently pregnant
  • plan to or are currently breastfeeding

Victoza alternatives for weight loss

Wegovy

Wegovy is a weight loss drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk and the active ingredient is semaglutide. Wegovy is a once-weekly injection and is used in combination with a healthy diet and increased physical activity to manage weight in adults with one weight-related comorbidity (ie. hypertension, dyslipidemia, or type 2 diabetes mellitus) with initial body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2 (obesity) or ≥27 kg/m2 (overweight).

The difference between Wegovy and Victoza is the active ingredient, dose, and frequency. The dosing for Victoza is up to 18 mg/3 mL once per day and the dosing for Wegovy is up to 2.4 mg once per week. The higher doses of Wegovy are associated with greater weight loss. In the specific population that was studied for Wegovy, the average person lost 35 pounds after 68 weeks (approximately 16 months). In contrast, in the specific population studied for Victoza, the subjects lost up to 20 pounds.

Saxenda

Saxenda is an FDA-approved prescription injectable weight loss drug with the active ingredient liraglutide and is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It helps people to lose weight and keep the weight off.

Rybelsus

Rybelsus is a brand-name medication that is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. Rybelsus is available in tablet form and is taken by mouth once daily, with or without food. Rybelsus isn’t prescribed for weight loss, but weight loss is a possible side effect due to blood sugar management and the recommended lifestyle changes.

Trulicity

Trulicity is a brand-name drug manufactured by Eli Lilly. It is an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved prescription drug for adults who have type 2 diabetes. It is not approved for weight loss. Reduced appetite and thus weight loss is a possible side effect of Trulicity.

RELATED: Trulicity vs Victoza

Ozempic

Ozempic is an FDA-approved prescription drug made by Novo Nordisk. It is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes to prevent your blood sugar from rising after eating. Ozempic is also used to lower the risk of a heart attack in type 2 diabetics. It causes your pancreas to secrete more insulin, helping to lower your blood sugar and reduce your risk of major cardiovascular events, like heart attacks and strokes, if you have cardiovascular disease (heart disease). Ozempic is used alongside dietary and lifestyle changes.

RELATED: Ozempic vs Victoza

Other diabetic medications which may cause weight loss

There are other diabetic medications that have been shown to cause weight loss. Weight loss can also be a desirable effect for people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic medications that may cause weight loss include:

Victoza side effects

The most common side effects of Victoza in adults are:

The following are less common serious side effects of Victoza:

  • pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • higher risk of thyroid tumors
  • severe low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
  • kidney failure (or kidney problems)
  • gallbladder issues
  • severe allergic reactions

Since thyroid tumors (including cancer) are one of the less common but serious side effects of taking Victoza, it is important to be extra vigilant to identify the signs of this cancer. If you notice any hoarseness, swelling, a lump in your neck, difficulty or trouble swallowing, or experience shortness of breath, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately to obtain medical advice as these are symptoms of thyroid cancer.

Seek emergency medical attention, or call your healthcare professional if you experience an allergic reaction or experience any of these severe side effects when taking Victoza.

Victoza drug interactions

Caution should be exercised when taking Victoza with oral medications since Victoza can affect the absorption of these medications. Victoza can be used with some other diabetes treatments but should be discussed with your doctor. Also, it is recommended to consult with your doctor about all possible drug interactions with over-the-counter drugs, other prescription medications, herbal products, or supplements, and other medications you are taking to treat diabetes, including insulin or sulfonylureas.

Victoza may cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or high blood pressure (hyperglycemia). If you are taking any blood pressure medications with Victoza, your healthcare provider will likely monitor your blood pressure to make sure that your body is absorbing that medication.

Is Victoza used for cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease includes conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.

Victoza is FDA-approved to be prescribed to adults and children over 10 years old with type 2 diabetes mellitus to decrease blood sugar along with diet and exercise. Victoza also reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus with known heart disease (ie heart attack, stroke, or death).

If you have type 2 diabetes and are at risk for cardiovascular disease, your doctor may prescribe Ozempic to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular death.

Does Victoza reduce blood pressure?

Victoza is not FDA-approved to treat high blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes increases your risk of cardiovascular events and disease including high blood pressure (hypertension). Controlling your diabetes through medication and in combination with healthy eating and exercise does help to reduce that risk.

When should I take Victoza?

Victoza can be taken at any time of the day, once a day, and does not need to be taken at meal time. It should be injected at the same time every day, so it’s best to get into a daily routine. Victoza should be injected under the skin in your upper arm, abdominal area (stomach), or thigh (upper leg), as instructed by your doctor. Victoza should not be injected into a vein or muscle.

Victoza is available in the dosage form 18MG/3ML Solution Pen-injector. The manufacturer recommends starting with a dosage of 0.6 mg for the first week and increasing the dosage to 1.2 mg daily for week 2, and if needed further increasing the dosage up to a maximum of 1.8 mg daily. You should discuss the correct dosage for you with your doctor.

Bottom line

  • Victoza is not indicated for weight loss, but it may result in moderate weight loss for people who take this medication alone or in combination with other medications such as metformin.
  • Although not approved for weight loss, Victoza has been shown to result in weight loss for certain populations.
  • In addition to possible weight loss, Victoza can positively affect your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of death from heart-related disease.
  • You can speak with your doctor to find out if Victoza can be prescribed off-label for weight management.

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Sources (6)

  1. How Victoza works

  2. What is Victoza

  3. Will Victoza help with weight loss?

  4. Liraglutide for weight management: a critical review of the evidence

  5. Efficacy of Liraglutide for Weight Loss Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: The SCALE Diabetes Randomized Clinical Trial

  6. Liraglutide (Saxenda) for Weight Loss

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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