You are here
Home > Drugs > VICTOZA® (liraglutide injection)


Liraglutide causes dose-dependent and treatment-duration-dependent thyroid C-cell tumors at clinically relevant exposures in both genders of rats and mice. It is unknown whether Victoza causes thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans, as human relevance could not be ruled out by clinical or nonclinical studies. Victoza is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of MTC and in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Based on the findings in rodents, monitoring with serum calcitonin or thyroid ultrasound was performed during clinical trials, but this may have increased the number of unnecessary thyroid surgeries. It is unknown whether monitoring with serum calcitonin or thyroid ultrasound will mitigate human risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. Patients should be counseled regarding the risk and symptoms of thyroid tumors [see Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions and package insert for Nonclinical Toxicology].


Initial U.S. Approval: 2010
Victoza contains liraglutide, an analog of human GLP-1 and acts as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. The peptide precursor of liraglutide, produced by a process that includes expression of recombinant DNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been engineered to be 97% homologous to native human GLP-1 by substituting arginine for lysine at position 34. Liraglutide is made by attaching a C-16 fatty acid (palmitic acid) with a glutamic acid spacer on the remaining lysine residue at position 26 of the peptide precursor.

Victoza is a clear, colorless solution. Each 1 mL of Victoza solution contains 6 mg of liraglutide. Each pre-filled pen contains a 3 mL solution of Victoza equivalent to 18 mg liraglutide (free-base, anhydrous) and the following inactive ingredients: disodium phosphate dihydrate, 1.42 mg; propylene glycol, 14 mg; phenol, 5.5 mg; and water for injection.

Clinical pharmacology


Mechanism of Action
Liraglutide is an acylated human Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist with 97% amino acid sequence homology to endogenous human GLP-1(7-37). GLP-1(7-37) represents <20% of total circulating endogenous GLP-1. Like GLP-1(7-37), liraglutide activates the GLP-1 receptor, a membrane-bound cell-surface receptor coupled to adenylyl cyclase by the stimulatory G-protein, Gs, in pancreatic beta cells. Liraglutide increases intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP) leading to insulin release in the presence of elevated glucose concentrations. This insulin secretion subsides as blood glucose concentrations decrease and approach euglycemia. Liraglutide also decreases glucagon secretion in a glucose-dependent manner. The mechanism of blood glucose lowering also involves a delay in gastric emptying.

GLP-1(7-37) has a half-life of 1.5-2 minutes due to degradation by the ubiquitous endogenous enzymes, dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) and neutral endopeptidases (NEP). Unlike native GLP-1, liraglutide is stable against metabolic degradation by both peptidases and has a plasma half-life of 13 hours after subcutaneous administration. The pharmacokinetic profile of liraglutide, which makes it suitable for once daily administration, is a result of self-association that delays absorption, plasma protein binding and stability against metabolic degradation by DPP-IV and NEP.

Indications and usage 

Victoza is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Important Limitations of Use:

  • Because of the uncertain relevance of the rodent thyroid C-cell tumor findings to humans, prescribe Victoza only to patients for whom the potential benefits are considered to outweigh the potential risk. Victoza is not recommended as first-line therapy for patients who have inadequate glycemic control on diet and exercise.
  • In clinical trials of Victoza, there were more cases of pancreatitis with Victoza than with comparators. Victoza has not been studied sufficiently in patients with a history of pancreatitis to determine whether these patients are at increased risk for pancreatitis while using Victoza. Use with caution in patients with a history of pancreatitis.
  • Victoza is not a substitute for insulin. Victoza should not be used in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus or for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis, as it would not be effective in these settings.
  • The concurrent use of Victoza and insulin has not been studied.


Do not use in patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.


Thyroid C-cell tumors in animals: Human relevance unknown. Counsel patients regarding the risk of medullary thyroid carcinoma and the symptoms of thyroid tumors.

Pancreatitis: In clinical trials, there were more cases of pancreatitis among Victoza-treated patients than among comparator-treated patients. If pancreatitis is suspected, Victoza and other potentially suspect drugs should be discontinued. Victoza should not be restarted if pancreatitis is confirmed. Use with caution in patients with a history of pancreatitis.

