According to recent statistics, more than 2 in 3 adults in the United States is considered to be overweight or have obesity. And while that statistic in itself is a problem, the real issue is that diet and exercise change alone may not be enough for some of these individuals. Changes in metabolism, as well as other associated factors, make it progressively harder for some individuals to lose weight than others. Fortunately, Victoza, a new drug designed for diabetics, is showing promise for supporting weight loss in nondiabetic patients as well.

How Does Victoza Work?

The brand name of the drug liraglutide, Victoza was designed as a medication to help individuals with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. Generally speaking, type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body does not properly use insulin. Victoza actually supports the pancreas and helps it release the amount of insulin needed to offset blood sugar spikes. It also manages the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

victoza illustration how it works

The medication functions in some of the same ways for helping overweight individuals lose weight. In fact, Victoza supports weight loss in three main ways.

1. Slows food exiting the stomach

Upon ingestion of food, the body automatically begins the digestion process. During this process if food exits the stomach too quickly, the blood sugar levels may spike, which can lead to overproduction of insulin and weight gain. Victoza works like the hormone GLP-1 and helps to slow the process of food leaving your stomach. This process helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces weight gain and can contribute to weight loss.

2. Prevents overproduction of sugar

Some individuals who are overweight or obese may be so because of the overproduction of sugar in their livers. If the liver produces too much sugar, blood sugar increases and leads to weight gain. Victoza for weight loss helps regulate the amount of sugar produced in the liver and, thus, supports weight loss.

3. Regulates insulin production

If the blood sugar level is too high, the body naturally signals the pancreas to pump out additional insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. However, this can cause issues with weight as the excess of insulin in the body encourages fat storage. Victoza helps to regulate the amount of insulin produced when the blood sugar levels are high.

In a recent study, the higher dose of Victoza for weight loss helped individuals lose an average of 14 pounds. Those on the lower dose of the medication last an average of 11 pounds. While those who took a placebo dropped only four pounds.

How to Use Victoza

Victoza is a prescription medication, so it is important that patients consult a doctor to discuss all of the options prior to beginning a regimen with the treatment. If approved, following the approved treatment plan and prescribed dose is important.

The medication is an injectable prescription. A medical provider should outline specific guidelines for injection and use with any user. In any case, though, the treatment should not be used at the same time as insulin or any other medication. Most patients inject Victoza for weight loss into the stomach, back of the arm, thigh, or other fleshy part of the body. The lower 1.8 mg dose of Victoza is typically prescribed for those with diabetes. However, the higher 3 mg does is often used by weight loss patients.

Victoza should be used in addition to diet and exercise to support weight loss. Again, it is important for individuals to consult with a medical provider or certified nutritionist for exact guidelines. But paired with a balanced diet and regular exercise, Victoza is an effective way to support weight management.

Precautions for Using Victoza for Weight Loss

Because it functions in much the same way as a hormone, Victoza does require caution with use. It is important for individuals to understand the risks prior to beginning a regimen with the drug.

Victoza may increase one’s risk of developing tumors in the thyroid gland, including thyroid cancer. Patients should discuss any family history of thyroid issues or cancer with their primary provider. Likewise, if the patient should develop hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, or a noticeable lump or swelling in the neck, he or she should contact the doctor immediately.

Victoza for weight loss has also been linked to inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis as well as pancreatic cancer. Individuals should speak with their doctor about these risks before beginning treatment.

Side Effects of Victoza

  • Some individuals experience side effects associated with the treatment. Side effects include:
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or constipation;
  • Heartburn;
  • Change of appetite;
  • Headache;
  • Runny nose, sneezing, or cough;
  • Fatigue;
  • Rash or redness at injection site;
  • Difficulty urinating.

Serious Side Effects of Victoza

The medication is not designed for those individuals with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. In either case, the results can be dangerous if left untreated or treated improperly. Before beginning a Victoza for weight loss regimen, individuals should tell their doctor if they are experiencing or have had:

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Trouble digesting food
  • High triglycerides
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Patients should also take into consideration that Victoza is only a supplemental treatment to a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle. To achieve lasting weight loss, individuals should combine Victoza with a clean, portion-controlled diet and regular exercise.

Summing Up

Victoza is an FDA approved medication used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. Along with diet and exercise, it is effective for helping lower and regulate the blood sugar levels in the body, so it has also been found effective for supporting weight loss. Patients should work closely with a doctor to consider all options before beginning a Victoza for weight loss regimen. Likewise, following the medical professional’s specific guidelines for use is important during treatment is important to avoid complications. Because of the nature of the medication, Victoza is not without warnings, so it is important to discuss the potential side effects with a healthcare professional. At any rate, Victoza may be an effective option for those struggling to lose weight and/or with a significant amount of weight to lose.

Images: victoza.com.