Diabetes is said to be one of man’s most dreaded medical condition. In the past, it was thought to be a disease of the rich. However, it is known to be caused by many factors, including genetic and eating habit. People who have this disease do not live a normal life in that they are restricted from eating several types of food, especially those rich in sugar. Diabetes is said to be a medical condition that results due to the inability of the human body (pancreas) to produce enough insulin (a human hormone) which break down glucose to release energy or the inactivity of the insulin produced. Once this occurs, glucose accumulates in the cells, resulting in fatal symptoms such as stroke, heart attack, brain damage, heart failure and possible death. There are two types of diabetes that have been identified in humans, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These different types of diabetes are mostly being treated with different medical products. However, there are a few products that have been tested to be effective in treating both diabetes types. An example of a drug that has been proven to be safe and effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is Victoza.
Victoza is the brand name for liraglutide, a drug prescribe for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Liraglutide is about 97% similar to human GLP-1 and acts on GLP-1 receptors. It is produced following a process known as recombinant DNA in yeast cells. Victoza is a prescription for adults suffering from type 2 diabetes. The drug is taken as part of a recovery program. This drug is administered alongside with diet and exercise to help control hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Victoza is effective in lowering blood sugar levels, thus it acts as a regulatory medicine, which regulate the level or activity of insulin produced after meals. This medication may be used in combination with other diabetes medicines. However, it is not recommended for treating subjects with type 1 diabetes. This medicine always comes as a pre-filled pen to be injected subcutaneously under the skin of the thigh, stomach, or upper arm. Victoza is recommended to be taken following a once daily dosage regimen. Victoza is known to be a very effective drug and it is unlikely by itself to cause your blood sugar to drop far below normal (hypoglycemia). This is because the medication does not work well at lower blood sugar level. However, hypoglycemia has been recorded in some patients undergoing Victoza therapy. The potential risk for developing hypoglycemia is increased when you take Victoza together or in combination with some other diabetes medicines, like insulin or a sulfonyl urea. Victoza is not formulated for patients with increased ketones in blood or urine (diabetic ketoacidosis) and there is no approved or supportive clinical or pharmacological evidence whether Victoza is effective and safe in children under 18 years of age. However, the uses of Victoza may also include purposes not mentioned in this article.
Functioning and Effectiveness
Victoza works by lowering the quantity of glucose secreted by the liver into the blood stream during night time. It also helps the pancreas to produce normal insulin or increase the activities of insulin produced. Insulin acts on glucose, thereby reducing the quantity of glucose in blood. Victoza is not recommended as the first prescription medicine in the treatment of diabetes. If you missed a dose, you should take it immediately you remember. However, if the time is closed for the time for the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your normal schedule. You should never double your dose.
Make sure that you have carefully read and understood the information provided in the medicine guide or instruction leaflet that comes with the medicine
Before You Start using Victoza
In order to achieve the most out of Victoza, you should:
- · not use Victoza if you are allergic to liraglutide
- · strictly follow the prescription and advice of your healthcare provider
- · before you start using this medicine, make sure you inform your healthcare provider about all the medicines you are taking, if you have a problem with your stomach such as difficulty is passing out faces, if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, and if you have or have a history of pancreatitis, renal and hepatic problem
- · you should always change the site of the injection at all time. Using the same site may result or increase the effects of some unwanted reactions
- · you should not mix Victoza and insulin in the same injection
- · before injecting, make sure that the suspension is uniformly mixed and that it’s at room temperature. You can mix the medicine in the pen by rolling it in between your hands horizontally 10 times and also 10 times vertically
- · suspension of Victoza should always be well verified before injecting it. If it's colored, cloudy, or contains any solid particles, don't take it. Needles or pens should not be reused.
- · In order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular reactions or disease such as heart attack, stroke or death, you should use Victoza together with your current treatment
Uses of Victoza
Victoza contains liraglutide which may be used alone or with any other drug to control blood sugar level. This medication is also said to be effective in other areas such as with people trying to reduce weight. It effectively decrease appetite in the subjects treated with it and reduces adipose tissue formation. This result in much weight loss thus, it has been a common drug within celebrities.
Drugs may sometimes be used for purposes for which they weren’t prescribe for. You should never use Victoza for any other purpose that it was not prescribed for. Also, do not give Victoza to people for which it was not prescribed, even if the show the same symtomps as you.
Victoza uses may also include purpose not discussed in this article. You should talk with your healthcare provider about all the possible uses of Victoza.
Side Effects of Victoza
Victoza is an effective medication against Type 2 diabetes. However, Victoza use may result in some adverse reactions. These reactions may often be less sever, although there have been some reported cases of increased severity. For these reasons, we are going to group the various side effects of Victoza based on their severity.
Major (Severe but Less Common) Side Effects of Victoza
The following symptoms have been associated with severe side effects of Victoza. If you suspect or notice any, you should discontinue the use of this drug promptly and get an emergency medical help.
