OverviewDosageSide EffectsInteractionsHalf-Life

The following serious adverse reactions of Victoza (liraglutide) are discussed in greater detail in other sections:

  • The most common adverse reactions, reported in ≥5% of patients treated with VICTOZA are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, dyspepsia, constipation.
  • Immunogenicity-related events, including urticaria, were more common among VICTOZA-treated patients (0.8%) than among comparator-treated patients (0.4%) in clinical trials.

Adverse Reactions

The following serious adverse reactions are described below or elsewhere in the prescribing information:

  • Risk of Thyroid C-cell Tumors
  • Pancreatitis
  • Use with Medications Known to Cause Hypoglycemia
  • Renal Impairment
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Common Adverse Reactions

The safety of VICTOZA in subjects with type 2 diabetes was evaluated in 5 glycemic control, placebo-controlled trials in adults and one trial of 52 weeks duration in pediatric patients 10 years of age and older. The data in Table 1 reflect exposure of 1673 adult patients to VICTOZA and a mean duration of exposure to VICTOZA of 37.3 weeks. The mean age of adult patients was 58 years, 4% were 75 years or older and 54% were male. The population was 79% White, 6% Black or African American, 13% Asian; 4% were of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. At baseline, the population had diabetes for an average of 9.1 years and a mean HbA1c of 8.4%. Baseline estimated renal function was normal or mildly impaired in 88.1% and moderately impaired in 11.9% of the pooled population.

Table 1 shows common adverse reactions in adults, excluding hypoglycemia, associated with the use of VICTOZA. These adverse reactions occurred more commonly on VICTOZA than on placebo and occurred in at least 5% of patients treated with VICTOZA. Overall, the type, and severity of adverse reactions in adolescents and children aged 10 years and above were comparable to that observed in the adult population.

Table 1 Adverse reactions reported in ≥ 5% of VICTOZA-treated patients

PlaceboN=661Liraglutide 1.2 mgN= 645Liraglutide 1.8 mgN= 1024
Adverse Reaction(%)(%)(%)
Decreased appetite1109
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection676
Back Pain345

Cumulative proportions were calculated combining studies using Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel weights.

In an analysis of placebo- and active-controlled trials, the types and frequency of common adverse reactions, excluding hypoglycemia, were similar to those listed in Table 1.

Other Adverse Reactions

Gastrointestinal Adverse Reactions

In the pool of 5 glycemic control, placebo-controlled clinical trials, withdrawals due to gastrointestinal adverse reactions, occurred in 4.3% of VICTOZA-treated patients and 0.5% of placebo-treated patients. Withdrawal due to gastrointestinal adverse events mainly occurred during the first 2-3 months of the trials.

Injection site reactions

Injection site reactions (e.g., injection site rash, erythema) were reported in approximately 2% of VICTOZA-treated patients in the five double-blind, glycemic control trials of at least 26 weeks duration. Less than 0.2% of VICTOZA-treated patients discontinued due to injection site reactions.


In 5 adult glycemic control, placebo-controlled clinical trials of at least 26 weeks duration, hypoglycemia requiring the assistance of another person for treatment occurred in 8 VICTOZA-treated patients (7.5 events per 1000 patient-years). Of these 8 VICTOZA-treated patients, 7 patients were concomitantly using a sulfonylurea.

 Placebo Comparator VICTOZA Treatment
Add-on toMetforminPlacebo + Metformin(N = 121)VICTOZA + Metformin (N = 724)
Patient not able to self-treat 0 0.1 (0.001)
Patient able to self-treat 2.5 (0.06) 3.6 (0.05)
Add-on toGlimepiride Placebo + Glimepiride (N = 114) VICTOZA + Glimepiride (N = 695)
Patient not able to self-treat 0 0.1 (0.003)
Patient able to self-treat 2.6 (0.17) 7.5 (0.38)
Not classified 0 0.9 (0.05)
Add-on toMetformin + Rosiglitazone Placebo + Metformin + Rosiglitazone(N = 175)VICTOZA + Metformin +Rosiglitazone (N = 355)
Patient not able to self-treat 0 0
Patient able to self-treat 4.6 (0.15) 7.9 (0.49)
Not classified 1.1 (0.03) 0.6 (0.01)
Add-on toMetformin + Glimepiride Placebo + Metformin + Glimepiride(N = 114)VICTOZA + Metformin +Glimepiride (N = 230)
Patient not able to self-treat 0 2.2 (0.06)
Patient able to self-treat 16.7 (0.95) 27.4 (1.16)
Not classified 0 0

“Patient not able to self-treat” is defined as an event requiring the assistance of another person for treatment.

