Victoza for Weight Loss: What Is Victoza & How It Works

Introducing Victoza, an effective weight loss medication. Start your journey towards a healthier lifestyle with Victoza today and achieve sustainable weight loss.

Table of Contents
  • What is Victoza?
  • How Does Victoza Work?
  • Who Qualifies For Victoza?
  • Can Victoza Be Used for Weight Loss?
  • Victoza vs Other GLP-1 Medications
  • Victoza Side Effects
  • Victoza Dosage and Administration
  • Victoza Contraindications and Warnings
  • Victoza Coverage and Costs
  • Where Can I Get Victoza?
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • References

Victoza for Weight Loss

Want to learn more about Victoza for weight loss? Scroll down to see if this medication is right for you.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is an FDA-approved medication used to treat Type 2 Diabetes and is often used off-label for the treatment of obesity. It uses the active ingredient, Liraglutide which belongs to a class of anti-diabetic medications called GLP-1 agonists.

How Does Victoza Work?

As mentioned before, Victoza belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the action of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) in the body.

The intestine produces GLP-1 in response to food intake, and it helps to stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas in order to lower blood glucose levels. GLP-1 also helps to slow down the rate at which food is digested and absorbed in the intestine, which can help to reduce appetite and promote weight loss. Liraglutide is similar in structure to GLP-1, and it binds to the GLP-1 receptor in the body, activating several pathways that help lower blood glucose levels and promotes weight loss.

Who Qualifies For Victoza?

As mentioned, Victoza is FDA-approved for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. You may be eligible for Victoza if you are currently or were recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It is not currently used to treat people with Type 1 Diabetes.

Victoza can be used off-label to treat obesity as well. If you have a BMI >30 or a BMI > 27 with at least one obesity-related condition (diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol), you may be eligible to take these medications.

Can Victoza Be Used for Weight Loss?

In a study published in 2009 called the LEAD-3 Mono Trial, researchers examined the benefits of Victoza compared to another anti-diabetic medication, glimepiride (1). Along with measuring the effect on the participant's diabetes, they also measured the effect on body weight changes for 52 weeks. They found that not only was Victoza better at managing diabetes, it also led to a 2 kg decrease in body weight from baseline. Although it was not the study's main aim, it shows us that Victoza has a noticeable weight loss effect that can be helpful for those struggling with obesity.

Victoza vs Other GLP-1 Medications

Victoza vs Trulicity

In an observational study published in 2020, researchers compared dulaglutide (Trulicity) and Victoza head-to-head on how effective these medications were for type 2 diabetes (2). They found that both medications effectively helped with weight loss (1.14kg for dulaglutide and 1.64kg for liraglutide), but there was no significant difference between them. Both medications reduced body weight by a similar amount. They also saw that dulaglutide did improve blood pressure better than liraglutide.

Victoza vs. Wegovy

Wegovy is another GLP-1 medication used to treat obesity. Its active ingredient is semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist, like Victoza. Wegovy is a once-weekly pen injection.

In a large study called the STEP-1 Trial, researchers examined how effectively Wegovy (semaglutide) treated obesity in non-diabetic patients (3). Wegovy was given as a once-weekly pen injection starting at a low dose, gradually increasing to a maximum of 2.4mg over 68 weeks. After 68 weeks, they found that participants taking Wegovy along with diet and exercise experienced a significant reduction in body weight (around 15%) compared to the placebo group.

When you compare this to the results of the LEAD-3 trial, Wegovy has a much more significant effect on body weight. It must be remembered that the best results were seen when Wegovy was paired with diet and regular exercise.

Victoza vs Ozempic

Ozempic is also a once-weekly pen injection that uses semaglutide as its active ingredient. It is used primarily in the management of Type 2 diabetes but can be used off-label to treat obesity.

In the SUSTAIN-6 trial published in 2016, researchers showed that participants receiving weekly Ozempic (semaglutide) lost an average of 3-5 kg (8-11 lbs) after two years (4). It is important to note that the participants were not enrolled in a diet and exercise program. Therefore, dieting and exercising regularly may lead to a more substantial weight loss effect when paired with Ozempic

When comparing this to the results of the LEAD-3 trial, Ozempic appears to have a greater weight loss effect. A more substantial effect may be seen if Ozempic is paired with diet and regular exercise.

Victoza Side Effects

The most common side effects of Victoza include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Decreased Appetite,
  • Headache

These side effects are often mild to moderate in severity and disappear over time. If you experience severe side effects while taking Victoza, you should notify your provider as soon as possible.

Victoza is not contraindicated for pregnant patients for treating type 2 diabetes. However, the weight loss effects can potentially harm the fetus. Therefore, Victoza should be avoided in pregnancy if only used for weight loss. Victoza should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits of treatment for type 2 diabetes outweigh the potential risks to the fetus. Please let your provider know if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant before starting Victoza.

Victoza Dosage and Administration

Victoza is a once-daily pen injection starting at 0.6mg for one week. After the first week, it can be increased to 1.2 mg and a maximum of 1.8 mg. This dosing schedule is explicitly used for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. The injection can be administered in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Make sure to rotate injection sites with each dose. If a dose is missed, DO NOT take an extra dose to make up for the missed dose. Continue with the dosage as scheduled.

