Starting Your Treatment With Victoza
Last updated: May 2021
If you have diabetes, you have likely heard of Victoza and Saxenda. The two agents contain the same active ingredient, liraglutide, but their approved indication for use differs. Saxenda is approved for weight loss, whereas Victoza is approved for diabetes. The following will help break down what to expect during your treatment with Victoza.
Type 2 diabetes treatment: Victoza
In the United States, Victoza is used in people over ten years of age in addition to diet and exercise for those with type 2 diabetes. It is also indicated to help reduce the risk of major heart events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have heart disease. It is important to know that Victoza is not insulin itself.
Victoza is an anti-diabetic agent, part of the Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist class of medications. It has been shown to help reduce A1C levels by approximately 1%.1 Victoza helps to accomplish this in 3 ways:1
- Helps the pancreas make more insulin
- Reduces how much sugar the liver makes
- Slows food leaving the stomach, which helps manage blood sugar levels following meals
How should Victoza be administered?
Victoza should be administered as a subcutaneous injection - an injection that goes under the skin. It comes in an 18 mg/3ml formulation. The typical dose is 0.6 mg once daily for 1 week, which is then increased to 1.2 mg once daily. If the desired glucose response is not achieved after an additional week of treatment, the dose may be increased further to 1.8 mg once daily.1
It is important to note that at lower doses, including 0.6 mg and lower, Victoza does not help reduce sugar levels. It is prescribed in this manner to help reduce nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms that can accompany Victoza at the beginning.
It does not matter what time of day Victoza is injected, and there is no need to time it around meals. If you are also using insulin, administer Victoza separately. Never mix insulin and Victoza; however, they may be injected into the same body area. It is generally not advised to inject them right next to each other.1
How do I use my Victoza pen?
Victoza comes in a pen formulation that requires priming. With every new pen, spin the dose selector at the bottom of the pen to the "flow check" symbol. Then, push the syringe into the air. The Victoza is now primed and does not need priming for further injections.1
Once you inject your dose, make sure to continue pressing the button of the pen down until the dial has reverted to zero and for 6 more seconds. After that, you can remove the needle and discard it appropriately.1
What do I do if I accidentally miss a dose?
If you miss your dose, skip the dose and resume with your regularly scheduled regimen the next day. Never double the dose in response to missing one dose.
It is recommended to start at a lower dose if Victoza has been paused for more than 3 days. This is to help reduce side effects from starting at a high dose.1
What are side effects of Victoza?
The most common side effects are gastrointestinal in nature, such as: diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Constipation, heartburn, and stomach pain are also other side effects; however, the symptoms generally decrease after 4 weeks of treatment.2 Other side effects include:1
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Injection site reactions such as redness and rash
Starting a new medication can be a stressful experience. By equipping yourself with knowledge and a support system, you will have a better understanding of what to expect during treatment.
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