In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for liraglutide, trade name VictozaTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Liraglutide is an anti-diabetic medication used to help control high blood sugar in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes known as type 2 diabetes.
This medication is only part of a complete treatment program which may also include exercise, diet, and other medications. Changing any of these factors may affect your blood sugar levels.
Liraglutide mimics hormones in your body. These hormones are produced when you eat, and they work to help the body balance its blood sugar. Liraglutide is not a replacement for insulin and will not work for Type 1 diabetes.
Maintaining proper sugar level in your body helps prevent nerve damage, kidney problems, vision difficulties, decreases heart attack and stroke risk and helps maintain sexual function.
This medication is injected under your skin, once daily, with or without food. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Your doctor will start you with a smaller dose to make sure you tolerate the medication. Your dose may slowly increase based on how you react to the medication. If you miss 3 days or more of your dose, your doctor may have you go back to the smaller dose for a week before restarting your regular dose
Liraglutide is available in a prefilled multi-dose pen that will last 1 month. Do not inject yourself with this medication until you understand exactly how to operate the syringe device. Ask your pharmacist or doctor to show you exactly how to use the syringe and read the User Manual that comes with the pen.
Store the syringe in the refrigerator before its first use. After the first use, you may store the syringe at room temperature for up to 30 days. Discard any unused medication after 30 days.
If your doctor instructs you, check your blood sugar regularly and keep a record of the readings so you may share them with your doctor. If you have any high or low readings, please notify your healthcare provider.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include shaking, sweating, increased heartbeat, blurred vision, tingling in hands and feet and hunger. Most often, low blood sugar will occur following heavy exercise, low-calorie intake, or heavy alcohol use.
Symptoms of high blood sugar include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, rapid breathing, and a fruity breath odor. Let your doctor know if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Diabetes education training programs help you understand diabetes and all the treatment and monitoring that goes along with it. Call your local hospital and ask them when the next diabetes education program is being offered.
Most Important Warnings
- Do not use this medication if you have thyroid cancer or a family history of thyroid cancer. Call your doctor if you begin to have a lump or any swelling in your throat. Talk with your doctor about this risk.
Other Warnings & Cautions
- Call your doctor right away if you have nausea with severe pain in your stomach or back. Your doctor may want to evaluate your pancreas.
- If you are already taking another medication to treat Type 2 diabetes and your doctor wants to start you on this medication, ask your doctor if you need to change the dose of your first medication.
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you should take your oral medications at least 60 minutes before this medication. Some oral medications may not work properly when taken at the same time as liraglutide.
- Carry glucose tablets with you in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. In an emergency, table sugar, orange juice, or any other form of sugar will help raise your blood sugar. Make sure your close friends and family understand how to help you when you experience low blood sugar.
- You may need to check your blood sugar more often when you have a fever, infection, exercise more than usual, skip a meal, drink alcohol or any other event that stresses your body. Ask your doctor how you should adjust your dose if your blood sugar is high or low.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while using liraglutide.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before using this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if liraglutide is safe for you to use.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any pancreas, heart, liver or kidney disease, stomach or intestinal disorder, or a history of any other health conditions.
- While using liraglutide you may feel light headed or dizzy, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness or a decrease in appetite. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you begin to experience a significant change in body weight, persistent nausea and vomiting, severe pain in your stomach spreading to your back, a lump or swelling in your throat area or a racing heart rate.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.