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Victoza for Weight Loss: Can it Help Non-Diabetics?

Victoza for Weight Loss: Can it Help Non-Diabetics?
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 4 min read

Victoza is a prescription drug that was developed for diabetes. However, it also has the added benefit of causing weight loss in both non-diabetics and people with diabetes. Approved in 2010, Victoza was designed to treat people with Type 2 diabetes. 

Victoza is an injection medication that should be taken once per day. It can be injected into the upper arms, thighs, or stomach. Recent studies have found Victoza to be effective in treating both diabetes and facilitating weight loss. According to experts, when you eat, a hormone called insulin is released and triggers the body to use sugar for energy. 

However, people with Type 2 diabetes don’t receive enough insulin from their pancreas, so their bodies cannot properly process sugar in their bloodstream. According to GoodRX Health, some people require prescription medications to lose weight. Though it was originally approved only for treating diabetes, studies have found Victoza to assist in weight loss. The drug was not approved to treat obesity. Instead, it was designed to lower blood sugar in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. According to a recent drug trial, patients without diabetes taking a 3-milligram dose each day lost significantly more weight on Victoza than those taking a placebo. 

Another study placed patients on a double-blind phase lla trial for a period of 56 weeks. The study verified that those taking the drug lost weight. Victoza is one of only a few diabetes drugs that is effective in helping people without diabetes lose weight, instead of gaining it. 

A 2018 study performed by Pubmed studied Victoza for weight loss and gave participants different dosages of Victoza to see how it affected their ability to lose weight. The study, which was conducted in eight different countries, was performed in 71 different locations within these countries in individuals without diabetes. Those who participated in the study were adults of age eighteen and above. These individuals had a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kilograms or above. Participants were picked randomly. Patients in the study were started with a 0.5 milligram dose of the medication, which was then increased to 0.6 milligrams per week.  All doses of the medication were dispensed once per day through subcutaneous injections. Participants in the study received the same dosage, which was not the dosage that they were originally targeting. 

Participants in the study were an average of 47 years of age with an overall BMI of 39. While Victoza has been proven successful in the treatment of weight loss, there are also some undesirable side effects you should be aware of. Nausea and vomiting are potential side effects of Victoza. Other possible side effects include diarrhea and constipation. Headaches, decreased appetite, injection site reactions, and upset stomach are all possible side effects. In the event that you experience any of these, contact your doctor. He or she will be able to decide whether the drug is safe for you. Rare side effects of the drug include low blood sugar, a higher risk for thyroid tumors, kidney failure, and gallbladder issues. 

 According to the National Library of Medicine, Victoza has been found to increase glucose tolerance. While Victoza has proven effective for weight loss, it has not been officially approved for that purpose alone. According to African Health Sciences, a scholarly publication, the obesity rate has increased by 30 percent over the past few decades in both Europe and the United States. This has led to an increased need for other medical interventions, such as weight loss medications. 

While Victoza has weight loss benefits, it is still necessary to make lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis. Obesity is a risk factor for a number of medical conditions, including cancer, ischemic heart disease, and diabetes, leading to an increased need for medications like Victoza. Victoza is approved for use by people aged 10 and above. Individuals with weight-related conditions can take and benefit from Victoza. Such conditions include high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Weight loss caused by Victoza can help to improve Type 2 diabetes and prevent other complications, such as coronary heart disease and other heart conditions. In addition to treating diabetes, Victoza has been found to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other related conditions. However, Victoza has also been linked to serious side effects, such as pancreatitis and thyroid cancer.

  You should not take Victoza if you have diabetic ketoacidosis or type 1 diabetes. Studies of Victoza have been conducted on patients who took Victoza for a 26-week or 52-week period. Of all the participants in the survey, those with type 2 diabetes lost the most weight on the medication. According to experts, Victoza suppresses appetite, which makes it easier to lose weight. It also slows the process of digestion, so you may feel fuller, since food stays in your body for a longer period of time. Because you feel fuller longer, you will eat less food, which results in weight loss. 

Obese patients tend to see the most benefits from taking Victoza. Many obese individuals on Victoza lost eight percent of their body weight, when compared to those taking a placebo. Individuals taking the placebo lost only 2.6 percent of their overall body weight. Victoza can be dispensed at a strength of 1.2 milligrams. Patients can take a maximum of three milligrams. Studies found that patients taking the larger dose lost more weight than individuals taking lower doses of the medication.   Individuals taking the higher dose are more likely to lose larger amounts of weight. 

However, weight loss may not be significant in everyone who takes the drug for weight loss. In fact, individuals who took 1.2 milligrams per day lost roughly 2.6 pounds in the first year of usage. Victoza works very similarly to a glucagon peptide that is released after you eat. This peptide affects your blood sugar levels. Because Victoza slows down the body’s process of waste elimination, many patients see a decrease in weight. According to Nice RX, patients taking both Victoza and Metformin can lose a significant amount of weight when taking the medications in tandem. A few other drugs, such as Saxenda, have been approved to promote weight loss as well. You should not take Victoza if you are taking another medication that contains liraglutide, have type 1 diabetes mellitus, or are planning to become pregnant.

You should discuss any preexisting medical conditions you have with your doctor before you take Victoza. Children under 10 should not take this medication. Several other diabetes medications can be taken to help you lose weight. These include Trulicity, Rybelsus, and Ozempic. These medications are similar to Victoza and cause weight loss. Saxenda is an injectable medication that’s been approved for weight loss.    

Manufactured by Novo Nordisk, Saxenda also helps you maintain your weight loss. Rybelsus comes in tablet form and can be taken once per day, with or without food. Although Rybelsus is not specifically made for weight loss, it is a possible side effect of the drug. Manufactured by Eli Lilly, Trulicity is an FDA-approved drug that treats adults with type 2 diabetes. While it is not approved specifically for weight loss, Rybelsus reduces appetite, making it possible to lose weight. Designed by Novo Nordisk, Rybelsus is used to treat type 2 diabetes. 

Victoza may also have interactions with other drugs. Those who take oral medications should not take this drug, as doing so cause those drugs to be absorbed improperly. Additionally, you should talk with your doctor to discuss any negative drug interactions. Victoza can also interact with over-the-counter medications. Taking Victoza with some over the counter medications can lead to other problems. If you are taking any blood pressure medications with Victoza, your doctor will need to monitor your blood pressure to make sure your body is properly processing that medication.

Victoza may increase your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. To ensure that you remain healthy, you should eat a healthy diet and incorporate exercise into your routine. You can take Victoza at any time of the day, but it’s a good idea to get in a routine of taking the medication at the same time each day. According to Pubmed, Victoza has been found effective in the treatment of weight loss when used in conjunction with other drugs. Victoza can be used with other drugs, such as Metformin, to help people lose weight. 

Trulicity is different than insulin. Patients on the drug should still have functioning beta cells in their pancreas. These beta cells store, produce, and release insulin into the body. Trulicity is injected into the body through the stomach, upper arm, or thighs. Trulicity triggers the secretion of insulin. You should not take Trulicity if you have endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 or have a history of medullary thyroid cancer. It should also be avoided if you are experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition. 


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.