|Type of medicine||Antidiabetic injection|
|Used for||Type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults|
|Available as||Prefilled pen|
Insulin is a hormone which is made naturally in your body. It helps to control the levels of sugar in your blood. If your body does not make enough insulin to meet its needs, or if it does not use the insulin it makes effectively, this results in the condition called diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes).
People with diabetes need treatment to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in their blood. This is because good control of blood sugar levels reduces the risk of complications later on.
Liraglutide works in three ways. It increases the amount of insulin produced by your body which then reduces the level of sugar in your blood. It also reduces the amount of a substance called glucagon being produced by your pancreas. Glucagon causes your liver to produce more sugar; so, by reducing the amount of glucagon in your body, this also helps to reduce the levels of sugar in your blood. Liraglutide also works on your stomach so that food passes through it more slowly. This means that sugar from your meals takes longer to get into your blood.
Liraglutide is given by injection and it is used in addition to your other antidiabetic medicines taken by mouth.
Before using liraglutide
Before using liraglutide make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have a problem with your stomach or inflammatory bowel disease.
- If you have kidney or liver problems.
- If you have ever had pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas).
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to use liraglutide
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack as well as the information you have been given by your doctor or diabetes clinic.
- Use your liraglutide pens exactly as your doctor has told you. Your doctor or diabetes nurse will show you how to inject yourself. Liraglutide is best injected into your skin on your upper arm, the front of your thigh, or over your stomach.
- Liraglutide is injected once a day. Your doctor will tell you what dose to use. It can be given at any time of day either before or after meals, but it is best if you use it at the same time each day.
- Try to choose a different injection site for each dose.This will help to prevent skin problems and difficulties in injecting.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until more than 12 hours after your dose was due, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It is important that you keep your regular doctor's and clinic appointments. This is so that your progress can be monitored. You are likely to need regular check-ups with an eye clinic and a foot clinic as well as with your doctor and diabetes clinic.
- Your doctor may recommend that you test for sugar in your blood or urine regularly to check that your diabetes is being controlled. Your doctor or diabetes nurse will show you how to do this.
- If you have been given advice by your doctor about changes to your diet, stopping smoking or taking regular exercise, it is important for you to follow the advice you have been given.
- Keep to the recommended alcohol limits. Drinking alcohol will affect the control of your blood sugar. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach as this can cause low blood sugar levels.
- If you get unusually thirsty, pass urine more frequently, and feel very tired, then let your doctor know. Your dose of liraglutide may need adjusting.
- If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, you should tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are diabetic and using liraglutide.
- If you are a driver you should take special care, as your ability to concentrate may be affected if your diabetes is not well-controlled. Make sure you know what it feels like if your blood sugar is low. This is known as hypoglycaemia or a 'hypo'. The first signs of hypoglycaemia are: feeling shaky or anxious, sweating, looking pale, feeling hungry, and having palpitations (a feeling that your heart is pounding). If these happen you should eat or drink something containing sugar or have a snack straightaway. It is advisable to check your blood or urine glucose levels before you travel on long journeys and to have a snack with you.
Can liraglutide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common liraglutide side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Symptoms of hypoglycaemia: feeling shaky or anxious, sweating, looking pale, feeling hungry, feeling that your heart is pounding||Eat something containing sugar, such as dextrose tablets, jelly babies or a sugary drink (non-diet), then follow this up with a snack such as a sandwich or a banana. Tell your doctor if you notice these symptoms|
|Feeling or being sick, indigestion, bloating, stomach pain||Stick to simple foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Dizziness, weakness||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Lack of appetite, loss of weight, sweating, constipation, feeling jittery, injection site problems, upper respiratory infections||Let your doctor or diabetes clinic know if any of these become troublesome|
Important: if you develop severe stomach pain and sickness, speak with your doctor immediately or go to your local accident and emergency department without delay.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store liraglutide
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Liraglutide can be kept for four weeks at room temperature, as long as this is below 30°C and it is kept away from direct heat and sunlight. It is however best to store your unopened packs in a refrigerator. Do not freeze liraglutide.
- Any prefilled pens must be discarded one month after being first used.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Victoza® 6 mg/ml solution for injection in prefilled pen; Manufacturer's PIL, Victoza® 6 mg/ml solution for injection in prefilled pen, Novo Nordisk Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated December 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Hannah Gronow|
|Last Checked: 19/01/2012||Document ID: 13817 Version: 1||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.