Insulin degludec and liraglutide (Subcutaneous)
Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
IN-su-lin de-GLOO-dek, lir-a-GLOO-tide
Liraglutide, a component of insulin degludec/liraglutide is known to cause dose-dependent and treatment-duration dependent thyroid C-cell tumors in rats and mice. It is unknown whether this component causes thyroid C-cell tumors in humans. Use is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) and in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) .
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antidiabetic
Pharmacologic Class: Insulin, Long Acting
Uses For This Medicine
Insulin degludec and liraglutide combination is used to treat a type of diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) called type 2 diabetes.
Insulin degludec is a long-acting type of insulin that works slowly, over about 24 hours. Insulin is one of many hormones that help the body turn the food we eat into energy. This is done by using the glucose (sugar) in the blood as quick energy. Also, insulin helps us store energy that we can use later. When you have diabetes mellitus, your body cannot make enough insulin or does not use insulin properly. This causes you to have too much sugar in your blood. Like other types of insulin, insulin degludec is used to keep your blood sugar level close to normal. Liraglutide is to be used when diet and exercise do not result in good blood sugar control.
Insulin degludec and liraglutide is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For insulin degludec and liraglutide, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to insulin degludec and liraglutide or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of Xultophy® in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of Xultophy® in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related hypoglycemia, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving Xultophy®.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking insulin degludec and liraglutide, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using insulin degludec and liraglutide with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Insulin Aspart, Recombinant
- Insulin Bovine
- Insulin Degludec
- Insulin Detemir
- Insulin Glargine, Recombinant
- Insulin Glulisine
- Insulin Lispro, Recombinant
- Thioctic Acid
Using insulin degludec and liraglutide with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Methylene Blue
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using insulin degludec and liraglutide with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use insulin degludec and liraglutide, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of insulin degludec and liraglutide. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Alcohol abuse or
- Cholelithiasis (gallstones), history of—May increase risk for pancreatitis.
- Angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, or legs) caused by GLP-1 receptor agonists, history of—Use with caution. May increase the risk of this condition occurring again.
- Dehydration or
- Gastroparesis (stomach does not empty food normally) or
- Kidney disease (eg, chronic renal failure), severe or
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)—Should not be used in patients with this condition. If you have low blood sugar and take insulin, your blood sugar may reach dangerously low levels.
- Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood)—May make this condition worse and increase your chance of having serious side effects.
- Medullary thyroid carcinoma (cancer of the thyroid), family history of or
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
Proper Use of This Medicine
A nurse or other trained health professional may give you insulin degludec and liraglutide. You may also be taught how to give your medicine at home. Insulin degludec and liraglutide is given as a shot under your skin.
Always double-check both the concentration (strength) of your insulin and your dose. Concentration and dose are not the same. The dose is how many units of insulin you will use. The concentration tells how many units of insulin are in each milliliter (mL), such as 100 units/mL (U-100), but this does not mean you will use 100 units at a time.
Each package of Xultophy® contains a patient information sheet. Read this sheet carefully and make sure you understand:
- How to prepare the medicine.
- How to inject the medicine.
- How to dispose of syringes, needles, and injection devices.
It is best to use a different place on the body for each injection (eg, under the skin of your abdomen or stomach, thigh, or upper arm). If you have questions about this, contact a member of your health care team.
Since insulin degludec and liraglutide lowers the blood glucose over 24 hours, it is best to use it at about the same time every day.
The insulin solution should look clear and colorless. Do not use insulin degludec and liraglutide if it is cloudy or thickened.
Follow carefully the special meal plan your doctor gave you. This is the most important part of controlling your condition, and is necessary if the medicine is to work properly. Also, exercise regularly and test for sugar in your blood or urine as directed.
The dose of insulin degludec and liraglutide will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of insulin degludec and liraglutide. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For injection dosage form:
- For Type 2 diabetes:
- Adults—Dose is based on your blood sugar and must be determined by your doctor.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For Type 2 diabetes:
If you miss a dose of insulin degludec and liraglutide, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
If you miss a dose of insulin degludec and liraglutide for more than 3 days, call your doctor to talk about how to restart your treatment.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store your new, unused medicine pen in the refrigerator, in the original carton, and protect it from light. Do not freeze insulin degludec and liraglutide, and do not use the medicine if it has been frozen. You may store the opened medicine pen in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 21 days. Throw away any unused medicine after 21 days.
Precautions While Using This Medicine
Never share insulin pens with others under any circumstances. It is not safe for one pen to be used for more than one person. Sharing needles or pens can result in transmission of hepatitis viruses, HIV, or other bloodborne illnesses.
Your doctor will want to check your progress at regular visits, especially during the first few weeks you take insulin degludec and liraglutide. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
It is very important to follow carefully any instructions from your health care team about:
- Alcohol—Drinking alcohol may cause severe low blood sugar. Discuss this with your health care team.
