Victoza for Weight Loss

Authored by The Rx Advocates, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS


Can You Take Victoza for Weight Loss?

People are constantly seeking effective and safe methods to shed unwanted pounds. One such medication that has gained attention in recent years is Victoza. Initially developed for managing type 2 diabetes, Victoza (generic name liraglutide) has also been found to have potential benefits for weight loss.

However, before considering Victoza as a weight loss solution, it’s crucial to understand its intended use, potential benefits, and associated risks.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is an injectable medication belonging to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 agonists).

It was initially developed to help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

By stimulating the release of insulin and suppressing glucagon secretion, Victoza helps control blood glucose. It also reduces the risk of complications associated with diabetes.

How Does Victoza Help You Lose Weight?

Victoza is a medication that can assist with weight loss but the formulation for diabetes has a max dosage of 1.8 mg. For weight loss, it can be used at a higher dose (3 mg) under the brand name Saxenda.

While the exact mechanism of Victoza’s weight loss effects is not fully understood, several factors contribute to its potential efficacy in promoting weight loss:

  • Appetite Regulation: Victoza is believed to act on the areas of the brain that regulate appetite, specifically the hypothalamus. By activating glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors in the hypothalamus, Victoza may help reduce hunger and increase satiety, decreasing calorie intake.
  • Delayed Gastric Emptying: Victoza may slow food movement through the stomach, resulting in a prolonged feeling of fullness after a meal. This effect can help control portion sizes and reduce the frequency of snacking, contributing to overall calorie reduction.
  • Reduced Cravings: Victoza may also have an impact on food cravings. By influencing the reward centers in the brain, it may help reduce cravings for high-calorie, palatable foods, making it easier to adhere to a healthier eating plan.
  • Glucose Regulation: Victoza was initially developed as a medication to manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. By mimicking the action of the hormone GLP-1, Victoza helps stimulate insulin secretion and suppresses glucagon release, resulting in improved glucose control. Stable blood sugar levels can help prevent excessive hunger and reduce the likelihood of overeating.
  • Potential Metabolic Effects: Some research suggests that Victoza may have metabolic effects beyond its impact on appetite and glucose regulation. It may increase energy expenditure (calories burned) and promote the utilization of stored fat for energy, potentially contributing to weight loss.

Victoza works best for weight loss when combined with lifestyle modifications, which include eating a reduced-calorie diet and getting plenty of exercise.

This medication is not a standalone weight loss treatment but a tool that can support you in your weight management journey.

It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before considering Victoza or Saxenda for weight loss. They can evaluate your circumstances, assess potential risks and benefits, and guide you on whether Victoza is appropriate.

A comprehensive approach that includes dietary changes, exercise, and behavioral modifications is generally recommended for sustainable and long-term weight loss success.

Off-label Use for Weight Loss

While Victoza is primarily approved for treating diabetes, it has garnered attention as a potential aid for weight loss.

In 2014, the FDA approved liraglutide at a higher dose (3 mg) specifically for weight management in adults who are overweight or have obesity and have at least one weight-related condition. This higher dose of liraglutide is marketed under the brand name Saxenda.

Mechanism of Action for Weight Loss

Victoza’s mechanism of action for weight loss has yet to be fully understood. However, it is believed to act on the areas of the brain involved in appetite regulation, leading to reduced food intake. Additionally, Victoza may slow food movement through the stomach, giving a feeling of fullness and promoting satiety.

These combined effects can contribute to a decrease in calorie consumption, ultimately resulting in weight loss.

How Effective is liraglutide for Weight Loss?

Clinical studies have shown that liraglutide can lead to significant weight loss when used at a higher dose of 3 mg (Saxenda).

In a randomized clinical trial, participants who received Saxenda alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity lost more weight than those on a placebo. Participants lost around 5-10% of their initial body weight over 56 weeks.

It’s important to note that individual results may vary, and long-term success depends on lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Safety Considerations

Before considering Victoza or Saxenda for weight loss, it’s vital to understand the potential risks associated with these medications.

Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. These side effects are usually mild and tend to diminish over time. However, consult a healthcare professional if any adverse effects persist or worsen.

More serious but rare side effects of Victoza include pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, and kidney problems. Please inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing medical conditions before starting treatment with Victoza or Saxenda.

Victoza or Saxenda may only be suitable for some seeking weight loss. These medications are generally prescribed to individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher, with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

Always consult a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate weight loss strategy based on your circumstances.

Alternative Medications for Weight Loss

While Victoza can be effective for weight loss, it may not be suitable or accessible for everyone.

Fortunately, there are alternative medications that can be considered under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Here are a few examples:

All weight loss medications should be used under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional. These medications are not standalone solutions but tools that can complement lifestyle changes.

Additionally, they may have potential side effects and contraindications, so discuss the options thoroughly with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable medication for your specific needs and medical history.

Remember, weight loss should be approached holistically, including a balanced diet, regular physical activity, behavior modifications, and support from healthcare professionals or registered dietitians.

Is Victoza Safe for Weight Loss?

While Victoza and Saxenda have demonstrated efficacy in promoting weight loss, it’s essential to approach these medications cautiously.

Both prescription medications should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Victoza should primarily be considered as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. At the same time, Saxenda can be prescribed for weight management in individuals with a BMI of 27 or higher and weight-related conditions.

Lower Your Victoza Prescription Amount

The Rx Advocates works with prescription assistance programs to help people like you pay for their medications.

Victoza can be expensive, which makes it unaffordable for many people. If you need help covering the cost of your prescription medication, contact us today.

  1. Mayo Clinic. Type 2 diabetes. March 14, 2023. Available at
  2. Saxenda Liraglutide Injection 3 mg. Prescription Weight Loss Medicine. July 2023. Available at
  3. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Liraglutide (marketed as Victoza) Information. July 16, 2016. Available at
  4. The New England Journal of Medicine. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of 3.0 mg of Liraglutide in Weight Management. July 2, 2015. Available at
  5. MedlinePlus. Orlistat. January 15, 2016. Available at
  6. Xenical. Xenical (orlistat). 2023. Available at
  7. Alli. Alli is the only OTC weight loss aid approved by the FDA. 2023. Available at
  8. Phentermine. November 8, 2022. Available at
  9. Contrave (naltrexone HCI/bupropion HCI). Get control over cravings. September 2022. Available at
  10. Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate extended-release capsules). Qsymia, the simply convenient choice for weight management. February 2023. Available at
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