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Rybelsus vs Victoza

Drug facts and comparison

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Medically reviewed by  Jamie Winn, PharmD

Uses

  • Type 2 diabetes
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  • Type 2 diabetes
Get Victoza for only
$49 per month
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Summary

Brand name: Rybelsus
Brand name: Victoza
Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
Active ingredient: semaglutide
Active ingredient: liraglutide
Indication: Type 2 diabetes
Indication: Type 2 diabetes

Side Effects

Most common

  • Feeling sick
  • Being sick (vomiting)
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach (abdominal) pain
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite

More serious

  • Thyroid tumors and a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Changes in your vision
  • Very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)

Most common

  • Feeling sick
  • Being sick (vomiting)
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood sugar
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors

More serious

  • Thyroid tumors and a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) – severe stomach problems, including pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Drug Interactions

Severe Interactions
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections such as gatifloxacin
  • Bexarotene used to treat skin cancer
Serious interactions
  • Any other diabetes medications, like insulin or sulfonylureas
  • Diuretics, taken to make you lose water and salt, usually to treat high blood pressure – bumetanide, furosemide
  • Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisolone
  • Beta 2-stimulants, taken to treat asthma – salmeterol
  • Antipsychotics – clozapine
  • Estrogen containing drugs including birth control and hormone replacements
Moderate Interaction
  • Steroids used topically (on the skin) such as betamethasone, clobetasol, hydrocortisone, and mometasone
Severe interactions
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections such as gatifloxacin
  • Bexarotene used to treat skin cancer
Serious interactions
  • Any other diabetes medications, like insulin or sulfonylureas
  • Diuretics, taken to make you lose water and salt, usually to treat high blood pressure – bumetanide, furosemide
  • Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisolone
  • Beta 2-stimulants, taken to treat asthma – salmeterol
  • Estrogen containing drugs including birth control and hormone replacements
Moderate interactions
  • Steroids used topically (on the skin) such as betamethasone, clobetasol, hydrocortisone, and mometasone

Warnings

You should not use Rybelsus if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient semaglutide
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Rybelsus
  • Have had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), or if anyone in your family has
  • Have an endocrine system condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
  • Have pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas)
  • Have type 1 diabetes (Rybelsus is for type 2 diabetes only)
  • Are under 18 years of age

You should talk to your doctor before using Rybelsus if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Rybelsus
  • Have had any problems with your pancreas
  • Have had any problems with your kidneys
  • Have or have ever had any problems with your eyes, including cataracts or glaucoma
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

You should not use Victoza if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient liraglutide
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients found in Victoza
  • Have type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis

You should talk to your doctor before using Victoza if you:

  • Severe heart disease
  • A disease of the pancreas
  • Severe liver disease
  • Are on dialysis
  • A severe stomach or gut problem
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Symptoms of acute pancreatitis (like a persistent, severe stomach ache)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Are pregnant or are breastfeeding

Dosage

Once daily

Once daily

Cost

30, 3 mg Rybelsus oral tablet will cost around $950

18 mg/3 mL subcutaneous solution Victoza costs $757 on average for 6 milliliters

FAQs

Rybelsus and Victoza are brand names for prescription diabetes drugs used to help control blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. They both belong to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.

Here we will explain how they work, their similarities and differences, their side effects, and more. This should provide you with the basics to better understand your options.

What is Rybelsus?

Rybelsus (oral semaglutide) is an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved medication manufactured by Novo Nordisk Inc. It is given to adults with type 2 diabetes to help lower their blood sugar (glucose) when used with exercise and diet changes. It is a non-insulin medication that causes your pancreas to produce more insulin, helping to lower your blood glucose levels. You take Rybelsus in tablet form, usually once a day when you first wake up but make sure you always use your Rybelsus as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

The active ingredient in Rybelsus is called semaglutide. It’s a non-insulin drug that can help lower your blood glucose levels by stimulating the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin (called beta cells). Rybelsus belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 agonists). When you take Rybelsus, semaglutide molecules attach to beta cells in your pancreas at sites called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors (it is classed as a GLP-1 receptor agonist). The semaglutide stimulates these receptors, which makes the beta cells produce more insulin, helping to lower your blood sugar after you’ve eaten.

Semaglutide also encourages the growth of more beta cells in your pancreas, allowing your pancreas to produce higher levels of insulin, reversing any declines in your body’s insulin production.

Rybelsus dosage

Rybelsus is available in tablet form, in the following doses: 3 mg, 7 mg, and 14 mg.

Take Rybelsus at least 30 minutes before your first food, beverage, or other oral medications of the day with not more than 4 ounces of water only. Swallow the tablets whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew the tablets. The starting dosage is 3 mg once daily for 30 days, followed after 30 days by an increase to 7 mg once daily. The dose may be increased to 14 mg once daily after another 30 days if needed.