Victoza Contraindications and Warnings


Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. This is an infrequent but potential side effect of Victoza. If you have a history of pancreatitis, please inform your provider before starting Victoza.

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)

Since Victoza increases insulin secretion, there is a risk that your blood sugar can be lowered to dangerous levels. This is known as hypoglycemia. If you have a history of hypoglycemia or are currently using insulin, you must inform your provider before starting Victoza.

Serious Allergic Reaction

You may experience a severe allergic reaction to Victoza when first taking it. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, problems breathing or swallowing, severe rash or itching, fainting or feeling dizzy, and very rapid heartbeat. Let your provider know immediately if you have experienced this with other GLP-1 medications or are currently experiencing this when taking Victoza.

Kidney Disease

Though Victoza is safe for people with kidney disease, the stomach problems associated with Victoza may lead to fluid loss by vomiting, nausea, or vomiting. If you have kidney problems, staying hydrated while on Victoza is essential. If Victoza's gastrointestinal side effects prevent you from adequately staying hydrated, let your provider know immediately.

Severe Stomach Problems

Victoza's most common side effect is gastrointestinal upset, which includes stomach ache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. If these symptoms become so severe that they significantly affect your daily life or ability to eat regularly, then let your provider know.

Changes in Vision

For patients with a history of diabetic retinopathy, there is a chance that your vision can worsen when taking Victoza. If you do have a history of diabetic retinopathy, then let your provider know before starting Victoza.

Gallbladder Disease

Victoza can also cause some gallbladder issues along with other gastrointestinal side effects. Since Victoza can decrease the movement of food through the gastrointestinal system, it can also reduce the function of the gallbladder. This can lead to gallstone formation, which can block the release of bile, leading to the inflammation of the gallbladder.

If you have a history of gallstones or cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), then let your provider know before starting Victoza. If you have had your gallbladder removed in the past, then you can still take Victoza.

Thyroid Cancer or Family History of MEN-2

Though very rare, there is a risk of the development of a specific type of thyroid cancer when taking Victoza, called Medullary Thyroid Cancer. If you have a history of medullary thyroid cancer or a family history of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Cancer Syndrome Type 2 (MEN-2), let your provider know before starting Victoza. MEN-2 is a genetic cancer syndrome that puts a patient at risk for the development of Medullary Thyroid Cancer, which is why patients with this syndrome should avoid taking Victoza.

Victoza Coverage and Costs

Victoza can be expensive depending on whether you have insurance. Victoza, on average, costs around $1000-$1100 for a month’s supply. Though there is no savings card for Victoza, you may be eligible for the Patient Assistance Program offered by Novo Nordisk, which may allow you to obtain free medication.

Where Can I Get Victoza?

If you would like to learn more about GLP-1 medications or want to see if you might be eligible for medication-assisted weight loss, check out Mochi Health, where board-certified obesity medicine physicians can offer expertise in this realm!

Mochi Health is a virtual obesity medicine practice that connects you with medical providers, like licensed physicians and nurse practitioners, to help you optimize your weight loss journey. We provide monthly video chats with actual medical providers to provide guidance about weight management and to get you started on prescription weight loss medications to supplement your weight loss plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our Mochi Health Blogs to learn about different topics on weight loss medications.

Who should avoid taking Victoza?

What is the best diet while taking Victoza?

Can Victoza lower my blood sugar?

Does Victoza cause thyroid cancer?

Can Victoza prevent me from having babies?

Get started at Mochi Health today!


  1. Garber A, Henry R, Ratner R, Garcia-Hernandez PA, Rodriguez-Pattzi H, Olvera-Alvarez I, Hale PM, Zdravkovic M, Bode B; LEAD-3 (Mono) Study Group. Liraglutide versus glimepiride monotherapy for type 2 diabetes (LEAD-3 Mono): a randomized, 52-week, phase III, double-blind, parallel-treatment trial. Lancet. 2009 Feb 7;373(9662):473-81. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61246-5. Epub 2008 Sep 24. PMID: 18819705.
  2. Chang KC, Shao SC, Kuo S, Yang CY, Chen HY, Chan YY, Ou HT. Comparative effectiveness of dulaglutide versus liraglutide in Asian type 2 diabetes patients: a multi-institutional cohort study and meta-analysis. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2020 Oct 9;19(1):172. doi: 10.1186/s12933-020-01148-8. PMID: 33036617; PMCID: PMC7547475.
  3. Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, Davies M, Van Gaal LF, Lingvay I, McGowan BM, Rosenstock J, Tran MTD, Wadden TA, Wharton S, Yokote K, Zeuthen N, Kushner RF; STEP 1 Study Group. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2021 Mar 18;384(11):989-1002. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2032183. Epub 2021 Feb 10. PMID: 33567185.
  4. Marso SP, Bain SC, Consoli A, Eliaschewitz FG, Jódar E, Leiter LA, Lingvay I, Rosenstock J, Seufert J, Warren ML, Woo V, Hansen O, Holst AG, Pettersson J, Vilsbøll T; SUSTAIN-6 Investigators. Semaglutide and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2016 Nov 10;375(19):1834-1844. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1607141. Epub 2016 Sep 15. PMID: 27633186.

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