In a 26-week pediatric placebo-controlled clinical trial with a 26-week open-label extension, 21.2% of VICTOZA treated patients (mean age 14.6 years) with type 2 diabetes, had hypoglycemia with a blood glucose <54 mg/dL with or without symptoms (335 events per 1000 patient years). No severe hypoglycemic episodes occurred in the VICTOZA treatment group (severe hypoglycemia was defined as an episode requiring assistance of another person to actively administer carbohydrate, glucagon, or other resuscitative actions).

Papillary thyroid carcinoma

In glycemic control trials of VICTOZA, there were 7 reported cases of papillary thyroid carcinoma in patients treated with VICTOZA and 1 case in a comparator-treated patient (1.5 vs. 0.5 cases per 1000 patient-years). Most of these papillary thyroid carcinomas were <1 cm in greatest diameter and were diagnosed in surgical pathology specimens after thyroidectomy prompted by findings on protocol-specified screening with serum calcitonin or thyroid ultrasound.

Cholelithiasis and cholecystitis

In glycemic control trials of VICTOZA, the incidence of cholelithiasis was 0.3% in both VICTOZA-treated and placebo-treated patients. The incidence of cholecystitis was 0.2% in both VICTOZA-treated and placebo-treated patients.

In the LEADER trial, the incidence of cholelithiasis was 1.5% (3.9 cases per 1000 patient-years of observation) in VICTOZA-treated and 1.1% (2.8 cases per 1000 patient-years of observation) in placebo-treated patients, both on a background of standard of care. The incidence of acute cholecystitis was 1.1% (2.9 cases per 1000 patient-years of observation) in VICTOZA-treated and 0.7% (1.9 cases per 1000 patient-years of observation) in placebo-treated patients.

Laboratory Tests


In the five glycemic control trials of at least 26 weeks duration, mildly elevated serum bilirubin concentrations (elevations to no more than twice the upper limit of the reference range) occurred in 4.0% of VICTOZA-treated patients, 2.1% of placebo-treated patients and 3.5% of active-comparator-treated patients. This finding was not accompanied by abnormalities in other liver tests. The significance of this isolated finding is unknown.


Calcitonin, a biological marker of MTC, was measured throughout the clinical development program. At the end of the glycemic control trials, adjusted mean serum calcitonin concentrations were higher in VICTOZA-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients but not compared to patients receiving active comparator. Between-group differences in adjusted mean serum calcitonin values were approximately 0.1 ng/L or less. Among patients with pretreatment calcitonin <20 ng/L, calcitonin elevations to >20 ng/L occurred in 0.7% of VICTOZA-treated patients, 0.3% of placebo-treated patients, and 0.5% of active-comparator-treated patients. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.

Lipase and Amylase

In one glycemic control trial in renal impairment patients, a mean increase of 33% for lipase and 15% for amylase from baseline was observed for VICTOZA-treated patients while placebo-treated patients had a mean decrease in lipase of 3% and a mean increase in amylase of 1%.

In the LEADER trial, serum lipase and amylase were routinely measured. Among VICTOZA-treated patients, 7.9% had a lipase value at any time during treatment of greater than or equal to 3 times the upper limit of normal compared with 4.5% of placebo-treated patients, and 1% of VICTOZA-treated patients had an amylase value at any time during treatment of greater than or equal to 3 times the upper limit of normal versus 0.7% of placebo-treated patients.

The clinical significance of elevations in lipase or amylase with VICTOZA is unknown in the absence of other signs and symptoms of pancreatitis.

Vital signs

VICTOZA did not have adverse effects on blood pressure. Mean increases from baseline in heart rate of 2 to 3 beats per minute have been observed with VICTOZA compared to placebo.


Consistent with the potentially immunogenic properties of protein and peptide pharmaceuticals, patients treated with VICTOZA may develop anti-liraglutide antibodies. The detection of antibody formation is highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody (including neutralizing antibody) positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, the incidence of antibodies to liraglutide cannot be directly compared with the incidence of antibodies of other products.

Approximately 50-70% of VICTOZA-treated patients in five double-blind clinical trials of 26 weeks duration or longer were tested for the presence of anti-liraglutide antibodies at the end of treatment.  Low titers (concentrations not requiring dilution of serum) of anti-liraglutide antibodies were detected in 8.6% of these VICTOZA-treated patients.  Cross-reacting anti-liraglutide antibodies to native glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) occurred in 6.9% of the VICTOZA-treated patients in the double-blind 52-week monotherapy trial and in 4.8% of the VICTOZA-treated patients in the double-blind 26-week add-on combination therapy trials.  These cross-reacting antibodies were not tested for neutralizing effect against native GLP-1, and thus the potential for clinically significant neutralization of native GLP-1 was not assessed.  Antibodies that had a neutralizing effect on liraglutide in an in vitro assay occurred in 2.3% of the VICTOZA-treated patients in the double-blind 52-week monotherapy trial and in 1.0% of the VICTOZA-treated patients in the double-blind 26-week add-on combination therapy trials.

