Victoza is a unique type-2 diabetes treatment. It works in numerous ways simultaneously, but with a one specific goal, namely, the proper management of blood sugar levels. Produced by Novo Nordisk, Victoza is an injectable medicine that is injected underneath the skin once each day over a period of time specified by your doctor. Prior to using this medicine, a doctor or a nurse will guide you through the whole process so that you can later on repeat it by yourself.
Despite the fact that Victoza is available in the form of injection and not a tablet, this medicine is still relatively easy to administer and it should be used just once every day to achieve the desired results.
What’s on this page?
Diabetes type 2: A general overview
Type-2 diabetes is a non-insulin dependent form of this condition that is responsible for roughly nine out of every ten diabetes cases. As opposed to diabetes type 1 which is sometimes classified as an autoimmune disease that renders the pancreas ineffective when it comes to insulin production, people affected by type 2 diabetes will still have some insulin in their system, but not enough to meet the body’s demands. As a result, the blood sugar levels will continue rising until they actually start causing damage to the nervous system, blood vessels and various organs.
Another important difference between the two is the time when the condition usually tends to manifest. Type 1 diabetes can usually be diagnosed early in a person’s life, during so-called formative years, while in case of type 2, the condition will manifest somewhere around 40th birthday and usually some time later.
What causes diabetes?
As of now, a single and specific cause of type-2 diabetes has yet to be identified, but the medical experts seem to agree that poor lifestyle habits play a crucial role in the overall prevalence of diabetes type 2 in the contemporary society. Habits such as eating high amount of sugary foods, drinking sugar-saturated drinks, generally unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and smoking have all considered as risk factors. What’s more, age and weight can also contribute to the development of the condition.
But, on top of this, diabetes is also a condition that is in a majority of cases hereditary, meaning that genes play a prominent role in the onset of this condition (or its absence). In line with this, experts have deduced that certain groups of people, more specifically, those of south Asian, Chinese, African or Caribbean descent are at a higher risk of diabetes due to greater prevalence of diabetes-related genes in these areas of the world.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
People affected by diabetes commonly report
- Persistent thirst
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Dramatic and unexplained drops in weight
- Increased frequency of urination
In addition to these very common symptoms, diabetes type 2 is marked by an array of other symptoms which can vary significantly among individuals, remaining in a way specific for each person affected.
How is diabetes treated and managed?
It is important to note right away that, as of now, there is no known cure for diabetes, meaning that once this illness manifests, it will be a lifelong condition. However, despite the fact that it cannot be treated, diabetes type 2 can be effectively managed with a combination of prescription medicines and lifestyle changes.
When discovered early, during so-called pre-diabetes stage, medical experts will try to rely on non-medication approach to managing the condition. More specifically, the doctor will devise a customized diet plan and probably recommend regular exercise. In addition to this, you will be advised to make additional lifestyle changes if needed, including quitting smoking, losing weight or curbing your alcohol consumption.
However, in those situations where these steps prove to be insufficient, medicine might be prescribed in order to keep the condition under control.
How does Victoza manage diabetes?
The secret to Victoza’s success lies in its active ingredient called liraglutide. It works by mimicking the activity of a specialized hormone commonly denoted as GLP-1 which helps to boost the pancreatic production of insulin. With the insulin levels being boosted in this way, the extraction of sugar from blood will also be much more effective.
Simultaneously, liraglutide will also reduce the effects of glucagon on the liver, thus limiting glucose production in this organ, and also slow down the digestive processes so that absorption of sugars from food will be more steadily paced.
How is Victoza used?
As is the case with every prescription medicine, when using Victoza, it is of uttermost importance to adhere to the instructions provided to you by your prescriber. In addition to this, you should carefully study the official patient information leaflet that is issued within every pack of the medicine. There you will find step by step instructions and also a detailed list of side effects, contraindications and other relevant facts about the medicine.
Here, we will just give you a brief overview covering the basic steps for using this medicine.
- Always take as directed
- The usually prescribed starting dose is 0.6mg while the duration of the treatment will be one week minimum
- If needed, your prescriber will advise you to increase the dose to 1.8mg per day
- The treatment can be administered anytime, but it is advisable to try and take it at roughly the same time each day
- As Victoza is an injection, the instructions for use are very specific and need to be followed exactly (for more detailed guide, consult the patient information leaflet)
- Prior to first use, you should get a step-by-step demonstration from a doctor or a nurse
- First, remove the outer, then the inner cap
- Discard the inner cap, but save the outer one for later
- Don’t forget to use a new needle for every dose
- Check the flow (see in leaflet)
- Select your dose using selector (see in leaflet)
- The needle should be inserted underneath the skin and not in a vein and muscle – to be safe, it is recommended to administer the medicine to the front of your thigh, upper arm or front of your waist
- After inserting the needle, keep it in place for six seconds during which you should keep the button pushed down
- Place the outer cap on the needle and unscrew it before disposing of it
- Put the pen aside without needle inside
- Never exceed the prescribed dose
- If you miss a dose, take it when you remember provided it will be within 12 hours of the time you were supposed to take it – otherwise, just continue as usual
- Never exceed the prescribed dose – if you do, ask your doctor or emergency service for advice
Are there any documented Victoza side effects?
Yes, as is the case with all prescription medicines, Victoza too comes with an array of potential side effects. What you should be most careful about is the possibility of a severe allergic reaction or hypoglycaemia – if you notice any symptoms indicative of these issues, contact your doctor or emergency service immediately.
Other documented side effects are not as dangerous, but can be rather uncomfortable. Here we will cover just some of them. Consult the leaflet for the full list.
Frequency of occurrence
Very common (1 in 10 users or more)
Diarrhoea, feeling sick
Common (1 in 10 users or less)
Headache, nausea, indigestion, gastritis, flatulence, constipation and stomach discomfort, dizziness, increased heart rate, irritation at the site of application
Uncommon (1 in 100 users)
Pruritus, urticarial, dehydration, general malaise
Is Victoza safe for me?
Of course, only your doctor can give you a precise answer to this question after thoroughly reviewing your medical history and medical profile. However, there are some circumstances that might make Victoza use contraindicated for you. This may be the case if you are using any of the following medicaments:
Alternatively, you might be advised against using this medicine if you are affected (or have been recently affected) by following conditions:
- Type-1 diabetes
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Severe kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Heart failure
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Acute pancreatitis
- Thyroid disease
Furthermore, it is important to note that this medicine is not suitable for women who are pregnant or are currently breastfeeding.