What is Victoza (Liraglutide)?
Liraglutide is approved for use in patients with Type 2 diabetes but clinical studies have revealed that it is an effective weight loss agent and can be prescribed off label for patients who are overweight or obese. Marketed as Victoza, Liraglutide can be prescribed in the UK for immediate dispensing and next day delivery.
How does Victoza (Liraglutide) work?
Liraglutide is delivered by way of a daily subcutaneous injection and makes patients feel more full and satisfied with less food. It also reduces the speed by which the stomach empties, which also makes patients being treated with Liraglutide, crave food less.
Is Liraglutide effective?
In a Europe-wide trial of 554 people with a body mass index of between 30 and 40 (making them clinically obese), patients lost significant amounts of weight.
Sticking to a calorie controlled diet and taking exercise, at week 20, the following results were observed:
- Average weight loss was 7.2kg for those on the 3mg dose, compared with those taking the obesity medication orlistat (Xenical), who lost 4.1 kg, and those taking the placebo, where the average weight lost was only 2.8 kg
- 76% of patients lost at least 5% of their body weight, compared with 44% on orlistat and 30% on the placebo
- Patients taking the lower 1.2 mg dose lost 4.8 kg, those taking the 1.8mg dose lost 5.5 kg and those taking the 2.4mg dose lost 6.3 kg
Can I Buy Victoza (Liraglutide)?
If you are a Type 2 diabetic then you will need to speak to your doctor about this medication to control your condition. You should not attempt to change your treatment regimen without speaking to your GP. If you are looking to be prescribed Victoza for weight loss then this is possible. Prescribing Victoza “off label” for weight loss is being done by some doctors as it is believed that the overall health benefits outweigh the risk of side effects.
What are the side effects of Liraglutide?
Most patients taking Liraglutide did not experience any side effects. Some patients reported nausea and vomiting but the events were not sufficiently grave to make them stop taking the medication and were generally short-lived.
There have however been concerns that Liraglutide may cause thyroid tumours after mice developed the cancer. However, it is thought that mice have a specific sensitivity, which does not apply to humans. There have also been reports of an increased likelihood of pancreatitis.
When will Liraglutide be available?
Liraglutide has already been approved by the European Medicines Agency for diabetes so approval as an obesity treatment should be easier than if it were a brand new drug. Clinical trials are on-going but preliminary results are extremely positive.
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