Generic name: liraglutide [ LIR-a-GLOO-tide ]
Brand names: Saxenda, Victoza
Dosage form: subcutaneous solution (18 mg/3 mL)
Drug class: Incretin mimetics
What is liraglutide?
The Victoza brand of liraglutide is used together with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults and children at least 10 years old who have type 2 diabetes mellitus .
Victoza is also used to help reduce the risk of serious heart problems such as heart attack or stroke in adults who have type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Victoza is not for treating type 1 diabetes .
The Saxenda brand of liraglutide is used together with diet and exercise to help people lose weight when they have certain health conditions. Saxenda is for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, and for children at least 12 years old who weigh more than 132 pounds (60 kilograms).
Saxenda is not for treating type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Saxenda is not a weight-loss medicine or appetite suppressant.
Liraglutide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not use Saxenda and Victoza together.
You should not use liraglutide if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands), a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer .
In animal studies, liraglutide caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using regular doses.
Call your doctor at once if you have signs of a thyroid tumor, such as swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, or shortness of breath.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use liraglutide if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands); or
- a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer).
You should not use Saxenda if you also use other medicines like liraglutide (albiglutide, dulaglutide , exenatide , Byetta , Bydureon , Tanzeum , Trulicity ).
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- stomach problems causing slow digestion;
- kidney or liver disease ;
- high triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood);
- heart problems;
- problems with your pancreas or gallbladder; or
- (if you use Saxenda) depression or suicidal thoughts.
In animal studies, liraglutide caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using regular doses. Ask your doctor about your risk.
Do not use Saxenda if you are pregnant. Weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy, even if you are overweight . Stop using Saxenda and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
Follow your doctor’s instructions about using Victoza if you are pregnant or you become pregnant. Controlling diabetes is very important during pregnancy, and having high blood sugar may cause complications in both the mother and the baby.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using liraglutide. Ask your doctor about any risk.
How should I use liraglutide?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Do not use Saxenda and Victoza together.
Liraglutide is injected under the skin at any time of the day, with or without a meal. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself. Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don’t understand all instructions.
Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea . You can easily become dehydrated while using liraglutide. This can lead to kidney failure .
You may have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and feel very hungry, dizzy, irritable, confused, anxious, or shaky. To quickly treat hypoglycemia , eat or drink a fast-acting source of sugar (fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda).
Your doctor may prescribe a glucagon injection kit in case you have severe hypoglycemia. Be sure your family or close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.
Also watch for signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst or urination.
Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress , illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your dose or medication schedule.
Storing unopened injection pens: Refrigerate and use until the expiration date .
Storing after your first use: Store the pen in a refrigerator or at room temperature and use within 30 days.
Do not freeze liraglutide, and throw away the medicine if it has become frozen.
Use a needle only once and then place it in a puncture-proof “sharps” container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
Detailed Liraglutide dosage information
What happens if I miss a dose?
Skip the missed dose and use the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use two doses at one time.
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss 3 or more doses of Saxenda.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using liraglutide?
Never share an injection pen, cartridge, or syringe with another person, even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices can allow infections or disease to pass from one person to another.
Do not use Saxenda together with other weight loss products, diet pills, or appetite suppressants.
Liraglutide side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives ; fast heartbeats; dizziness ; trouble breathing or swallowing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Liraglutide may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:
- racing or pounding heartbeats;
- sudden changes in mood or behavior, suicidal thoughts;
- dehydration symptoms–feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin ;
- low blood sugar– headache , hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, fast heart rate , and feeling anxious or shaky;
- gallbladder or pancreas problems–sudden and severe pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your back, nausea , vomiting, fever, jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes); or
- signs of a thyroid tumor–swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, feeling short of breath.
Common side effects of liraglutide may include:
- low blood sugar;
- nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, loss of appetite;
- diarrhea, constipation ;
- headache, dizziness; or
- feeling tired.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Liraglutide side effects (more detail)
What other drugs will affect liraglutide?
Liraglutide can slow your digestion, and it may take longer for your body to absorb any medicines you take by mouth.
Tell your doctor if you also use insulin or oral diabetes medicine.
Other drugs may affect liraglutide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins , and herbal products . Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.