Antibody formation was not associated with reduced efficacy of VICTOZA when comparing mean HbA1c of all antibody-positive and all antibody-negative patients.  However, the 3 patients with the highest titers of anti-liraglutide antibodies had no reduction in HbA1c with VICTOZA treatment. 

In five double-blind glycemic control trials of VICTOZA, events from a composite of adverse events potentially related to immunogenicity (e.g. urticaria, angioedema) occurred among 0.8% of VICTOZA-treated patients and among 0.4% of comparator-treated patients. Urticaria accounted for approximately one-half of the events in this composite for VICTOZA-treated patients. Patients who developed anti-liraglutide antibodies were not more likely to develop events from the immunogenicity events composite than were patients who did not develop anti-liraglutide antibodies.

In the LEADER trial, anti-liraglutide antibodies were detected in 11 out of 1247 (0.9%) VICTOZA-treated patients with antibody measurements.

Of the 11 VICTOZA-treated patients who developed anti-liraglutide antibodies, none were observed to develop neutralizing antibodies to liraglutide, and 5 patients (0.4%) developed cross-reacting antibodies against native GLP-1.

In a clinical trial with pediatric patients 10 to 17 years, anti-liraglutide antibodies were detected in 1 (1.5%) VICTOZA treated patient at week 26 and 5 (8.5%) VICTOZA treated patients at week 53. None of the 5 had antibodies cross-reactive to native GLP-1 or had neutralizing antibodies.

Post-Marketing Experience

The following additional adverse reactions have been reported during post-approval use of VICTOZA. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is generally not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Dehydration resulting from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Increased serum creatinine, acute renal failure, or worsening of chronic renal failure, sometimes requiring hemodialysis.
  • Angioedema and anaphylactic reactions.
  • Allergic reactions: rash and pruritus
  • Acute pancreatitis, hemorrhagic and necrotizing pancreatitis sometimes resulting in death
  • Hepatobiliary disorders: elevations of liver enzymes, hepatitis
  • This may not include all of the adverse effects

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

Medically Reviewed by:

Paul Bossung

Paul Bossung, Pharm. D. is a Missouri Board of Pharmacy certified pharmacist. He practices at a Mercy ospital  in in the inpatient pharmacy aswell as other outpatient pharmacies.  Paul attended St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) and graduated in 2018. He worked at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon for six years as a student pharmacist prior to graduating.OVERVIEWDOSAGESIDE EFFECTSINTERACTIONSHALF-LIFE

Generic Name: Liraglutide

Brands: Victoza,Victoza 3-Pak, Victoza 2-Pak, Saxenda

Class: Antidiabetics, Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Agonists

Availability: Prescription only

Molecular Formula: â€ŽC172H265N43O51

Substance UNII: 839I73S42A

What is Victoza?

Victoza is an injectable anti-diabetic drug regularly used with other diabetes medications. The generic drug liraglutide is often sold under the brand names Victoza 3-Pak, Victoza 2-Pak, and Saxenda.

What is Victoza Used For?

People with diabetes use Victoza along with diet and exercise to lower their blood sugar levels and to control their A1C(a blood test that detects blood sugar levels from the previous 3 months). Victoza can control blood sugar levels in adults and in children aged 10 and older who have type 2 diabetes when other medications have not worked well enough. When used along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, this medication can help promote and maintain weight loss people who are overweight or obese and have weight-related medical problems.

Victoza can also reduce the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have heart and blood vessel disease.

How Does Victoza Work?

Victoza works by increasing the amount of insulin released by the pancreas and by decreasing the excessive release of glucagon. Namely, insulin “unlocks” body cells to allow the cells to absorb sugar, or glucose, from the bloodstream; absorption of glucose from the bloodstream allows blood sugar levels to drop. Glucagon is a hormone that stops the absorption of glucose from the bloodstream to prevent blood sugar levels from dropping too low. An excessive release of glucagon would thereby cause the body to maintain an unhealthy high blood sugar level, known as hyperglycemia.

How Long Does it Take for Victoza to Work?

It takes about two weeks for Victoza to lower blood sugar levels, according to the manufacturer’s website.

Do Not Use Victoza If:

There are several situations where Victoza may not be the right choice for a consumer. According to the FDA, the following should not use Victoza:

  • Those with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma, a type of cancer that affects the thyroid, or in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia, which is a group of disorders that affect the endocrine system (a system that releases hormones to the body)
  • Those with a prior serious hypersensitivity reaction, which is an overreaction of the immune system, to Victoza or any of its components

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where Victoza use is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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