Diabetes is a condition that leads to high levels of blood glucose (or sugar) in the body. This happens when your body can’t make or use insulin like it’s supposed to. Insulin is a substance that helps your body use the sugar from the food you eat. There are two different types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. People with either type of diabetes need medications to help keep their blood sugar levels normal. The types of drugs depend on the type of diabetes you have. This article gives you information about drugs that treat both types of diabetes to help give you an idea of the treatment options available to you.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin but no longer uses it well. Your body can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels normal. The goal of treatment for you is to help your body use your insulin better or to get rid of extra sugar in your blood. Most medications for type 2 diabetes are oral drugs. However, a few come as injections.
Some people with type 2 diabetes may also need to take insulin. Victoza, Trulicity, and Saxenda are injectable non-insulin medications used to treat high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Each of these medications is part of a class referred to as GLP-1 agonists. If you need medication to combat these symptoms, it helps to know the difference between Victoza, Trulicity, and Saxenda.
What Is Trulicity?
Trulicity is the brand name for dulaglutide. Trulicity is not a recommended first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. Despite this, when combined with a proper diet and adequate exercise, Trulicity can improve glycemic control. Administered via injection on a once a week basis, Trulicity comes in the form of either a single-dose pen or prefilled syringe. Trulicity helps improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also helps lower the risk of certain cardiovascular problems in people with type 2 diabetes. Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide.
What Is Victoza/Saxenda?
Used as an injectable, the medication can improve blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. In contrast to Trulicity, Victoza can also be used to decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes in adults with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Administered weekly, the medication is often begun at a low dosage and increased as needed. Both Victoza and Saxenda contain the same Liraglutide molecule. The Liraglutide molecule can treat type 2 diabetes and promote weight loss in certain patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends Victoza to combat lower blood sugar levels in combination with diet, exercise, and other diabetes medicines. Victoza is not recommended as a first-line choice for diabetes type 2 but instead is only recommended for patients needing supplemental treatment to other diabetic medications.
The higher dose Saxenda is designed for weight loss, but Victoza is acknowledged as having weight loss as an associated side effect. The FDA approves Saxenda for weight loss, but the medication can also help with sugar control. Saxenda is recommended for individuals with a body mass index in the obese range of 30 and over or for individuals who have a 27-body mass index and weight-related conditions like hypertension. This small difference determines who should use Saxenda and who should use Victoza. Some parties should not use liraglutide and as a result, should stay away from both Saxenda and Victoza. This includes people who have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 or have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer.
What are Trulicity, Victoza & Saxenda Used For?
Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide. Victoza and Saxenda contain the active drug liraglutide. Dulaglutide and liraglutide belong to the same drug class: glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.) Trulicity and Victoza are both used to: Lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes (when used with diet and exercise). Victoza is also approved for this use in children ages 10 years and older. Lower the risk of major cardiovascular problems (related to the heart or blood vessels), such as heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular issues. Both drugs are approved for this use in adults who have both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Trulicity is also approved for this use in adults with type 2 diabetes and two or more CVD risk factors.
Trulicity and Victoza aren’t approved for weight loss. But some people taking these drugs in studies of Trulicity and Victoza did lose weight. (Although, in certain studies of Victoza taken with other diabetes medications, some people lost weight while others gained weight.) However, the prescription drug Saxenda (liraglutide), which has the same active drug as Victoza, is approved for weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. Saxenda can’t be used with either Trulicity or Victoza. If you’re interested in learning more about Saxenda or other weight loss treatments, talk with your doctor.
The Common Side Effects of Trulicity and Saxenda/Victoza
Both Trulicity and Victoza/Saxenda have some associated side effects. Many people who take Trulicity experience nausea shortly after beginning the medication. Studies reveal that 8% to 29% of people using Trulicity experience nausea within a few days of the first dose. For most patients, nausea subsides within a week or two. Besides nausea, some other common side effects associated with Trulicity include abdominal pain, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some
of the side effects commonly associated with Victoza/Saxenda include: abdominal or stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, indigestion, injection site reactions or redness, lack of energy, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
The Differences Between the Two Medications
There are several differences between Trulicity and Victoza/Saxenda, which include:
- Reason for a prescription. Both medications are GLP-1 receptor agonists. While Trulicity is used to treat type 2 diabetes, Victoza/Saxenda is used to treat type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risks.
- Common side effects. There are more commonly associated side effects with Victoza/Saxenda than Trulicity. Both medications commonly result in decreased appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Some additional side effects of Victoza/Saxenda include constipation, indigestion, and upper respiratory tract infections.
- Victoza/Saxenda cost slightly more than Trulicity.
- Dosage frequency. While both medications are administered through injection, their frequency varies. Trulicity is administered weekly while Victoza/Saxenda is administered daily. As such, reaction site redness and tenderness are more common with Victoza/Saxenda.
Remember to be open and honest with your medical professional. This way, you can make the most informed decisions possible regarding medication, dosages, and surgical options. Choosing a GLP-1 receptor agonist can be difficult, but with a medical professional’s help, you can make the most informed decision possible. Both drugs are given by injection, but a main difference is how often they’re used. With Trulicity, you inject yourself once per week. But if you use Victoza, you inject yourself once per day. If you’re wondering which drug is best for you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can provide the answers you need to feel confident about your diabetes treatment plan.
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