Victoza (liraglutide) for obesity: thoughts on weight management, diabetes, and quality of life

Victoza (liraglutide) is a once-daily injection that is currently approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Right now, Victoza comes in a dose of up to 1.8 mg. On September 11, the FDA will hold an advisory committee meeting to discuss whether to approve a higher dose of liraglutide (3.0 mg) for the specific treatment of obesity.

Just like we did in connection with Afrezza this past spring (see the photo above), I will get a chance to bring our collective voice as a community to this meeting, so I am seeking patient perspectives to bring to the FDA.

Please share your answers to either of these questions:
1) Do you struggle with your weight? Do you believe more weight management medications are needed? What would you tell the FDA about the challenges of losing weight?
2) If you have used Victoza, what effect has it had on your diabetes? On your weight? On your quality of life?


I'm a type 1 and my doctor just put me on Victoza a few weeks ago because my insulin sensitivity is shot. The goal was to reduce the amount of insulin I'm taking. Sure enough, my insulin reduced by 40% and I lost about 11 or 12 pounds. Now, granted, Victoza makes you feel full and at times nauseous. When you feel that way, you don't want to eat, so it's not a surprise that I lost weight. A side effect of taking the drug is weigh loss, so maybe it should be approved for that too. I can't comment on the higher dose as the 1.8 seems to be working fine for me, and I'm not sure I'd want to take a more potent dose.

Good point, Regina! Thanks so much for sharing, amiga.

1) I do not struggle with weight personally.
2) Once I started taking Victoza I personally lost about 20 lbs. Unfortunately after 8 months the Victoza lost its ability to lower my blood glucose level.
After I stopped taking the Victoza I have put back on the 20 lbs.
I would highly recommend taking Victoza to anyone, I suffered no side effects and felt great.
Carl Rohrs

Hi Regina! Thats amazing your insulin intake reduced by 40% this is great information to share on a post like this. Thank you for sharing ;-)

Thanks for sharing this, Wise!

I used Victoza and was able to lose about 20#. I had to quit the med for quality of life reasons. I was taking so much anti-effect medications it didn't seem worth it anymore. I had severe nausea that never went away, no matter how slow I titrated to dose. Sever constipation and the WORSE heartburn in my life. I already have GERD and thought I developed an ulcer because it hurt so bad. My GI doc told me that this is the WORST med to take for people with GERD because it slows the food in your GI system and things get backed up in the stomach as well as colon. I LOVED the wt loss effect of the med and my FBS were fantastic, however I made the decision to not to live in misery. I was on the meds for about 5 months.

I’ve been using Victoza for about 3 years. I’ve gotten over the sensitivity issue but I think its effects on lowering my blood sugar have stopped. As far as weight loss I’ve gained more weight in the last 3 years than I’ve lost. I think going with larger doses would be a good idea, especially for somebody like me who is type 2 and now on a pump.

1) Yes. I have since my teens as a Type 1. Every time my insulin was increased, I seemed to gain weight. From what I understand, some diabetics don't produce a certain peptide made by the pancreas that helps slow digestion and give you a full, satisfied feeling. It can make weight loss difficult when your body is saying it's hungry when it doesn't need more food. Diabetics also have to deal with adjustments in food, exercise, meds, stress levels, and routine. It all can affect blood sugar, the needed amount of medication, and how we feel. Because of this, making changes can be complex. If we have a lot of low blood sugars, we tend to take in more calories to counter it- and lows can make you feel like you are starving. For some of us, it also makes us feel like our energy has been drained for several hours afterwards. If we have high blood sugar, that can also take our energy, and exercising with high blood sugar can actually make it worse sometimes. I also think there needs to be more information available about how diabetes can affect metabolism and the whole process of digestion, fat, sugar, energy production, etc. and how diabetes is affected by weight. Trying to lose weight is hard enough for the average person. It can be much more complicated for a diabetic.

2) I had to get permission to use Victoza from my insurance company in order for it to be covered because I am a Type 1. After using Victoza for a while, my blood sugars were more stable, I didn't have as high spikes after meals, I needed less insulin, and I also lost about 30 pounds. The weight slowly came back on as the appetite supressing did not continue to be as strong after a while, but it is still helpful and I haven't gained above where I started. The cost of Victoza, even with insurance, can be an issue though.

I was diagnosed a Type 1 a year and a half ago at age 60. I was at a healthy weight but the doctor put me on Victoza to try to delay my start of insulin. It made me feel full and I lost about 5 pounds but did not keep losing which was good, since I did not need to lose more. The nausea subsided after about 3 weeks. I also was so tired I could hardly function for the first couple of weeks on Victoza--this also subsided. However, Victoza slowed my digestion so much that I became horribly--and constantly--constipated. No medications for constipation stool Rx medication. It eventually got to the point I couldn't stand it and stopped the Victoza. My blood sugar did elevate once I stopped the Victoza and I started insulin.

