Victoza (liraglutide) Reduces Heart Attacks, Strokes, And Death In People With Type 2 Diabetes
Drugs used for blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes can have varying effects (either beneficial or detrimental) on the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). The PROactive study showed that the use of pioglitazone (Actos) was associated with a positive and significant reduction in secondary composite endpoints of death, stroke, and myocardial infarction. In the U.K. Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS), metformin, the 1st line treatment for diabetes, reduced the risk of heart attacks in overweight diabetic patients when compared to patients that received insulin or a sulfonylurea.
A newer anti-diabetic drug has been associated with cardiovascular benefits. In the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial, empagliflozin (Jardiance) demonstrated a significantly lower risk of death from cardiovascular causes. In a study published in June 2016, liraglutide (Victoza) showed a reduction in death due to cardiovascular events.
What is Victoza and its mechanism of action?
Victoria (liraglutide) is a once a day injectable medication manufactured by Novo Nordisk. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its use in January 2010 for reducing blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes. Victoza can also promote weight loss in certain patients. If fact, liraglutide (Saxenda) is approved for treating obesity.
Victoza belongs to a group of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists because they resemble and mimic the action of the human GLP-1 hormone (incretin hormone). They are also called incretin mimics. GLP-1 analogs like Victoza have several effects that help reduce blood glucose levels.
Victoza prevents the liver from making too much sugar by reducing the amount of glucagon produced by the pancreas. Glucagon, a peptide hormone, causes the liver to produce more sugar. Therefore, reducing the amount of glucagon in the body helps reduce levels of sugar.
Victoza stimulates beta cells that reside in the pancreas to produce more insulin when blood sugar is high.
Victoza slows down the passage of food through the stomach. GLP-1 is normally released from the small intestine when food is consumed. GLP-1 slows down the process of food leaving the stomach (gastric emptying), which means the sugar from meals takes longer to get into the blood. This process helps control blood sugar after meals.