- frequent urge to urinate
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
- sore throat
- trouble sleeping
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- cold sweats
- pounding in the ears
- slow or fast heartbeat
- increased hunger
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- slurred speech
- decreased urine output
- difficulty with swallowing
- rapid weight gain
- swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
- tightness in the chest
- Bladder pain
- bloody or cloudy urine
- cough or hoarseness
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- fever or chills
- lower back or side pain
- muscle aches and pains
- Blurred vision
- runny nose
- cool, pale skin
- hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
- redness of the skin
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- muscle twitching
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- unpleasant breath odor
- vomiting of blood
- yellow eyes or skin
Minor (Less Severe but Common) Victoza Side Effects
There are also some less serious but more common Victoza side effects. These symptoms are often associated with early use of this medication. However, they normally subside as the body adapt to the treatment. Some of these common side effects may include:
- body aches or pain
- loss of voice
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- stuffy nose
- swollen mouth and tongue
- coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure
- pain, rash
- warmth at the injection site
- Abdominal or stomach cramps, discomfort, or pain
- acid or sour stomach
- back pain
- decreased appetite
- unpleasant taste
- urge to have bowel movement
- weight loss
While this may not be a complete list of all the possible side effects of Victoza, you may have to consult your healthcare provider about the various Victoza side effects consistent with your medical record. If you notice any unwanted reaction while using this drug, report it to your doctor. You should talk to your health care provider about the various side effects.
Warnings and Precautions of Victoza
Sharing a Vivtoza Pen between Patients
You should for no reason, no matter the situation share a Victoza pen or syringe between patients. You must not do this even if change the needle of the pen. Sharing a pen increase the potential risk for transmission of blood-borne pathogens including HIV, and Hepatitis B.
Risk of Thyroid C-Cell Tumors
Victoza at clinically relevant exposure is known to cause dose-dependent and treatment-duration-dependent thyroid C-cell tumors in both sexes of mice and rate. Malignant or cancerous (adenomas and/or carcinomas) thyroid C-cells were detected in mice and rats following treatment with Victoza. It is still not clear whether Victoza causes cancer of the thyroid gland (thyroid C-cell tumors), such as medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans since the full study of the safety of Victoza-induced rodent thyroid C-cell tumors have not been done. Although some cases of MTC have been reported in subjects treated with Victoza, the data obtained from these reports are inadequate for any meaningful conclusion as to how Victoza is involve in the MTC in humans to be drawn.
Victoza is thus not approved for use in subjects with a history (personal or family) of MTC or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Patients due for Victoza therapy should be well educated about the potential risk for MTC including the symptoms of thyroid C-cell tumors such as dysphagia, mass in the neck, persistent hoarseness and dyspnea. Also, there should be close follow-up or monitoring of patients undergoing Victoza treatment such as using thyroid ultrasound or serum calcitonin. Any increase in the levels of serum calcitonin or thyroid nodules may be an indication of MTC and should be further evaluated.
There have been some reports of acute pancreatitis, such as fatal and non-fatal hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis that have been associated with Victoza therapy. There have also been fatal cases or death from necrotizing pancreatitis reported in subjects during Victoza therapy. Therefore, once you start administering Victoza to patients, you should carefully observe them for symptoms of pancreatitis, such as persistent severe abdominal pain, pain that seems to be moving to the back and which the patient may or may not be vomiting. In cases where pancreatitis is suspected or noticed, Victoza should be discontinued at once and symptoms manage appropriately. The effects of Victoza in patients with a history of pancreatitis have not been fully documented. Thus, it is not clear whether patients with history of pancreatitis are at high risk to develop pancreatitis if treated with Victoza.
Following the high risk of pancreatitis with Victoza, it is recommended to always initiate treatment with the lowest possible effective dose with monitoring. If after a week or so, there is no serious side effect, the dose may be augmented (also depending on the patient’s response rate).
There have been no satisfactory clinical and pharmacological studies to be able to establish any conclusive data on the risk reduction to macrovascular effect with Victoza or any other anti- diabetic drug. However, patients with any history of such disease can be treated with caution and if there is any suspected macrovascular effects, consider discontinuing the medicine immediately.
Bullous Pemphigoid or Skin Reactions
Victoza can be associated with the cause of the side effect known as bullous pemphigoid. In reported cases, subjects usually recovered following discontinuation of the therapy and an initiation of systemic or topical immunosuppressive treatment. The doctor and pharmacist should advise patients about the various signs and symptoms of bullous Pemphigoid and to report development of erosions or blisters while receiving this drug. If any situation arises where bullous Pemphigoid is suspected, discontinued Victoza immediately and consult a dermatologist for considerable diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Acute Gallbladder Disease
An acute gallbladder disease with increase hospitalization or cholecystectomy has been reported in some subjects undergoing Victoza therapy. Symptoms of gallbladder disease include cholelithiasis or cholecystitis. If cholelithiasis is suspected, the individual should be examined for gallbladder disease and appropriate treatment initiated which may require the discontinuation of Victoza treatment.
