Liraglutide (Subcutaneous)

As a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor antagonist, the Liraglutide injection is prescribed to patients who have type 2 diabetes.

Overview

Liraglutide injection is given to patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. It is given when exercise and diet have failed to give the patient good blood sugar control. It is known medically as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor antagonist.

Be aware that this medicine will be prescribed alongside a suitable diet and exercise plan. This reduced-calorie plan and increased exercise will help you to lose weight and then help to prevent that weight from returning. It is used in patients who also may have high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol.

You can only obtain this medicine with a prescription from your doctor. It requires great levels of care when using it to ensure it is effective. Be aware that this medicine is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle.

Condition (s) treated

  • Type 2 diabetes

Type of medicine

  • Solution

Side effects

As well as having its intended effects, it is possible that the Liraglutide injection will cause you to experience some unwanted effects. These effects can range in their severity and their need for medical assistance. Below is a list of the more serious effect sit can cause. If you do experience any of the following after taking Liraglutide, contact your doctor immediately.

More common

  • General feeling of illness or discomfort

Less common

  • Dizziness

Rare

  • Depression

Incidence not known

  • Vomiting of blood

Instead of these more serious side effects, you may simply experience some of the less severe ones listed below. These do not necessarily require medical attention. In fact, you may find that they pass over time as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, if you do experience any of the following and find them lingering or bothersome, then you can still contact your doctor. They may be able to advise you on ways to help reduce them.

More common

  • Weight loss

Less common

  • Tingling, ulceration, warmth, bleeding, blistering, burning, hives, infection, inflammation, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, swelling, tenderness, coldness, discoloration of the skin, or feeling of pressure at the injection site

You may experience other side effects that have not been listed here. If this is the case, then you can discuss these with your doctor.

Dosage

Below you can find the typical doses of Liraglutide that are prescribed to patients. Be aware that the exact doses you have been told to take may differ somewhat to what is listed below. This is because each patient is different and your doses take into account a number of factors. This includes things like the extent of your condition, how much exercise you are doing, and any other drugs you are currently taking. For this reason, you should follow the doses prescribed to you very closely. If you think they need to be changed at all, then you should first discuss this with your doctor.

For treating type 2 diabetes:

  • Adults. To start, take 0.6mg injected under your skin one time a day for a period of 1 week. This dose may then be increased by your doctor if necessary or until you have control over your blood sugar levels.

For treating obesity:

  • Adults. To start, take 0.6mg injected under your skin one time a day for a period of 1 week. This dose will then be increased by your doctor each week up to 3mg a week.

You should not miss any scheduled doses of this medicine as doing so will impact the effectiveness of your treatment. If you do miss a dose for any reason, you should take it as soon as your remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, then skip the missed one and return to dosing as per your schedule. It is important you do not double dose.

If you Forget to take this medicine for a period of 3 days or more, then contact your doctor for how to proceed.

You will need to check your blood sugar often once you start taking Victoza®. Especially after and before bedtime and meals. This can help decrease your chances of experiencing low blood sugars.

You will find an accompanying Medication Guide with this medicine. You should read it carefully and address any questions to your doctor.

You can take Liraglutide either with or without food.

As you need to take the medicine at home, your doctor will show you how to give it properly You should ensure you fully understand the process before attempting on your own.

Liraglutide is given as a shot under your skin of your upper arm, thighs, or stomach. You should use a different spot each time. You should, therefore, keep track of which areas you inject to allow for proper rotations of shots.

If you take Liraglutide at the same time as insulin, then make sure you do not mix them in the same syringe. You can inject both of these medicines into the same area of the body, but they must not be given right next to one another.

Before you inject Liraglutide, you should ensure it has warmed to room temperature. If you find that the medicine has changed color, has particles in it, or is cloudy, then do not use it.

Each time you inject, you should use a new needle.

You should never share medicine pens with anyone else. Doing so is incredibly unsafe. It can easily result in the transmission of infection.

Once you are finished with needles, dispose of them in a closed, hard container that does not allow needles to poke through. This container should then be stored safely away from pets and children.

Your doctor will give you a special meal plan alongside this medicine. You should follow it carefully. It is, in fact, the most crucial part of treating your type 2 diabetes or obesity. It is also essential in allowing Liraglutide to work correctly. You should also test your blood and urine regularly and exercise appropriately.

Interactions

It is possible that Liraglutide will interact with other medicines you are currently taking. In many cases, your doctor will want to avoid or limit any potential interactions. As such, you should inform them of any other drugs you are currently taking. They may decide to alter the dose of one or both interacting medicines or may change the drugs altogether. You should inform them of any prescription and nonprescription drugs you currently take. Below you can find a list of drugs with which it is usually not recommended you take at the same time as Liraglutide. However, in some cases taking both drugs may be the best course of treatment for you. Under such circumstances, your doctor may simply alter the doses of one or both medicines in order to limit such interactions.

  • Insulin Glargine, Recombinant

If you take Liraglutide at the same time as any of the following drugs, then you may be at an increased risk of experiencing certain side effects, However, in some cases, taking both drugs will still be best for your treatment. Again, this may mean your doctor will simply alter the doses you receive rather than changing the drugs themselves.

