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Victoza is often prescribed to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Victoza, also found under the generic name liraglutide, also helps control blood sugar and reduces the risk of more serious cardiovascular events like a heart attack (Victoza, n.d.).
Victoza comes as an injectable pen to be administered in your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. You’ll likely start on 0.6 mg a day and increase the dosage until you reach 1.8 mg. Here are some do’s and don’ts on Victoza dosing and how to use the medication.
General guidelines for taking Victoza
Here are the general guidelines for Victoza dosage, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA, 2019):
- Use Victoza once daily, separate from mealtimes. Do not take two doses simultaneously.
- The FDA states that individuals starting Victoza should begin with 0.6 mg injections daily for seven days.
- After the first week, the dosage can be increased to 1.2 mg.
- For additional blood sugar control, the dosage can be increased to 1.8 mg.
- If you miss a dose, administer the same amount you would have the day you missed. For example, if you miss your 0.6 mg dose on Tuesday, take 0.6 mg on Wednesday, and then continue your regimen as usual.
- If three or more days have passed since your last dose, consult with a healthcare provider. They may recommend restarting with a 0.6 mg dose to prevent gastrointestinal issues.
How many doses come in each pen?
Victoza pens come pre-filled in various amounts, ranging from 3 mg/mL solution to 18 mg/mL solution per pen.
The multi-dose pen delivers doses of 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, and 1.8 mg. Depending how much you’ve been prescribed, you could have as many as 30 doses in a single pen (FDA, 2019).
Potential side effects when using Victoza
The most common side effects of Victoza are digestive issues including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. People have also reported constipation, decreased appetite, and indigestion while taking Victoza.
Other common side effects include headache, dizziness, and a reaction at the injection site. Many people who use Victoza also experience weight loss (FDA, 2019).
Though rare, Victoza can cause serious side effects. These include:
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
- Suicidal ideation
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Angioedema (rapid swelling beneath the skin)
- Kidney issues
- Possible risk of thyroid cancer
Some users are hypersensitivity to the drug, resulting in rashes or swelling of the face, mouth, and throat. If you’re experiencing any of the above, stop using Victoza and contact a healthcare provider immediately (FDA, 2019).
Safety information about Victoza
Do not use Victoza if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). If you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Victoza, don’t take this medication (FDA, 2019).
Insulin and Victoza
The FDA advises against mixing insulin and Victoza in the same injection. Both can be injected in the same area (like the abdomen for example), but shouldn’t be administered at the same time or too close together.
Change your injection site daily. Do not use the same injection site for every injection.
Never share your Victoza pen with anyone else, even if you’ve disinfected it and changed the needle. You could be at risk of severe infection sharing a pen with others.
Tips for taking care of your pen
- After administration, remove the needle and place the pen cap back.
- Make sure your pen is stored in an area free of dust, dirt, and liquids. Do not expose it to sunlight or intense heat.
- A new, unused pen can be stored in the refrigerator in temperatures ranging from 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit. If you store it outside the fridge, use within 30 days or discard.
- A used Victoza pen should be kept in an environment between 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit or in a refrigerator. If a used pen is exposed to temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit, dispose of it, and purchase a new one.
- A Victoza pen should only be kept for 30 days. After that it should be tossed out, regardless of if it’s been fully used or not.
If it’s your first time using the medication, start with 0.6 mg for seven days and increase your dosage gradually. Most importantly, be sure to watch out for side effects and make sure to take good care of your pen.
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
- DailyMed database. (n.d.) Victoza – liraglutide injection. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved March 3, 2021 from https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=5a9ef4ea-c76a-4d34-a604-27c5b505f5a4
- Peterson, G. E., & Pollom, R. D. (2010). Liraglutide in clinical practice: dosing, safety and efficacy. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 167, 35–43. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02498. Retrieved March 1, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20949699/
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2019, June). Victoza (liraglutide) injection. Retrieved March 1, 2021 from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/022341s031lbl.pdf
- Victoza. (n.d.). Victoza FAQ. Retrieved March 2, 2021 from https://www.victoza.com/faq/About-Victoza.html
Yael Cooperman is a physician and works as a Senior Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.