Victoza (Liraglutide) for Weight Loss

For many years, obesity has been closely linked with people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. The two medical conditions are so closely associated that, in many cases having either obesity or diabetes can increase your chances of developing the other. However, after many studies, researchers have discovered that the link between diabetes and obesity lies within the body’s regulation of insulin and blood sugar levels.

For example, Type 2 diabetes can cause the body to develop insulin resistance, leading to increased blood glucose production. Typically, after insulin is released, it sends messages to certain cells to absorb glucose traveling through the bloodstream and convert it into energy for the body to use. However, once your body develops insulin resistance, it will no longer respond to these signals, and the cells are unable to process the sugar in your blood.

Once blood sugar builds up in the bloodstream, the body signals the pancreas to release more insulin to help the cells accept the accumulated glucose and decrease the amount of sugar in the blood. If this doesn’t work, the process can cause the pancreas to limit insulin production, which can also cause your blood sugar levels to continue rising. With nowhere to go, the excess blood sugar remains in the body and is then converted into fatty acids before getting stored as fat in our adipose tissue, thus, leading to obesity.

Conversely, obesity can also lead to diabetes. When a person is overweight, the excess fat can slow down insulin production and also cause insulin resistance, which of course, leads to increased glucose levels. As a result, people who are obese or overweight are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people with average body structures.

In either case, obesity can lead to more serious medical conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, inflammation, and other health issues that can impair your physical function, negatively impact your quality of life, and even shorten your lifespan. So, whether you suffer from weight gain due to obesity or diabetes, it is imperative that you lose weight to treat either condition and improve your overall health.

For many Type 2 diabetics who are unable to lose weight through the traditional means of dieting and exercise, weight loss medications have proven to be an effective solution for weight loss. Over the last decade, many weight loss medications have provided Type 2 diabetics with a ray of hope regarding their weight gain. One of the leading medications, Victoza, has provided promising results for weight loss related to Type 2 diabetes. But before you ask for a prescription, it may serve you well to understand how Victoza works and whether or not it can work for you.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is an injectable weight loss medication that utilizes the GLP-1 receptor agonist Liraglutide to help people with Type 2 diabetes and heart disease reduce blood sugar and lower the risk of cardiovascular complications such as heart attack or stroke. Although Victoza is not FDA-approved for weight loss, it has shown great promise in helping adults with Type 2 diabetes lose weight.

Why Does Victoza Make You Lose Weight?

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Similar to other GLP-1 receptor agonist medications such as Ozempic, Victoza mimics the GLP-1 hormone that’s naturally created in the body to stimulate the pancreas into releasing insulin to lower blood sugar levels after meals. While doing so, the medication inhibits the glucagon hormone from prompting the liver to release more blood sugar. With this mechanism of action, Victoza slows down digestion in the stomach, which helps to reduce appetite and limits food cravings so you can feel more satisfied after eating smaller portions.

By combining Victoza with regular exercise and a dietary regimen, many people with Type 2 diabetes are able to regulate their eating habits and effectively lose weight. Since Victoza is not approved as a weight loss treatment for weight-related conditions such as obesity, many physicians avoid prescribing Victoza for weight loss to overweight patients without diabetes.

How to Take Victoza

Just like other weight loss injections, Victoza comes as an injector pen that is administered subcutaneously once daily under the skin of your thighs, upper arm, or stomach. Since Victoza works to lower glucose, people with Type 2 diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels before and after taking Victoza to make sure their blood glucose doesn’t get too low.

Patients who use Victoza will need to keep track of the body areas where their last shot was administered and rotate their injection sites daily to avoid redness and irritation from injecting the medicine in the same location. If you take insulin for Type 2 diabetes, you should also avoid mixing Victoza and insulin medication together in the same syringe. Although insulin and Victoza can be injected in the same body area-such as the stomach-you should avoid injecting the medicines right next to each other at the injection site.

Depending on your medical history, your physician will determine the appropriate dosage for your Victoza injections. Typically, patients start with the lowest dose (0.6 mg) at the beginning of treatment to allow their bodies to adjust to the medication and reduce the chance of side effects. Once your physician confirms that your body is responding well to the medicine, they will typically increase the dosage after the first week of treatment and continue to gradually raise each dose until you can safely take 1.8 mg, which is the highest a physician can prescribe for a Victoza dosing schedule.

How Much Weight Will I Lose on Victoza Injections?

Since every person has a unique physiology that may respond to treatment differently, patients who use Victoza will have different weight loss results. In many cases, the weight loss achieved through Victoza will heavily depend on the dosage level and your commitment to the exercise and dietary instructions provided by your physician. In clinical trials, participants who took 1.2 mg of Victoza daily lost an average of 4.6 pounds after 12 months. During the same clinical trial, patients were able to lose up to 5.5 lbs after a year of using the total recommended dose of 1.8 mg of Victoza for weight-loss.

How Quickly Does Victoza Work?

Typically, it may take up to 2 weeks for Victoza to start lowering your blood sugar levels and stimulating weight loss. However, in most cases, it may take up to four weeks for patients to see a noticeable improvement in their weight and blood sugar levels.

What Are The Dangers of Taking Victoza?

