What is Victoza?

Victoza belongs to a group of diabetes medications known as incretin mimetics. The prescription drug helps relieve insulin deficiencies while preventing the overproduction of sugar in patients struggling with type 2 diabetes. However, the drug was controversial even before it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2010.

Victoza Side Effects

Common side effects of Victoza include:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea and nausea
  • Head pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Incomplete or infrequent bowel movements 

Serious side effects associated with Victoza include intense abdominal pain, low blood sugar, kidney disease, difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, lump in the neck and hoarseness. Some patients may experience an allergic reaction as well.

Victoza Pancreatic Cancer Risks

The FDA issued a safety communication in March 2013 to inform the public and health care providers that the agency continues to investigate the safety of the type 2 diabetes medication. According to the warning, the FDA is evaluating unpublished research that may suggest an increased risk of pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, as well as pre-cancerous cellular changes associated with the treatment of type 2 diabetes with incretin mimetics such as Victoza. The FDA has previously warned the public about post-marketing reports of fatal and non-fatal cases of acute pancreatitis associated with the use of other incretin mimetic drugs.

Other Victoza Risks

The FDA released a statement in June 2011 acknowledging the potential link between the medication and thyroid cancer. The agency reportedly analyzed 25 separate claims of the cancer between February 2010 and September 2011. In May 2011, the FDA also reportedly ordered that the medication’s warning level be updated to indicate a potential relationship with renal impairment. The statement reports that Victoza may cause renal impairment, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea or dehydration that often requires hemodialysis.

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Drug makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a drug maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.

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