Other medicines may interact to either decrease or increase the effects of Victoza on controlling blood sugar. For example, patients being treated with Victoza in combination with an insulin or insulin drug secretagogue, such as sulfonylurea may be at high risk of developing hypoglycemia. Such risk may be lower by reducing the amount of the insulin used. Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are using. This includes both prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal products, and vitamins.
Overdose with Victoza
There have been some cases of overdose in association with Victoza reported. These patients are said to show some symptoms like severe nausea and vomiting. Once overdose is suspected or noticed, you should discontinue Victoza, and seek immediate medical help. Adequate supportive treatment consistent with the patient’s medical record should be initiated as a means to combat the overdose.
Half-life of Victoza
This drug is eliminated from the body in both urine and feces at approximately the same rate. Much of this drug is eliminated during the first 6-8 days with a mean clearance of about 1.2 L/h following single dose subcutaneous administration. The half-life of Victoza is said to be about 13 hours, thus, dosage regimen for Victoza is best suited for once daily administration.
Storage and handling conditions
Victoza is best stored in a refrigerator at a temperature between 36ºF to 46ºF (2ºC to 8ºC). It should not freeze Victoza, and any Victoza that has been frozen should not be used. Do not store in the freezer compartment or close to the refrigerator cooling element. You should not use this medicine if found to have expired. Dispose of all expired and unused medicines following best environmental principles. Keep all medicines, including Victoza out of the reach of children and pets.
Use in Specific Populations
The clinical investigation of Victoza involving pregnant women didn’t involve a satisfactory number of women. Thus, no significant result was recorded to determine the drug-associated for major miscarriages or birth defects. There were some reports suggesting an increase in the number of solemn birth defects and prolonged pregnancies reported in animal studies. Although it is important to remember the fact that animals often respond differently to medications than humans, women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should always avoid class C medications except the benefits to the mother greatly overshadow any potential risks to the fetus. There are also some risks to the mother and fetus due to poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy. Victoza may only be prescribed to pregnant women if the underlying benefits justified the potential risk to the fetus.
There is no verified evidence regarding the passing of Victoza into human milk, its effects on breastfeeding children, or its effects on the quantity or quality of milk produced. Due to the fact that many medicines pass into human milk, and because of the potential risk for liraglutide to form cancer in animal studies, Victoza should be administered with caution to nursing women. However, the health and developmental benefits of breastfeeding infant should be taken into account along with the potential side effects on the breastfed child from Victoza and the mother’s clinical need for Victoza or from the underlying maternal condition.
The safety and effectiveness of Victoza have not been determined for pediatric patients (patients younger than 18 years of age). Also, studies about the rate of metabolism of Victoza in pediatric patients have not been performed. There is also high sensitivity of subjects of this age group due to the fact that their organ and systems are not fully mature. Thus, Victoza is not approved for people younger than 18 years of age.
In clinical experiments, there was no significant difference in the safety and effectiveness between patients in this age group (65 years and older) and younger patients. Victoza and its active metabolites are eliminated (removed) in part by the kidney and due to the fact that geriatric often suffer from decrease renal function, Victoza should be administered with caution to elderly people.
There was no significant difference in the frequency of the resulted side effects in clinical studies involving Victoza with mild to moderate renal impaired patients compared to normal patients. Thus, no dose adjustment may be recommended to subjects with mild and moderate renal impairment. Studies involving Victoza did not include a significant number of patients with severe renal impairment. There have also been some reports of acute renal failure and worsening of chronic renal failure (may need hemodialysis) in patients with severe renal impairment. Thus, Victoza may be with caution in patients with severe renal impairment and only in cases where the benefits justifies its use.
Studies involving Victoza did not include adequate an number of patients with mild, moderate or severe hepatic impairment. For this reason, Victoza may be used with caution in patients with hepatic impairment. There is also no dose of Victoza recommended for subjects with hepatic impairment.
Victoza Reviews from Customers
Many Victoza users gave their feedbacks based on their experiences with this medicine. These feedbacks may be grouped in either positive or negative. However, Victoza has more satisfied (about 90%) than dissatisfied customers.
One who used Victoza as prescribed by the doctor saw no adverse reaction, with an immediate improvement of the symptoms. Another who started at glucose levels of 800 drops to 220 after 4 days of used. Most users also express their satisfaction with the reduction in body weight, low appetite, and great energy.
Some users testified of serious side effects, slowing of metabolism with severe constipation, worse still, no improvement of their glucose levels which stay high.
Remember that these are the users’ personal experience and should for no reason be used to grade the effectiveness of this drug. Check with your healthcare provider who is the only one trained to prescribe medicines base on our medical records.
A disclaimer: The information presented in this article serves only as a guide. It may not contain all the possible uses of Victoza, side effects, and precautions. If does not contain any recommended dose or dosage regimen for any subject. Therefore, you should consult with your healthcare provider for any advice and recommended dose that is consistent with your medical record.