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Liraglutide Uses and Benefits

Mar 19, 2023
Liraglutide Uses and Benefits
Obesity is defined as weighing more than 60 kg (132 pounds) and having a weight corresponding to a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher for adults.

Liraglutide is the generic for Saxendra and Victroza. Like semaglutide, it is a GLP-1 agonist that is used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. Obesity is a chronic disease that increases the risk for other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, dyslipidemia, and obstructive sleep apnea.1

Liraglutide is administered once a day and improves weight loss, mainly by reducing appetite rather than by increasing energy expenditure. Read on to learn more about liraglutide uses and benefits.

The medical indications for liraglutide and semaglutide are identical. Liraglutide is intended for use in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:

  • 30 kg/m2 or greater (obesity) or
  • 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or abnormal blood lipids.

What does liraglutide do to the body?

Like other prescription weight loss drugs, liraglutide helps reduce blood sugar and appetite.

Liraglutide stimulates insulin release from the pancreas and inhibits glucagon secretion. Insulin and glucagon have opposite actions when it comes to regulating blood sugar. Insulin levels increase after you have a meal. Insulin ushers glucose from the bloodstream into body cells, where it can be used for energy. This reduces blood sugar. Excess and prolonged high blood sugar irritates the lining of blood vessels, increasing your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Excess glucose your body does not need for energy is converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles. Once your glycogen stores are full, excess glucose is stored as fat.

Glucagon has the opposite role; it stimulates the release of glucose from the liver and muscles so it can be used by body cells. It also prevents your liver from storing more glycogen and converts other nutrients, such as amino acids, pyruvate, and lactate, into glucose.2

Liraglutide also slows stomach emptying. Since food stays in the stomach longer, you feel full longer. This increases satiety and prevents over-eating.

A person standing on a scale enjoying the liraglutide uses

Is liraglutide used for weight loss?

Yes, liraglutide is used for weight loss. In 2014, it was approved for chronic weight management in adults, and in 2020, it was approved for weight management for people aged 12 and older who have obesity.

For adolescents, obesity is defined as weighing more than 60 kg (132 pounds) and having a weight corresponding to a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher for adults. Liraglutide should be used to supplement a reduced-calorie, nutritious diet and plans to incorporate daily physical activity into your schedule.

Liraglutide Uses and Benefits

Is liraglutide the same as insulin?

No, liraglutide is not the same as insulin. Insulin is used to replace natural insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin treatment is more commonly used for people who have type 1 diabetes mellitus, a condition that typically presents in childhood. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is not associated with obesity.

You should not take liraglutide with insulin unless specifically advised to do so by your doctor because they both can cause low blood sugar.3 However, in some cases, liraglutide is prescribed as an add-on therapy to insulin for better glucose control for people with type 2 diabetes.4

Other side effects associated with liraglutide include:

  • Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Intestinal infections
  • Low blood sugar

Low blood sugar can cause irritability, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, sweating, hunger, headache, or loss of consciousness.

How much weight can you lose with liraglutide?

Liraglutide has been evaluated in two large studies that enrolled more than 3,000 participants with obesity or overweight.

Adding liraglutide to lifestyle counseling resulted in weight losses that averaged 8.9 to 13.3 pounds more weight loss than counseling alone.

More than half of the trial participants could maintain at least a 5% weight loss for at least one year.

Between 25% and 33% of participants achieved a 10% weight loss.

Weight regain did occur when participants discontinued taking liraglutide.1

A scale and weights

Who should not take liraglutide?

Do not take more than one GLP-1 agonist at the same time.

You should not take liraglutide if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 or a family history of medullary thyroid cancer. Animal studies showed that an increased dose of liraglutide or a longer treatment period increased the risk of thyroid cancer in rats. It is unclear whether people would have a similar risk. Tell your doctor if you notice a lump in your neck, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath.

You should also not use liraglutide if you have a known allergy to liraglutide or any of its components or are pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you have had any of the following conditions:

  • Stomach conditions that cause your stomach to empty more slowly
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • High triglycerides (fat) in your blood
  • Problems with your gallbladder or pancreas
  • A history of depression or suicidal thoughts

Liraglutide can slightly increase your risk of acute gallbladder disease (infection or gallstones), acute pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation), and severe low blood sugar.5

Two women, one overweight, are exercising

What are the benefits of using liraglutide?

Liraglutide, like semaglutide, is used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. Many people experience these benefits when taking liraglutide or semaglutide:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced pain
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Better lung function
  • Reduced stroke or heart attack risk
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Less joint strain
  • Better sleep

Conclusion to Liraglutide Uses and Benefits

For those ready to take a significant step towards improving their weight management and overall health, Invigor Medical offers the option to buy liraglutide, a medication with a proven track record. With its ability to aid in weight loss and enhance the management of type 2 diabetes, liraglutide represents an advancement in your healthcare journey. To start on the path to better health, visit Invigor Medical’s website and choose the health plan that’s right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of taking liraglutide?

The benefits of taking liraglutide can include improved blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes, weight loss support for those with obesity, and potential reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events.

What other uses does liraglutide have?

Liraglutide is also prescribed for individuals with type 2 diabetes and heart disease to reduce the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular-related mortality. It mimics a natural hormone in the body known as incretin.

Does liraglutide give you energy?

A research revealed that both levels of liraglutide similarly decreased energy intake. This was associated with heightened feelings of post-meal satisfaction and fullness, along with a reduction in feelings of hunger.

How does liraglutide make you feel?

How liraglutide makes you feel can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience side effects such as nausea or gastrointestinal discomfort, especially when starting the medication. Others may feel more energetic and experience improvements in overall well-being due to better blood sugar control and weight loss. It’s essential to discuss any concerns or side effects with a healthcare provider.

Disclaimer
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.

Liraglutide Uses and Benefits

Leann Poston, M.D.

Dr. Leann Poston is a licensed physician in the state of Ohio who holds an M.B.A. and an M. Ed. She is a full-time medical communications writer and educator who writes and researches for Invigor Medical. Dr. Poston lives in the Midwest with her family. She enjoys traveling and hiking. She is an avid technology aficionado and loves trying new things.

References

  • Guh DP, Zhang W, Bansback N, Amarsi Z, Birmingham CL, Anis AH. The incidence of co-morbidities related to obesity and overweight: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health. Mar 25 2009;9:88. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-88
  • Hædersdal S, Lund A, Knop FK, Vilsbøll T. The Role of Glucagon in the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2018;93(2):217-239. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.12.003
  • Davies MJ, Bergenstal R, Bode B, et al. Efficacy of Liraglutide for Weight Loss Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: The SCALE Diabetes Randomized Clinical Trial. Jama. Aug 18 2015;314(7):687-99. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.9676
  • Nakaguchi H, Kondo Y, Kyohara M, Konishi H, Oiwa K, Terauchi Y. Effects of liraglutide and empagliflozin added to insulin therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled study. J Diabetes Investig. Nov 2020;11(6):1542-1550. doi:10.1111/jdi.13270
  • Whitten JS. Liraglutide (Saxenda) for Weight Loss. Am Fam Physician. Jul 15 2016;94(2):161-6.

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