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Liraglutide

Pronunciation

Generic Name: liraglutide (LIR-a-GLOO-tide)
Brand Name: Saxenda

Liraglutide has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats and mice. The risk increased with high doses and prolonged use. It is not known if liraglutide may cause thyroid cancer in humans. If thyroid cancer happens, it may be deadly if not found and treated early.

Do not use liraglutide if you or a family member has had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) (a certain type of thyroid cancer), or if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) (another type of cancer). Lab tests, including calcitonin levels or thyroid ultrasound, may be performed while you are using liraglutide. It is not known if having these tests decreases the risk of thyroid cancer. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.

Contact your doctor immediately if you have a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath.


Liraglutide is used for:

Managing weight in certain patients. It is used along with diet and exercise.

Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 receptor agonist. It works in the brain to help control appetite.

Do NOT use liraglutide if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in liraglutide
  • you or a family member has a history of MTC
  • you have MEN 2
  • you have a history of suicidal thoughts or actions
  • you are using insulin or another medicine that has liraglutide in it

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Can Prescription Drugs Lead to Weight Gain?

Before using liraglutide:

Some medical conditions may interact with liraglutide. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of angioedema (swelling of the hands, face, lips, eyes, throat, or tongue; difficulty swallowing or breathing; or hoarseness) caused by another GLP-1 receptor agonist (eg, exenatide)
  • if you have stomach problems (eg, trouble digesting food, slowed emptying of the stomach)
  • If you have a history of kidney or liver problems, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), gallbladder problems (eg, gallstones), high triglyceride levels, alcoholism, or mental or mood problems (eg, depression)
  • if you or a family member has a history of thyroid cancer
  • if you have diabetes
  • if you are using other medicines or supplements to help with weight loss

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with liraglutide. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Insulin or oral diabetes medicines (eg, glyburide) because the risk of low blood sugar may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if liraglutide may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use liraglutide:

Use liraglutide as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Liraglutide comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. It also comes with an extra patient leaflet with detailed instructions for use. Read them carefully. Read them again each time you get liraglutide refilled. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist any questions that you may have about this information.
  • Use liraglutide with or without food.
  • A health care provider will teach you how to use liraglutide. Be sure you understand how to use liraglutide. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Use the proper technique taught to you by your health care provider. Inject deep under the skin, in the stomach area (abdomen), upper leg (thigh), or upper arm, as directed by your doctor. Do NOT inject liraglutide into a vein or muscle.
  • Do not use liraglutide if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the pen is cracked or damaged.
  • Remove the needle after each injection and dispose of it properly. Do not store liraglutide with the needle attached. Doing so may increase the risk that liraglutide will leak or that germs will enter your medicine.
  • Do not share pen or cartridge devices with another person even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices may pass infections from one person to another. This includes infections you may not know you have.
  • Check with your doctor to see if you should drink extra fluids while you are taking liraglutide.
  • Remove the needle after each injection. Store this device without a needle on it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse or share needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • Use liraglutide on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it.
  • If you miss a dose of liraglutide, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once. If you miss taking liraglutide for 3 days or more, contact your health care provider before you start to take it again.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use liraglutide.

Important safety information:

  • Follow the diet and exercise program given to you by your health care provider.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take liraglutide before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Check with your doctor before you drink alcohol while taking liraglutide.
  • Diabetes patients: Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor. If they are often higher or lower than they should be and you take liraglutide exactly as prescribed, tell your doctor.
  • Liraglutide may increase the risk of low blood sugar when used with other medicines that can cause low blood sugar (eg, insulin, sulfonylureas). Low blood sugar may also be more likely to occur if you skip a meal, exercise heavily, or drink alcohol. Low blood sugar may make you anxious, sweaty, weak, dizzy, drowsy, or faint. It may also make your heart beat faster; make your vision change; give you a headache, chills, or tremors; or make you more hungry. Tell your doctor right away if this happens.
  • Severe and sometimes fatal pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis) has been reported in patients taking liraglutide. Call your doctor right away if you develop severe or persistent stomach or back pain (with or without nausea or vomiting).
  • Liraglutide may change the way that medicines taken by mouth are absorbed into your body. Be sure your doctor knows about all the medicines you take. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • If you cannot drink liquids by mouth or if you have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that does not go away, you will need to take care not to become dehydrated. Contact your doctor for instructions. Dehydration may lead to new or worsening kidney problems.
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use liraglutide. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Liraglutide should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use liraglutide if you are pregnant. Weight loss during pregnancy may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant or you want to become pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while using liraglutide.

Possible side effects of liraglutide:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; decreased appetite; diarrhea; headache; irritation at the injection site; nausea; stomach pain; tiredness; upset stomach; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; dizziness; fainting; fast heartbeat; unusual hoarseness); change in the amount of urine produced; irregular heartbeat; new or worsening mental, mood, or behavior problems (eg, depression, suicidal thoughts or actions); symptoms of gallstones (eg, pain in the upper right stomach area, right shoulder area, or between the shoulder blades; yellowing of the skin or eyes; fever with chills); yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of liraglutide:

Store new (unopened) pens in a refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze or store right next to the cooling element in the refrigerator.

Store used (open) pens either in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C), or at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Do not freeze. Throw away used pens after 30 days, even if they still contain medicine.

Store liraglutide away from excessive heat and sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not use liraglutide if it has been frozen or overheated (above 86 degrees F). Keep the pen dry. Keep the pen cap on when not in use. Do not use liraglutide past the expiration date on the carton. Keep liraglutide out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about liraglutide, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Liraglutide is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take liraglutide or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about liraglutide. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to liraglutide. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using liraglutide.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015
Database Edition 15.2.1.003
Copyright © 2015 Clinical Drug Information, LLC

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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