Victoza and weight loss: Can Victoza help you lose weight?

Victoza is a once-daily injection that helps people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, lower HbA1c and improve insulin sensitivity.

However, many doctors prescribe the drug for people with type 1 diabetes, prediabetes, and in some circumstances people trying to lose weight.

Healthy weight management is a complex issue. You may be interested in taking Victoza for weight loss, or if you are prescribed Victoza you may be wondering about its effect on weight loss.

In this article, we will explore the use of Victoza for weight loss and answer some common questions about taking Victoza.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is a liquid medicine that comes in a pre-filled pen and is self-administered once a day.

The active substance in Victoza is liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist.

Other GLP-1 agonist drugs you may be familiar with include Ozempic, which is prescribed for similar purposes.

Victoza reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver while increasing the body’s secretion of insulin. Together, these changes improve insulin sensitivity and can help control blood sugar levels.

Victoza slightly changes the way your body digests food. One of these changes slows down the speed at which food passes through the digestive tract. This makes you feel full longer after meals.

Who can take Victoza?

Victoza is widely prescribed, and its off-label use (meaning its uses for purposes not explicitly part of official FDA approval) have been increasing in recent years.

Adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher and those with a BMI of 27 or higher who have one or more weight-related conditions are often prescribed Victoza off-label.

Off-label use of Victoza in people with type 1 diabetes is not approved by the FDA due to the risk of hypoglycaemia when combining Victoza with insulin. However, its use has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Victoza is not recommended if you have a personal or family history of certain types of thyroid cancer. This treatment may increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

Can Victoza help you lose weight?

Yes, there is substantial evidence that Victoza can help people lose weight.

Although Victoza is not approved by the FDA as a weight loss drug, the drug suppresses appetite and slows down digestion – in addition to reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

Many doctors prescribe Victoza to patients to help them lose weight – usually in conjunction with recommending a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet and regular exercise.

Randomized controlled trials of Victoza showed that participants taking Victoza were more likely to lose 5% or 10% of their total body weight when they followed the dietary and exercise recommendations.

This was compared to those taking a placebo but with the same diet and exercise recommendations. The end result was an average weight loss of 5.8 kg or 12.75 lbs apart from diet and exercise alone.

Are you interested in introducing new healthy habits? Here are some simple weight loss tips you can try, along with taking medications such as Victoza.

How fast does Victoza work for weight loss?

Clinical studies suggest that people may start to experience weight loss within the first few weeks of taking Victoza. However, the amount and time frame of losing this weight will vary from person to person.

A 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who took Victoza for 56 weeks lost an average of 8.4 pounds.

The researchers also showed that most of the weight loss occurred within the first 8–16 weeks of treatment, although weight loss continued in many participants.

Weight loss with Victoza also seems to be permanent. Many studies lasting a year or more have shown that weight loss is permanent.

Many factors will affect how quickly you lose weight on Victoza – and how much weight you ultimately lose. Your starting weight, diet, types of exercise you do, and overall health will all make a difference.

It is important that you discuss weight loss and other health goals with your doctor and healthcare team before you start taking Victoza.

What are the side effects of Victoza?

You may experience severe side effects when you start taking Victoza. According to the manufacturer of the drug, the most common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Constipation

After a few weeks of taking the drug, most of these symptoms disappear. Your doctor may also start you on a lower starting dose to avoid these symptoms.

If your side effects don’t go away or get worse, it’s important to see your doctor right away.

More serious and rarer side effects of Victoza include:

  • Low blood sugar (especially if you are also taking insulin)
  • Allergic reactions
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Kidney problems
  • Problems with the gallbladder

Before you start taking Victoza, it’s important to share any personal or family history of thyroid cancer with your doctor. It is believed that taking GLP-1 agonists such as Victoza and Ozempic may increase the risk of some thyroid cancers.

How much Victoza do you take for weight loss?

There is no recommended dosage as Victoza is not specifically approved by the FDA for weight loss.

Talk to your doctor if you have type 2 diabetes and want to lose weight. There are diabetes treatments specifically approved by the FDA for weight loss.

Who shouldn’t take Victoza for weight loss?

People with a family or family history of thyroid cancer should probably not take Victoza due to a hypothetical increased risk of developing thyroid C-cell tumors in animal studies.

The same contraindication exists for people with a personal or family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome.

People with a history of pancreatitis are also advised not to take Victoza.

People taking short-acting/rapid-acting insulin should also exercise caution when taking Victoza due to the increased risk of hypoglycaemia.

While Victoza is increasingly being prescribed to people with type 1 diabetes (and others who take bolus/correction insulin), it’s important to be aware of the risk of low blood sugar and know what to do if you experience one.

Is Ozempic or Victoza better for weight loss?

Ozempic and Victoza work similarly and both can help with weight loss. Each has important pluses and minuses.

While neither drug is FDA-approved as a weight-loss drug, both suppress appetite and slow digestion. They also help stabilize blood sugar levels, which causes many people to lose weight while taking any of them.

Research published in late 2022 provided strong evidence of Victoza weight loss, but noted that people tended to lose more weight while taking Ozempic.

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