Serious hypoglycemia: Can occur when Victoza is used with an insulin secretagogue (e.g. a sulfonylurea). Consider lowering the dose of the insulin secretagogue to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.

Renal Impairment: Has been reported postmarketing, usually in association with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration which may sometimes require hemodialysis. Use caution when initiating or escalating doses of Victoza in patients with renal impairment.

Macrovascular outcomes: There have been no studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with Victoza or any other antidiabetic drug.

Victoza delays gastric emptying. May impact absorption of concomitantly administered oral medications. Use caution.

There are no data in patients below 18 years of age.
Use with caution in patients with renal or hepatic impairment. Limited data.

Adverse reactions

The most common adverse reactions, reported in ≥5% of patients treated with Victoza and more commonly than in patients treated with placebo, are: headache, nausea, diarrhea and anti-liraglutide antibody formation.

Immunogenicity-related events, including urticaria, were more common among Victoza-treated patients (0.8%) than among comparator-treated patients (0.4%) in clinical trials.

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Novo Nordisk Inc. at 1-877-484-2869 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or

Dosage and administration 

Victoza can be administered once daily at any time of day, independently of meals, and can be injected subcutaneously in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm. The injection site and timing can be changed without dose adjustment.

For all patients, Victoza should be initiated with a dose of 0.6 mg per day for one week. The 0.6 mg dose is a starting dose intended to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms during initial titration, and is not effective for glycemic control. After one week at 0.6 mg per day, the dose should be increased to 1.2 mg. If the 1.2 mg dose does not result in acceptable glycemic control, the dose can be increased to 1.8 mg.

When initiating Victoza, consider reducing the dose of concomitantly administered insulin secretagogues (such as sulfonylureas) to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.

Victoza solution should be inspected prior to each injection, and the solution should be used only if it is clear, colorless, and contains no particles.

How supplied

Solution for subcutaneous injection, pre-filled, multi-dose pen that delivers doses of 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, or 1.8 mg (6 mg/mL, 3 mL)
How Supplied
Victoza is available in the following package sizes containing disposable, pre-filled, multi-dose pens. Each individual pen delivers doses of 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, or 1.8 mg (6 mg/mL, 3 mL).

2 x Victoza pen NDC 0169-4060-12

3 x Victoza pen NDC 0169-4060-13
Each Victoza pen is for use by a single patient. A Victoza pen should never be shared between patients, even if the needle is changed.

Recommended Storage
Prior to first use, Victoza should be stored in a refrigerator between 36ºF to 46ºF (2ºC to 8ºC). Do not store in the freezer or directly adjacent to the refrigerator cooling element. Do not freeze Victoza and do not use Victoza if it has been frozen.

After initial use of the Victoza pen, the pen can be stored for 30 days at controlled room temperature (59°F to 86°F; 15°C to 30°C) or in a refrigerator (36°F to 46°F; 2°C to 8°C). Keep the pen cap on when not in use. Victoza should be protected from excessive heat and sunlight. Always remove and safely discard the needle after each injection and store the Victoza pen without an injection needle attached. This will reduce the potential for contamination, infection, and leakage while also ensuring dosing accuracy.

Recommended Storage Conditions for the Victoza Pen
Prior to first use After first use
Refrigerated 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) Room Temperature 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C) Refrigerated 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C)
Until expiration date 30 days


Package Insert data: 

Manufactured by:
Novo Nordisk A/S
DK-2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark
For information about Victoza contact:

Novo Nordisk Inc.
100 College Road West
Princeton, NJ 08540

Issued: May 18, 2011
Version: 2

This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Victoza® is a registered trademark of Novo Nordisk A/S.
Victoza® is covered by US Patent Nos. 6,268,343, 6,458,924 and 7,235,627 and other patents pending.
Victoza® pen is covered by US Patent Nos. 6,004,297, 6,235,004, 6,582,404 and other patents pending.
© 2010-2011 Novo Nordisk


National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, DailyMed Database.
Provides access to the latest drug monographs submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Please review the latest applicable package insert for additional information and possible updates.  A local search option of this data can be found here.

VICTOZA® (liraglutide injection)