- Other medicines—Do not take other medicines during the time you are taking insulin degludec and liraglutide combination unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes nonprescription medicines such as aspirin, and medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems.
- Counseling—Other family members need to learn how to prevent side effects or help with side effects if they occur. Also, patients with diabetes may need special counseling about diabetes medicine dosing changes that might occur because of lifestyle changes, such as changes in exercise and diet. Furthermore, counseling on contraception and pregnancy may be needed because of the problems that can occur in patients with diabetes during pregnancy.
- Travel—Keep a recent prescription and your medical history with you. Be prepared for an emergency as you would normally. Make allowances for changing time zones and keep your meal times as close as possible to your usual meal times.
In case of emergency—There may be a time when you need emergency help for a problem caused by your diabetes. You need to be prepared for these emergencies. It is a good idea to:
- Wear a medical identification (ID) bracelet or neck chain at all times. Also, carry an ID card in your wallet or purse that says that you have diabetes and a list of all of your medicines.
- Keep an extra supply of Xultophy® and syringes with needles or injection devices on hand in case high blood sugar occurs.
- Keep some kind of quick-acting sugar handy to treat low blood sugar.
- Have a glucagon kit and a syringe and needle available in case severe low blood sugar occurs. Check and replace any expired kits regularly.
Too much of insulin degludec and liraglutide can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Low blood sugar also can occur if you use insulin degludec with another antidiabetic medicine, delay or miss a meal or snack, exercise more than usual, or drink alcohol. Symptoms of low blood sugar must be treated before they lead to unconsciousness (passing out). Different people may feel different symptoms of low blood sugar. It is important that you learn which symptoms of low blood sugar you usually have so that you can treat it quickly.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include anxiety, behavior change similar to being drunk, blurred vision, cold sweats, confusion, difficulty in thinking, dizziness or lightheadedness, drowsiness, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, headache, irritability or abnormal behavior, nervousness, nightmares, restless sleep, shakiness, slurred speech, and tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or tongue.
If symptoms of low blood sugar occur, eat glucose tablets or gel, corn syrup, honey, or sugar cubes, or drink fruit juice, non diet soft drink, or sugar dissolved in water to relieve the symptoms. Also, check your blood for low blood sugar. Get to a doctor or a hospital right away if the symptoms do not improve. Someone should call for emergency help immediately if severe symptoms such as convulsions (seizures) or unconsciousness occur. Have a glucagon kit available, along with a syringe and needle, and know how to use it. Members of your household also should know how to use it.
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may occur if you do not take enough or skip a dose of your antidiabetic medicine or insulin, you overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise as much as usual.
Symptoms of high blood sugar include blurred vision, drowsiness, dry mouth, flushed, dry skin, fruit-like breath odor, increased urination, ketones in the urine, loss of appetite, stomachache, nausea or vomiting, tiredness, troubled breathing (rapid and deep), unconsciousness, and unusual thirst.
If symptoms of high blood sugar occur, check your blood sugar level and then call your doctor for instructions.
Insulin degludec and liraglutide can cause low blood sugar. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how insulin degludec and liraglutide affects you.
Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms while using insulin degludec and liraglutide: a mass in the neck, difficulty with swallowing, hoarseness, or troubled breathing. These may be symptoms of a serious thyroid problem.
Pancreatitis may occur while you are using insulin degludec and liraglutide. Tell your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness.
Insulin degludec and liraglutide may cause a serious allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, tongue, and throat, trouble breathing, or chest pain after you receive the medicine.
Insulin degludec and liraglutide may cause low levels of potassium in your blood. Do not use medicines, supplements, or salt substitutes that contain potassium unless you have discussed this with your doctor.
Using insulin degludec and liraglutide together with other diabetes medicine (eg, pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, Actos®, Actoplus Met®, Avandia®) may cause serious heart problem or edema (fluid retention). Check with your doctor immediately if you are rapidly gaining weight, having shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, extreme tiredness or weakness, trouble breathing, uneven heartbeat, or excessive swelling of the hands, wrist, ankles, or feet.
This Medicine Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
- bloody urine
- blurred vision
- cold, clammy skin
- cold sweats
- cool, pale skin
- darkened urine
- decreased frequency or amount of urine
- difficulty swallowing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- dry mouth
- fast heartbeat
- fast, weak pulse
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- hives, itching, or rash
- hoarseness when speaking
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- irregular heartbeat
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- lumps in the neck
- muscle pain or cramps
- nausea or vomiting
- noisy, rattling breathing
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- slurred speech
- tightness in the chest
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- troubled breathing at rest
- unexplained weight loss
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weight gain
- yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Body aches or pain
- ear congestion
- loss of voice
- muscle aches
- sore throat
- stuffy or runny nose
Incidence not known
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about insulin degludec/liraglutide
- Insulin degludec/liraglutide Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- En Español
- 1 Review – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: antidiabetic combinations
Other brands: Xultophy