Victoza and Saxenda are two medications commonly used by diabetics however prescribed by doctors for separate reasons.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is an injectable medication used to treat cardiovascular disorders among type 2 diabetics. It is usually prescribed along with a diet and exercise program. It is primarily used to help those with type 2 diabetes, older than the age of 10, manage their blood sugar levels. It also aids in reducing the risk of certain heart conditions such as heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. Those taking Victoza usually administer the drug once per day, with or without food. It’s recommended to take it at the same time every day so you don’t accidentally miss a dose.

What is Saxenda?

Saxenda is an injectable prescription medication used to treat people, 12 and older, suffering from obesity. This popular drug is commonly used by diabetics due to its effectiveness or managing weight loss. By properly managing weight, diabetics can expect an improvement in blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Saxenda is typically accompanied by a proper diet and exercise program. Saxenda mimics a peptide naturally produced in the body called GLP-1 or glucagon-like peptide-1 which is used to control appetite and also reduces caloric intake.

In the following article, we examine the key differences between Victoza & Saxenda and provide valuable information for those considering taking either of these drugs.

Similarities & Differences

Both Victoza and Saxenda are produced by the same company Novo Nordisk and contain the same ingredient called liraglutide. Both medications come in the form of an injectable pen and are used subcutaneously. Incretin stimulates the pancreas to release insulin in the body when blood sugar is raised. Both drugs belong to a class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists which mimics the incretin function in the body and give you the feeling of satiety like you just ate.

Even though both drugs belong to the same medication known as GLP-1 agonists, they have notable differences which are why they cannot be used interchangeably. Saxenda is typically used by diabetics to manage obesity & weight loss. Victoza is typically taken by those with type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar levels.

INGREDIENTS: Victoza versus Saxenda

Both Victoza and Saxenda are the top brands that contain the same drug named liraglutide.

Liraglutide is used in combination with diet and exercise programs in order to improve Blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes mellitus (not type 1 diabetes).

It belongs to a class of drugs named glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists which work to decrease appetite and increase insulin levels.

USAGE: Victoza vs Saxenda

Both Victoza and Saxenda are approved for different uses but contain the same drug: liraglutide.

Victoza

Victoza is not commonly prescribed to help people lose weight but is approved by the FDA for improving blood sugar level management in type 2 diabetics.

Saxenda

Saxenda is FDA-approved to be used in combination with diet & exercise for improved weight loss.

It is commonly prescribed for adults with either a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30 kg/m2. Children 12 years of age or older, who weigh more than 132 lbs or have a BMI equal to or greater than 27kg/m2 may be prescribed Saxenda.

Saxenda is not prescribed to improve blood sugar levels, for children under the age of 12 or anyone with type 1 diabetes.

While both Victoza and Saxenda may contain the same drug, Saxenda is the only one of the two prescribed specifically for weight loss.

EFFECTIVENESS: Victoza vs Saxenda

Victoza is approved to help improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Saxenda is approved to help those who are obese or overweight with long-term weight loss.

SIDE EFFECTS: Victoza vs Saxenda

Victoza and Saxenda are taken in different dosages. Since both contain the same active drug, users can expect similar side effects.

The following list of side effects is unique to both drugs and those shared between Victoza and Saxenda. For a complete list of all side effects for either drug, you should consult their official medical guides.

Before taking either of these medications you should speak with your doctor to see if any side effects or warnings may apply.

Side effects that may occur with Saxenda:

Mild side effects:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness

Serious side effects:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Increased heart rate

Side effects that may occur with Victoza:

Mild side effects:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections such as colds
  • Back pain

Mild side effects shared by both drugs:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reactions at the injection site such as itching, redness, or rash
  • Constipation

Serious side effects shared by both Victoza and Saxenda:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Kidney issues such as kidney failure
  • *Thyroid cancer

* Both drugs have a boxed warning. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which alerts patients and doctors about the serious side effects that may be dangerous.

In animal studies, Victoza and Saxenda have been known to increase the risk of thyroid tumors. It isn’t known if humans are at a higher risk however if you have a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, you shouldn’t take them.

If you feel that you are experiencing any symptoms of thyroid cancer such as a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, shortness of break, or hoarseness please consult with a doctor right away.

Both drugs may worsen or lead to kidney failure. If you already have kidney problems you may want to speak to a doctor about taking these drugs so they can properly monitor your kidney function.

Both drugs may cause your stomach to empty slowly (gastroparesis) after eating or drinking. This is typically due to nerve problems. Speak to your doctor to ensure you can take these drugs.

It is not known how these drugs may affect patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Some people have found that Saxenda has caused suicidal thoughts and behaviors. If you are experiencing depression, thoughts of harming yourself, or any mental condition while taking Saxenda, stop taking it and speak to your doctor immediately.

If you are experiencing feelings of suicide, or self-harm or want to hurt another person contact 911 or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor. Or call the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 (for the hearing impaired 800-799-4889) which is available 24 hours per day.

Conclusion

If you’re planning on taking Victoza or Saxenda or have questions about either drug you should consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Both drugs are used for those with type 2 diabetes but are not interchangeable despite containing the same active drug.

Victoza is used to manage blood sugar levels.

Saxenda is used for weight loss.