Read the full prescribing information and always speak with a healthcare professional for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It has FDA approval to help control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes). Victoza contains liraglutide, a diabetes treatment that is injected under the skin and can be bought in easy-to-use self-injecting pen devices. It’s usually prescribed when people can’t control their blood sugar through diet and exercise alone, or if their diabetes medication isn’t effective. Victoza can be used instead of other diabetes medicine, or alongside some diabetes medicines.

Using Victoza may aid weight loss, and help to reduce body weight. This may be especially useful in those patients also suffering from obesity. It can also be used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in people who have both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

When you eat and digest food, sugar is released into your blood so it can be transported around your body. Your body absorbs the sugar out of your blood, returning your blood sugar to normal levels. In people with diabetes, their bodies struggle to control their blood sugar levels. Often their blood sugar is too high, and over time this can cause a range of problems, including nerve damage and heart disease. When injected, Victoza helps people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels in three ways:

  • It helps your pancreas produce more insulin (a hormone that helps your body absorb blood sugar)
  • It reduces how quickly food moves through your stomach, slowing down the release of sugar into your blood
  • It helps to stop your liver from releasing too much sugar into your blood

Victoza dosage

Victoza is available as a subcutaneous injection, in the following doses: 6 mg/mL. Inject Victoza once daily at any time of day, in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Administer as separate injections when using with insulin.

Initiate adult dosage at 0.6 mg daily for one week increasing to 1.2 mg daily. Increase the dose to 1.8 mg daily after one week of treatment with the 1.2 mg daily dose if further glycemic control is needed.

Initiate pediatric dosage at 0.6 mg daily for at least one week. Increase the dose to 1.2 mg daily if further glycemic control is needed. If additional glycemic control is still required, increase the dose to 1.8 mg daily.

Common side effects of Rybelsus and Victoza

The most common side effects of Rybelsus in clinical trials compared to placebo include:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Stomach (abdominal) pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

More serious side effects of Rybelsus include:

  • An increased risk of thyroid tumors, including cancerous tumors
  • Inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Diabetic retinopathy and other vision problems
  • Very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication that can cause itching, rashes, swelling, and difficulties breathing

The most common side effects of Victoza in clinical trials include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood sugar
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors

More serious side effects of Victoza include

  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Kidney and gallbladder problems
  • Increased risk of thyroid tumors and cancer

These aren’t all the side effects Rybelsus or Victoza can cause. You can find more details in the patient leaflet that comes with your medication. If you have any concerns about side effects, talk to your physician or pharmacist.

Rybelsus and Victoza drug interactions

Rybelsus can interact with other medications. These include:

  • Insulin – Rybelsus can be used alongside insulin, but your doctor may change the dose of insulin you take and/or how often you take insulin
  • Any other medications taken to treat type 2 diabetes, like sulfonylureas
  • Any medications you take by mouth to reduce the risk of blood clots (oral anticoagulants) like warfarin
  • Diuretics, taken to make you lose water and salt, usually to treat high blood pressure – bumetanide, furosemide
  • Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisolone
  • Beta 2-stimulants, taken to treat asthma – salmeterol
  • Antipsychotics – clozapine
  • Estrogen-containing drugs including birth control and hormone replacements

Victoza can interact with other medications. These include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections such as gatifloxacin
  • Bexarotene used to treat skin cancer
  • Any other diabetes medications, like insulin or sulfonylureas
  • Diuretics, taken to make you lose water and salt, usually to treat high blood pressure – bumetanide, furosemide
  • Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisolone
  • Beta 2-stimulants, taken to treat asthma – salmeterol
  • Estrogen-containing drugs including birth control and hormone replacements
  • Steroids used topically (on the skin) such as betamethasone, clobetasol, hydrocortisone, and mometasone

Rybelsus and Victoza can interact with other medications. This can change how Rybelsus and Victoza and other medications work and can make side effects more likely. Tell your prescribing physician about all your drugs, including vitamins and dietary supplements.

Rybelsus and Victoza contraindications

Don’t take Rybelsus if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient semaglutide
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Rybelsus
  • Have had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
  • Have an endocrine system condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
  • Have pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas)
  • Have type 1 diabetes (Rybelsus is for type 2 diabetes only)
  • Are under 18 years of age

Talk to your doctor before taking Rybelsus if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Rybelsus
  • Have had any problems with your pancreas
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have or have ever had any problems with your eyes, including cataracts or glaucoma
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

You should not use Victoza if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient liraglutide
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients found in Victoza (listed in the leaflet which comes with the medication)
  • Have type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis

Talk to your doctor before using Victoza if you:

  • Have severe heart disease
  • Have severe liver disease
  • Are on dialysis
  • Have a severe stomach or gut problem
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease
  • Symptoms of acute pancreatitis (like a persistent, severe stomach ache)
  • Have thyroid disease
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

Other drugs for diabetes

Ozempic (semaglutide)

Saxenda (liraglutide)

Trulicity (dulaglutide)

Metformin

Wegovy (semaglutide)

If you have any concerns about Rybelsus or Victoza side effects, talk to your physician, or pharmacist for medical advice. Also inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions, supplements, and over-the-counter meds you are taking. You are also encouraged to report side effects to the FDA: visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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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