Generic Name: liraglutide (LIR a GLOO tide)
Brand Name: Saxenda, Victoza
What is liraglutide?
Liraglutide is similar to a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and helps control blood sugar, insulin levels, and digestion.
The Victoza brand of liraglutide is used together with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Victoza is usually given after other diabetes medicines have been tried without success. Victoza is not for treating type 1 diabetes.
The Saxenda brand of liraglutide is used together with diet and exercise to help people lose weight when they have certain health conditions. Saxenda is not for treating type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Saxenda is not a weight-loss medicine or appetite suppressant.
Liraglutide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about liraglutide?
Do not use Saxenda and Victoza together.
You should not use liraglutide if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands), a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer, insulin-dependent diabetes, or diabetic ketoacidosis.
In animal studies, liraglutide caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using regular doses.
Call your doctor at once if you have signs of a thyroid tumor, such as swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, or shortness of breath.
What should I discuss with my health care provider before using liraglutide?
You should not use liraglutide if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands);
a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer); or
diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment).
You should not use Saxenda if you also use insulin or other medicines like liraglutide (albiglutide, dulaglutide, exenatide, Byetta, Bydureon, Tanzeum, Trulicity).
To make sure liraglutide is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
stomach problems causing slow digestion;
kidney or liver disease;
high triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood);
a history of problems with your pancreas or gallbladder; or
a history of depression or suicidal thoughts.
In animal studies, liraglutide caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using regular doses. Ask your doctor about your risk.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether liraglutide passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Liraglutide is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I use liraglutide?
Do not use Saxenda and Victoza together. These two brands contain the same active ingredient but they should not be used together.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Liraglutide is usually given once per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Liraglutide is injected under the skin at any time of the day, with or without a meal. You will be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Liraglutide comes in a prefilled injection pen. Ask your pharmacist which type of needles are best to use with your pen.
Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject liraglutide. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.
Do not use the medicine if it has changed colors or looks cloudy, or if it has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, nausea, fast heart rate, and feeling anxious or shaky. To quickly treat low blood sugar, always keep a fast-acting source of sugar with you such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda.
Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit to use in case you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink. Be sure your family and close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.
Also watch for signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst or urination, blurred vision, headache, and tiredness.
Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your dose or medication schedule.
Use a disposable needle only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
Liraglutide is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, regular blood sugar testing, and special medical care. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
Storing unopened injection pens: Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze liraglutide, and throw away the medication if it has become frozen. Do not use an unopened injection pen if the expiration date on the label has passed.
Storing after your first use: You may keep "in-use" injection pens in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Protect the pens from moisture, heat, and sunlight. Use within 30 days. Remove the needle before storing an injection pen, and keep the cap on the pen when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss 3 or more doses of Saxenda.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using liraglutide?
Never share an injection pen, cartridge, or syringe with another person, even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices can allow infections or disease to pass from one person to another.
Liraglutide side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; fast heartbeats; dizziness; trouble breathing or swallowing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
racing or pounding heartbeats;
sudden changes in mood or behavior, suicidal thoughts;
severe ongoing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
signs of a thyroid tumor--swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, feeling short of breath;
gallbladder problems--fever, upper stomach pain, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes);
symptoms of pancreatitis--severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea with or without vomiting, fast heart rate;
severely low blood sugar--extreme weakness, confusion, tremors, sweating, fast heart rate, trouble speaking, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, fainting, and seizure (convulsions); or
kidney problems--little or no urination; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath.
Common side effects may include:
nausea (especially when you start using liraglutide), vomiting, stomach pain;
headache, dizziness; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Liraglutide dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 2:
Initial dose: 0.6 mg subcutaneously once a day for 1 week; this dose is intended to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms and is not an effective dose for glycemic control.
Maintenance dose: Inject 1.2 mg subcutaneously once a day; if acceptable glycemic control is not achieved, may increase to 1.8 mg subcutaneously once a day
Maximum dose: 1.8 mg once a day
-Consider dose reduction of the insulin secretagogue to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.
-This drug is not recommended as a first-line therapy for patients with inadequate glycemic control on diet and exercise.
Use: As an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Usual Adult Dose for Weight Loss:
Dose escalation should be followed to reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal symptoms; dose escalation may be delayed by 1 additional week if necessary:
Week 1: Inject 0.6 mg subcutaneously once a day
Week 2: Inject 1.2 mg subcutaneously once a day
Week 3: Inject 1.8 mg subcutaneously once a day
Week 4: Inject 2.4 mg subcutaneously once a day
Week 5: Inject 3 mg subcutaneously once a day
Maintenance dose: 3 mg subcutaneously once a day
-Consider dose reduction of the insulin secretagogue to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia; conversely when discontinuing use in a patient with type 2 diabetes, monitor for an increase in blood glucose.
-If a dose of 3 mg once daily is not tolerated, discontinuation is recommended; efficacy for chronic weight management has not been established at lower doses.
-Evaluate weight loss at 16 weeks; if at least 4% of body weight has not been lost, it is unlikely the patient will achieve and sustain clinically meaningful weight loss with continued treatment.
Use: In adult patients with an initial BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or an initial BMI of 27 kg/m2 (overweight) or greater in the presence of at least 1 weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia), this drug is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management.
BMI=Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. Charts are available for determining BMI based on height and weight, including a chart in Saxenda(R) product labeling.
What other drugs will affect liraglutide?
Liraglutide can slow your digestion, and it may take longer for your body to absorb any medicines you take by mouth.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
oral diabetes medicine--Glucotrol, Metaglip, Amaryl, Avandaryl, Duetact, DiaBeta, Micronase, Glucovance, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with liraglutide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about liraglutide
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- En Español
- 937 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: incretin mimetics
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about liraglutide.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01.
Date modified: June 01, 2017
Last reviewed: May 02, 2017