  • Betaxolol

It is possible that liraglutide will interact with certain aspects of your daily dietary intake as well. This means it could interact with how much or how frequently you smoke, drink, or eat certain things, Your doctor may make changes to your diet to avoid such interactions. For example, you may need to consume less alcohol or smoke less tobacco.

Finally, other medical problems you have may interact with this medicine. You should inform your doctor of your complete medical history. In particular, point out any of the following if they apply:

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Patients with this condition should not take Liraglutide

Warnings

Before your doctor prescribes you with this medicine, they will first need to ensure it is the best course of treatment for your condition. To determine this, they will need to closely examine your condition. As a part of this process, you should inform them of any and all allergies you suffer from. This includes allergies to dyes, animals, foods, and preservatives.

As of writing, no efficacy and safety have been established for the use of this medicine in pediatric patients. This is because no suitable studies have taken place on younger patients using this medicine.

The suitable studies that have taken place in older patients have not highlighted any geriatric-specific problems that would make this drug any less useful in elderly patients.

It appears that the studies that have taken place in either pregnant women or animals have shown that is causes fetal abnormalities. If you are pregnant, you should therefore not be used unless the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks. Your doctor can discuss this in greater depth with you. However, if you do become pregnant whilst taking Liraglutide, you should inform your doctor right away.

As of writing, no suitable studies have taken place on breastfeeding women using this medicine. As such, it is unclear if there are any increased risks to the mother or infant of using this medicine. Your doctor can advise you of any increased risks, and together you can weigh these against the benefits of using Liraglutide.

You will need to have regular appointments with your doctor whilst you take this medicine. This allows them to ensure your treatment is progressing okay, and to check for any unwanted effects. You may need to perform urine and blood tests at these appointments.

You should not take Saxenda® if you already take Victoza®.

Below is some further guidance that your healthcare team will discuss with you. You should follow it closely.

  • Alcohol. Drinking alcohol can cause you to experience severely low blood sugar levels. Your healthcare team can discuss this with you.

If you display any of the following symptoms whilst taking Liraglutide, then contact your doctor right away as they could be signs of a thyroid problem:

  • Hoarseness

Whilst taking this medicine, you may experience pancreatitis. If you experience any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor right away:

  • Fever

Liraglutide can cause some serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis. This condition can be life-threatening and requires you to get immediate medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor right away:

  • Any swelling of your mouth, throat, arms, hands, legs, face

Liraglutide can cause patients to experience low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) if taken with other medicines that lower blood sugar levels. However, it doesn't cause it on its own. These other medicines include things like sulfonylurea, insulin, or metformin. You may also experience hypoglycemia if you exercise more than usual, experiencing vomiting or nausea, delay or miss a snack or meal, or drink alcohol. Symptoms of low blood sugar include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Slurred speech

If you do experience the symptoms above, then to deal with them you can try the following:

  • Drink sugar dissolved in water, fruit juice, or non-diet soft drink

Yous should then also check your blood frequently for further low blood sugar levels. In emergency situations of low blood sugar, like seizures and unconsciousness, you can use glucagon. You should keep glucagon available at all times, as well as any necessary needles and syringes. You should know how to use it yourself and also train family members appropriately.

On the flip side, you may experience hyperglycemia. This occurs if you overeat, don't exercise enough, skip your antidiabetic medicine, or have an infection or fever. Symptoms of high blood sugar include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Fruit-like breath odor

If you do experience symptoms of hyperglycemia, then you should contact your doctor for instruction and keep checking your blood sugar levels frequently.

Here is some further guidance if you are using Saxenda®:

  • You should not use this medicine whilst pregnant as it can harm your unborn child. You should use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy. If you do believe you have become pregnant whilst taking this medicine, inform your doctor immediately.
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • While you are at rest, this medicine may cause your heart rate to increase. Your doctor will, therefore, need to check your heart rate whilst you take this drug.

Storage

You should store this medicine safely away from children at all times. Once you finish your treatment, dispose of any remaining medicine. The same applies to any medicine that goes out of date. Your pharmacist or doctor can advise on safe and sensible methods of disposal.

You should store any unused and new medicine pens in your refrigerator. They should be kept in the original carton and kept away from light. Never allow the medicine to freeze. If it becomes frozen, do not use it. You can store the opened medicine at room temperature or in a fridge for up to 30 days. Afe this 30 days is up, dispose of any remaining medicine.

Before you store the medicine, take the needle off the pen. This helps prevent leakage and can prevent air bubbles from forming in the cartridge.

Summary

If you suffer from obesity or type 2 diabetes, then Liraglutide can be potentially a very beneficial medicine for helping to treat your condition. Be aware however that this medicine is not prescribed to all patients as it can interact with a variety of drugs and other medical problems. It is only given to certain patients if properly exercising and dieting has failed. However, it is not a substitute for these two elements. Eating correctly and exercising regularly are the best cures for your condition.

If you experience any of the unwanted side effects listed above, then you should contact your doctor You should be careful in following any guidance they give you on using Liraglutide as well as regarding any changes to your lifestyle you should make. If you have any other questions about your condition or about this medicine, they are best addressed to your doctor.