1) Answer- I do have some issues with my weight as I have always.I am petite and 5-10 lbs makes a big difference in my perception of how I look and feel.
I think the key to weight control is more exercise vs. drugs.
My challenge with losing weight was the weight I gained when placed on insulin...yet all of my tests show me I am healthier than ever.
???-In spite of the weight yo-yo movement, what drug is there for anyone T2 does not produce enough insulin? Insulin seems the only answer for some of us.

I am a type1 on an insulin pump. I started victoza because I was hungry all the time, my sugars were climbing and I was taking more and more insulin which made me hungrier and the cycle kept going. I take 1.8 dose everyday. My numbers went way down and I was able to decrease my basal rate by about 35%. I am no longer hungry and have lost about 25lbs so far. This is a game changer for sure. I find myself craving fresh foods instead of processed ones. I am grateful to have an Endocrinologist willing to try this on me.

Faye Weinberg
Type1 25years

Hi Faybella!
My 16 year old daughter is a type 1 diabetic and on an insulin pump too. Her Dr put her on Victoza 3 weeks ago for the exact reasons you mentioned in your post. She was constantly eating and craving sweet foods. It was so difficult trying to control her blood sugar with all the eating. She is a dancer and attends a performing arts high school for dance. However despite the constant exercise she began to rapidly gain weight. It seemed like her eating was getting out of control. Her Dr suggested trying Victoza. We are so amazed at the change in her in just three short weeks! She has lost 12 lbs. her blood sugar is back down in the 100’s and she no longer has cravings or feels the need to eat large amounts of food anymore. My only fear is that it makes her go really low at night… I have to almost turn her basal down to nothing. Does this happen to you… And what time do you take the shot… Morning or at night? It seems to peak after about four to five hours. So I’m wondering if it would be better to give it in the morning? Any advice you can give would be great!

My daughter is 16 years old and is on an insulin pump. Her Dr. put her on Victoza three weeks ago to help her control her constant eating and high blood sugars. In just three short weeks she has lost 12 lbs and her blood sugars are back down in the 100’s! We are very happy so far. She is still on the lowest dose (.6)…she is still having some trouble with the side effects.

Try taking it at a different time. If she has a CGM, try changing settings at night for her target to be a little higher and to alert her earlier if it starts going low. My doctor said take Victoza mornings at first, but I preferred mid afternoon or night because if I took it before a meal, I got nauseous.

I'm diagnosed T2 and although I've never had weight issues I did have have treatment courses of both Byetta and Victoza. For me both drugs did wonders, dramatically improving my blood sugar control and while I did not lose weight they both substantially reduced any hunger feelings I had. Sadly the effect of these drugs only lasted a few weeks after which their efficacy totally disappeared. I've heard similar experiences from others. Dr. Richard Bernstein a well known diabetologist in Mamaroneck, NY noticed this effect in his patients, both T1 and T2 and found that regularly switching between Byetta and Victoza enabled sustained effectiveness in these medications. I would urge considering a broader agenda to move towards approving the entire class of GLP-1 drugs including Byetta and Bydureon for use for weight management and diabetes for all people with diabetes.

I take it at 6am before work. I've been on three months. The side effects have completely subsided. It does seem to peak 6 hours later. I had to turn my basal down to 0.7 at night and am contemplating going lower. I have a physical job and go down to 0.35 during this time. So yes, the am dose is best in my opinion. I don't go low at night but I do go really low about 5 hours after I take it. To help the nausea I had sugar free hard candies and now it's gone. I am no longer constipated but when I was I used a stool softener. Drinking a ton of water helps too. My quality of life is much improved. I'm here if you have any other questions.

I don't see anyone here talking about carbohydrate limitation, along with using Victoza. Is that because it's supposed to be unnecessary?

That peptide you mean some diabetics don't produce is called amylin. It is also produced by the beta cells, and since those are dead in most T1's, it isn't produced anymore. this peptide is available under the name Symilin in pharmacies (needs a prescription though i think. if you are interested in it, try ask your endo about it.

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It is also true that T2s that have lost most of their beta cell function may also suffer from the same deficiency of amylin. I actually believe that Symlin treatment may help some T2s as well. We often break out in fractions thinking that there are very different types of diabetes meriting different treatment, but in fact we are often very much the same. I would encourage the FDA to increasingly consider how evidence that a treatment works for T2 may provide strong evidence that it also works for T1 and vice versa.