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Liraglutide

Last updated on 08/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions   |   Tips   |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Liraglutide

CHINESE NAME: 利拉魯肽

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Victoza, Saxenda

DRUG CLASS: Antidiabetic drugs

SUB CLASS: Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Agonists

USED FOR: Type 2 diabetes, Weight loss

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 6mg/ml (Victoza®), 18mg/3ml (Saxenda®) (pre-filled pen)

What is Liraglutide for?

Liraglutide belongs to a class of medication called glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. It works by mimicking a hormone to make the pancreas produce more insulin and less glucagon to control blood sugar level. It is used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus and prevent cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients (Victoza®). Besides, it can be used for weight loss (Saxenda®).

How to use it?

Liraglutide is administered via subcutaneous injection by pre-filled pens.

For type 2 diabetes (Victoza®):
The usual initial dose is 0.6 mg subcutaneously once daily for one week, then increases to 1.2 mg once daily. You may increase the dose further to 1.8 mg/day after at least 1 week of treatment with the 1.2 mg/day dose based on response.

Note: The lower initial dose (0.6 mg daily) is intended to reduce gastrointestinal side effects. It does not provide effective glycemic control.

For weight management (Saxenda®):
The usual initial dose is 0.6 mg subcutaneously once daily for one week, then increases the dose weekly in increments of 0.6 mg/day until maintenance dosage of 3 mg once daily is reached. If you cannot tolerate an increased dose during dose escalation, consider delaying dose escalation for 1 additional week. 

Note: Evaluate change in body weight 16 weeks after initiation of therapy. If at least 4%-5% of body weight has not been lost, discontinue Liraglutide use since continued treatment is not likely to be effective.

What are the side effects of Liraglutide?

The common side effects of Liraglutide include nausea, diarrhea, dyspepsia, hypoglycemia, constipation, vomiting, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, fatigue, and dizziness.

Who should not take Liraglutide?

– People who are pregnant or breastfeeding
– People who are allergic to Liraglutide or any component of the formulation
– Patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2), or personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)

Pharmacist Tips:

– Non-drug management, including diet and exercise, also plays an important role in controlling both diabetes and weight.
– If you use insulin in addition to Victoza®, do not mix them into the same syringe. You may give the shots in the same area (including your stomach), but do not give the shots right next to each other.
– For each new prefilled pen, prime the needle before the first injection by turning the dose selector to the flow check symbol and injecting into the air (priming is not required for subsequent injections).
– Change (rotate) your injection site with each injection. Do not use the same site for each injection.
– Use a new needle for each injection and do not share pens between patients.
– Once injected, continue to depress the button until the dial has returned to 0 and for an additional 6 seconds. Then, remove the needle.
– Store your new, unused medicine pen in its original carton in the refrigerator. You may store the opened medicine pen in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 30 days. 

Common dosing schedule:
Liraglutide can be injected subcutaneously in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm. You may administer at any time of day, independently of meals. 

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Liraglutide may interact with:
– Insulin
– Sulfonylureas, e.g. Glipizide, Gliclazide
– Oral medications, as Liraglutide delays gastric emptying to affect oral absorption

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Liraglutide in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Liraglutide is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Liraglutide in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.