Will Victoza help with weight loss?
Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on June 23, 2020.
- Victoza (generic name: liraglutide) can help with weight loss when used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes, but Victoza is not specifically approved by the FDA to be used for weight loss.
- Saxenda, another brand of liraglutide, is approved for weight loss in addition to diet and exercise in obese or overweight patients with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or high cholesterol (lipid) levels. Saxenda is not used for treating diabetes.
- Victoza and Saxenda both contain liraglutide but are used for different purposes and at different doses. They should not be used together.
Victoza (liraglutide), from Novo Nordisk, is an injection used in addition to diet and exercise to lower blood sugar (glucose) in adults and children who are 10 years of age and older with type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is classified as a Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist.
Patients with type 2 diabetes also have a greater risk for heart attack or stroke. Victoza is used to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke or death in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus with known heart disease.
Victoza is given once a day by a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. It comes in a prefilled pen for self-injection. You should not use Victoza if you have type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.
Weight loss with Victoza in clinical studies
Victoza is not approved by the FDA to be used for weight loss. However, if you are an adult using Victoza for type 2 diabetes blood sugar control, you may find that it helps you to lose weight. In 26 to 52-week long clinical studies of adults with type 2 diabetes, many patients lost at least some weight.
When Victoza was used alone (monotherapy) in a 52-week study, a mean weight loss of 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) occurred with the 1.8 mg dose. In the 1.2 mg group, a mean weight loss of 4.6 lbs (2.1 kg) was reported. When compared to the monotherapy use of glimepiride (brand name: Amaryl), an oral sulfonylureas used for treatment of type 2 diabetes, the weight loss seen with Victoza was statistically significant. A weight gain of 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) was seen in the glimepiride group.
Victoza plus metformin
In a large 26-week study, when Victoza was added on to metformin therapy, adults lost on average up to 5.7 lbs to 6.2 lbs (2.6 kg to 2.8 kg). Metformin itself, when used alone with an inactive placebo, also led to a weight loss of about 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg). Metformin is an oral medication used frequently as the first treatment for type 2 diabetes.
Victoza plus metformin and sitagliptin
Weight loss was also seen in a 26-week open-label trial of Victoza compared to sitagliptin (brand name: Januvia), both given in combination with metformin. Sitagliptin is an oral dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitor also used for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Overall, there was a mean reduction of 5.9 lbs (2.7 kg) for the Victoza 1.2 mg group, 7.3 lbs (3.3 kg) for the Victoza 1.8 mg group, and 1.8 lbs (0.8 kg) for those taking sitagliptin 100 mg.
However, in Victoza studies not everyone lost weight, and some patients gained weight. It is important to remember that Victoza is used in addition to diet and exercise for treatment of type 2 diabetes.
- Victoza (liraglutide) has been shown to lead to weight loss in clinical studies; however, it is not approved by the FDA for this use.
- Saxenda is another medication that also contains liraglutide. It is specifically approved for weight loss, in addition to diet and exercise, in at-risk patients with certain health conditions. Do not use Saxenda and Victoza at the same time.
- In clinical studies ranging from 26 weeks to 52 weeks, patients lost a range of weight. For example, in a large study, when Victoza was added to metformin treatment, adults lost on average up to 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg).
This is not all the information you need to know about Victoza for safe and effective use. Review the full Victoza information here, and discuss this information with your doctor or other health care provider.
- Victoza [package insert]. Novo Nordisk. Bagsvaerd, Denmark. June 2019. Accessed June 23, 2020 at https://www.novo-pi.com/victoza.pdf
- Victoza monograph. Drugs.com. Accessed June 23, 2020 at https://www.drugs.com/pro/victoza.html
- Saxenda monograph. Drugs.com. Accessed June 23, 2020 at https://www.drugs.com/saxenda.html
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