Generic Name: liraglutide (LIR a GLOO tde)
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 treat type 2 diabetes. 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 if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin)
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
if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).
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 pancreatitis;
a history of gallstones;
a history of alcoholism; 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.
Liraglutide is usually given once per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. 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.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
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, confusion, irritability, dizziness, or feeling shaky. Always keep a source of sugar with you in case you have low blood sugar. Sugar sources include fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, and non-diet soda. Be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.
If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use a glucagon injection. Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to use it.
Also watch for signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, and weight loss.
Check your blood sugar carefully during times of stress, travel, illness, surgery or medical emergency, vigorous exercise, or if you drink alcohol or skip meals. These things can affect your glucose levels and your dose needs may also change. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.
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 with another person. Sharing injection pens can allow disease such as hepatitis or HIV 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:
low blood sugar;
nausea (especially when you start using liraglutide), vomiting, stomach pain;
upset stomach, loss of appetite;
headache, dizziness, tiredness; 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)
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 Saxenda (liraglutide)
- Other brands: Victoza
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: 6.02.
Date modified: October 14, 2016
Last reviewed: May 25, 2016