Victoza (also known by its generic name, liraglutide) belongs to the class of drugs called incretin mimetics. Like its name suggests, this medication mimics the action of a natural hormone called incretin, which helps to keep your body’s blood sugar levels under control.

Overview of Victoza (generic name: liraglutide)

Who should use this medicine?
This drug is only for people with type 2 diabetes. Whether used alone or with other medicines, Victoza is not a substitute for insulin.

What does it do?
Victoza works in several ways. Its main job is to trigger the pancreas to release insulin when glucose levels are high, particularly after eating. It also hampers the amount of sugar made in the liver and slows digestion, freeing less stored sugars into your bloodstream.

How do I use Victoza?
Victoza should be injected under the skin in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. Unlike Byetta, which is injected twice per day before meals, this medication only need be administered one time each day—at any time. It may be taken with or without food.

Talk with your doctor about proper preparation and self-injection techniques. Your pharmacist can give you tips on how to store your medicines and safely discard used needles.

How much do I need?
Because each person is different, dosage amounts will vary based on your condition and how you respond to treatment. You’ll get the most benefit from Victoza by using it regularly, as recommended by your doctor.

What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to your next dose, don’t take double doses to make up for the one you missed.

Possible side effects

Although many people don’t experience discomfort, common side effects include upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. Nausea tends to decrease as your body gets used to the medication. In rare cases, this drug may cause inflammation of the pancreas. Although it’s been shown to cause thyroid tumors in mice, it’s unknown if it causes similar tumors in humans. If you experience any unusual or extreme symptoms, get medical assistance right away.

Safety precautions

If you’re also using insulin, take it in a separate shot from your Victoza dosage. Don’t mix them. Although you can inject each medication in the same general area, injection sites should not be right next to each other.

Check your glucose levels regularly, especially before and after meals. Let your doctor know if your blood sugar spikes too high or drops too low, as your dosage may need to be adjusted. Symptoms to watch for include sweating, fast heartbeat, headache, dizziness, blurred vision or drowsiness.

Drug interactions

Before you use this medication, your care team will need to know your medical history and any allergies you have. Tell your doctor all of the prescription and non-prescription medicines you use, especially antibiotics and birth control pills.

The options for diabetes treatment grow as researchers continue to discover effective, new medications. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of each drug to decide the best path for you.

Sources:
“Liraglutide (Subcutaneous Route),” Mayo Clinic.

“Other Injectable Medications,” American Diabetes Association.

“Victoza,” Physicians’ Desk Reference.