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What are the active ingredients in Xultophy?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 20, 2023.

Official answer


Xultophy 100/3.6 contains the active ingredients insulin degludec and liraglutide. Xultophy is used as an add-on to diet and exercise in patients with type 2 diabetes to help improve their blood sugar level control (glycemic control).

Xultophy is injected subcutaneously - under the skin - using an insulin pen. Each millimeter (ml) of Xultophy contains 100 units of insulin degludec and 3.6 mg of liraglutide.

The inactive ingredients in Xultophy are glycerol, phenol, zinc and water for injection.

How does Xultophy work?

Insulin degludec is a long-acting human insulin analog, while liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.

Insulin degludec lowers blood glucose by stimulating skeletal muscle and fat to take up more glucose and by blocking the liver from producing glucose. Insulin helps to prevent fats and other lipids from being broken down (lipolysis) and also helps to prevent the breakdown of proteins (proteolysis). The production of protein is also enhanced by insluin.

Liraglutide, the GLP-1 receptor agonist, belongs to a group of drugs that are also known as incretin mimetics. Liraglutide works by:

  • Stimulating the body to release insulin even before blood sugar levels rise
  • Blocking the release of glucagon, which is a hormone that causes stored sugar to be released by the liver into the bloodstream
  • Slowing how quickly the stomach empties, which slows how quickly glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream and makes a person feel more satisfied after eating

Insulin degludec is also the active ingredient in Tresiba and liraglutide is the active ingredient in Victoza and Saxenda.


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