Precautions and Warnings With Liraglutide
Before starting treatment with liraglutide, discuss the drug's safety precautions with your healthcare provider. For example, tell your healthcare provider if you have high triglycerides, pancreatitis, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Other liraglutide warnings and precautions apply to people with type 1 diabetes (they should not take this medication) and people with a history of alcoholism.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?Prior to taking liraglutide (Victoza®), tell your healthcare provider if you have:
- High triglycerides
- A history (or even a family history) of cancer, especially thyroid cancer
- Diabetic gastroparesis
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Liraglutide Warnings and Precautions
Precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking liraglutide include the following:
- Very preliminary data suggests incretin mimetics, such as liraglutide, may increase the risk of precancerous cellular changes (called pancreatic duct metaplasia) in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers are continuing to study the possibility that incretin mimetics might increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, although at this time there is not enough information to know for sure if there is any increased risk.
- Even though it is taken by injection, liraglutide is not insulin and should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.
- In laboratory rats and mice, this medicine causes thyroid tumors, which may sometimes be cancerous. It is unknown if liraglutide causes such tumors in humans. Be sure to let your healthcare provider know right away if you develop any signs or symptoms of a thyroid tumor, such as:
- A lump in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Shortness of breath
- A persistent hoarse voice.
- Liraglutide may increase the risk of pancreatitis. You may be at a higher risk for this condition if you have ever had pancreatitis, if you have had gallstones, or if you have a history of alcoholism. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you develop any signs or symptoms of pancreatitis, such as:
- Severe, persistent abdominal pain (stomach pain), sometimes radiating to the back
- When used by itself, liraglutide is not likely to cause dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). However, combining it with insulin or oral medications that increase insulin production appears to increase this risk (see Drug Interactions With Liraglutide to learn more).
- This medication has not been thoroughly studied in people with liver disease or diabetic gastroparesis. If you have any of these conditions, your healthcare provider will probably need to monitor you more closely.
- Although studies have not shown liraglutide to be toxic to the kidneys, there have been a few reports of kidney failure (or worsening of preexisting kidney failure) in people taking liraglutide. This medication may need to be used cautiously in people with kidney disease.
- It is not known if liraglutide passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Victoza and Breastfeeding).
- Liraglutide is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Victoza and Pregnancy).