Overview of Victoza Injection for Type 2 Diabetes

Victoza (liraglutide) injection is an injectable non-insulin medication used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It helps stimulate insulin production and suppress excess sugar production by the liver.

This post covers key details healthcare providers and patients should know about Victoza including its uses, proper administration technique, dosing guidelines, side effect risks, warnings, storage recommendations and manufacturer information.

Indications for Use of Victoza

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Victoza injection for the following uses:

  • As monotherapy to lower blood glucose when diet, exercise, and metformin therapy prove inadequate in controlling blood sugars
  • In combination with other glucose lowering medications when they fail to provide adequate blood sugar control on their own, including:
    • Metformin
    • Sulfonylureas
    • Basal or prandial insulin
    • Sodium glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors

Victoza is not a substitute for insulin and should NOT be used alone to treat type 1 diabetes where insulin dependence exists. However it can complement basal insulin therapy when combined treatment offers better outcomes than either therapy alone.

How Victoza Works to Control Blood Sugars

Victoza contains the active ingredient liraglutide, which mimics the glucose regulatory actions of the human GLP-1 hormone. It works by:

  • Stimulating insulin release from the pancreas when blood sugars rise after meals
  • Suppressing excess sugar production by the liver
  • Slowing digestion to prevent blood sugar spikes after eating

Together these effects facilitate better 24-hour blood glucose control with a relatively low risk of hypoglycemia compared to many other diabetes medications.

Recommended Starting Dose and Administration

Victoza dosing must be individualized for each patient based on doctor recommendations. However, standard guidelines include:

Starting dose: 0.6mg injected under skin once daily for at least one week

Maintenance dose: After first week, increase to 1.2mg daily. If needed for further control, dose can be raised to 1.8mg per doctor discretion.

Administration:

  • Use prefilled multi-dose pen device only
  • Inject solution subcutaneously (under skin) of abdomen, thigh or upper arm
  • Rotate injection sites daily; Never share needles between patients

On the following pages are step-by-step instructions with images for preparing and self-injecting doses using the Victoza pen device provided.

What to Do If a Dose Is Missed

If you miss taking your scheduled daily injection, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However if more than 12 hours have passed since missing your dose, skip the late dose and just take your normal dose the following day.

Do NOT double up on injections the next day to try to ‘catch up’. Simply resume your regular once daily schedule based on your prescribed dosage. Inform your healthcare provider if multiple missed doses occur so any adjustments needed can be made.

Side Effects and Safety Warnings

The most common Victoza side effects (up to 10% incidence) include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Common cold symptoms

These tend to resolve over several weeks of continued use. Taking doses with food or using slower dose titration schedules can minimize gastrointestinal reactions.

Rare but serious risks requiring emergency care include:

  • Hypoglycemia – confusion, sweating, fast heartbeat, anxiety
  • Pancreatitis – severe stomach pain, vomiting, nausea
  • Kidney problems – nausea, fatigue, leg swelling
  • Severe allergic reaction – trouble breathing, body swelling

Discontinue Victoza and seek immediate treatment if any severe side effects like these develop, especially if accompanied by systemic symptoms.

Warnings and Contraindications

Victoza should NOT be used in those with:

  • Personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2
  • Prior serious hypersensitivity reaction to Victoza or any of its components
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Use under doctor supervision in patients with:

  • Renal impairment
  • Hepatic impairment
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • History of diabetic retinopathy
  • High comorbidity burden

Does Victoza Interact With Other Medications?

Clinically significant drug interactions involving Victoza are unlikely. However, the risk of hypoglycemia rises when combined with other glucose-lowering agents like:

  • Insulin
  • Sulfonylureas
  • SGLT2 inhibitors

Doses of these accompanying diabetes medications may need adjustment or closer monitoring of blood glucose levels.

Inform all doctors about use of Victoza if also taking anticoagulant therapy or thyroid medications since dosage modifications may be warranted in some cases.

How to Properly Store Unopened and In-Use Victoza

To maintain drug stability and sterility, important storage rules include:

Before Opening:

  • Refrigerate unopened Victoza between 2-8°C
  • Do NOT freeze or place near freezer compartment
  • Store in original packaging

In-Use:

  • Can keep at room temperature below 30°C for up to 1 month
  • Do not refrigerate in-use pens
  • Keep pen cap on when not actively taking doses
  • Discard if solution appears cloudy or discolored

General:

  • Check product expiration dates
  • Keep out sight and reach of children and pets

Properly stored, Victoza retains potency up to the imprinted manufacturer expiration date. Safely discard pens after this date or when all doses are fully administered.

Who Manufactures and Distributes Victoza?

Victoza is produced and distributed by Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical manufacturer headquartered in Denmark.

Contact Novo Nordisk using the information provided with your Victoza prescription packaging if any further product use questions arise.

Key Takeaways About Victoza Injection

In summary, Victoza provides an additional glucose control option for managing type 2 diabetes as an injectable non-insulin therapy. It can lower HbA1c levels by over 1% on average along with benefits for body weight compared to various common diabetes medications. However, balanced nutrition, activity levels and any other glucose lowering medications remain the foundation of good outcomes.

Remember Victoza dosing must be individualized, requires proper injection technique, and has risks of side effects – so adherence to usage directions and safety precautions are critical. Report any intolerable side effects or problems managing this therapy to your diabetes care team right away to determine next best steps for care.