Like with other GLP-1 weight-loss drugs, Victoza may cause several unwanted side effects when you first begin the treatment. In most cases, these side effects are usually minor and will typically improve over the first few weeks as your body adjusts to the medicine. The most common side effects that patients experience while using Victoza include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upper respiratory tract infections

Although most people usually only experience mild side effects from injecting Victoza pens, the medication can increase the risks of more severe health complications, especially in patients with pre-existing conditions, such as:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Gallbladder complications
  • Kidney issues
  • Allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Patients with a history of thyroid cancer in their family should also avoid using Victoza as similar liraglutide medications have been shown to increase the risk for thyroid C cell tumors in animal studies. Make sure to disclose any pre-existing conditions and discuss the risks with your physician before you consider using Victoza as a weight loss treatment.

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    What’s The Difference Between Saxenda and Victoza?

    Although Saxenda and Victoza are both GLP-1 medications that contain liraglutide and share similarities in weight loss treatment, the two prescriptions have some noticeable key differences regarding their usage and side effects.

    Uses

    For example, Victoza is FDA-approved to help regulate blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes who are ten years or older and reduce the risk of certain heart complications in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Technically, Victoza is not approved for weight loss, but the medication has been shown to help Type 2 diabetics lose weight, which is why many physicians prescribe it as a weight loss treatment to patients suffering from weight gain caused by diabetes.

    However, Saxenda is officially FDA-approved as a chronic weight loss treatment for people ages 12 and older who suffer from overweight gain or obesity. Saxenda is typically prescribed to non-diabetic patients as a long-term solution for weight loss and is primarily used for adults with a BMI greater than 30kg. The medication also works well for adults with a BMI of 27 kg caused by weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even Type 2 diabetes. Children that are 12 years and older that suffer from obesity (based on their age) are usually prescribed Saxenda when they weigh more than 132 pounds or also have a BMI higher than 30kg.

    Dosage Level

    Although both medications require daily injections, there is a key difference in how they are taken. Victoza dosages are typically given in 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, and 1.8 mg injections depending on the treatment plan that your doctor prescribes. In most cases, physicians will normally start off patients on a 0.6 mg dose of Victoza before gradually increasing the dosage after the first week of treatment.

    Physicians who prescribe Saxenda will also start patients with 0.6 mg in the beginning and gradually increase the dosage over the course of treatment until patients eventually reach the recommended 3 mg dose for every injection, as the higher dosage is more effective in stimulating weight loss in people with obesity. Studies show that patients who took 3mg of Saxenda daily lost an average of 21 pounds after a year of combining the medication with healthy eating habits and regular exercise.

    Side Effects

    Because Saxenda and Victoza both contain liraglutide, which helps to slow gastric emptying, the two medications also share similar gastrointestinal side effects, such as:

    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Low appetite
    • Indigestion
    • Reduced appetite
    • Vomiting

    In terms of more severe health conditions, both Saxenda and Victoza also have the potential to cause or exacerbate severe medical complications such as kidney problems, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, hypoglycemia, and thyroid cancer. And since both Saxenda and Victoza are typically administered via injection, both medications can cause redness or itching at the injection site.

    However, since Saxenda uses a higher dose than Victoza, there are cases where some of the side effects may differ. Victoza has only a few side effects that are unique to the medication, such as back pain and upper respiratory infections like the common cold, whereas common side effects that are usually associated with using Saxenda include:

    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Abdominal pain
    • Increased heart rate
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • Insomnia
    • Anxiety

    Even though Saxenda and Victoza are both weight loss drugs that contain liraglutide, the two brands are approved for two different uses, so it is highly recommended that you don’t attempt to switch back and forth between the two medications. Discontinuing Victoza and abruptly switching to the Saxenda may lead to dangerous side effects and severe damage to your body. However, if you believe one may be a better option for you than the other, you should make sure to consult your doctor before switching your treatment.

    At The Slim Weight Loss Clinic, we specialize in weight loss treatment for people struggling with weight management and obesity. Our team of physicians and wellness experts combines effective weight-loss medications and dietary plans to help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Contact us at 1-866-755-0594 and schedule a consultation with one of our physicians to find out how our weight loss programs can help you to change your weight loss goals.

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    FAQ

    What is the average weight loss on Victoza?

    In clinical studies, patients who took 1.2 mg of Victoza daily lost an average of 4.6 pounds after a year of treatment. Other patients that took the total recommended dose of 1.8 mg of Victoza as a daily regimen lost an average of 5.5 lbs in the same timeframe.

    What are the bad side effects of Victoza?

    The most common side effects of Victoza include diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, indigestion, and constipation. Since Victoza works to lower glucose levels, patients, especially Type 2 diabetics, may also experience dizziness, weakness, and confusion as a result of low blood sugar.

    Can non-diabetics take Victoza for weight loss?

    No. Victoza is not FDA-approved for weight loss in people that are not Type 2 diabetic. However, Saxenda is an FDA-approved option for non-diabetic patients that suffer from chronic weight gain and obesity.

    Is it better to take Victoza in the morning or at night?

    Victoza can be taken at any time of the day. However, for consistency, it is recommended that you take Victoza at the same time every day to avoid overdosing.

    How quickly does Victoza work?

    Although Victoza may affect every patient differently, most patients will start to see results between the first 2-4 weeks of treatment.

    Testimonials

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