Victoza is a once daily, injectable medication used to treat type 2 diabetes by increasing the amount of insulin the body produces. The drug’s name is liraglutide, and it belongs to the GLP-1 agonist class of drugs. Manufactured by Novo Nordisk, it was approved by the FDA in 2010.
There has been a lot of hype around Victoza. Novo Nordisk signed up Paula Deen as a celebrity spokesperson for the drug, and soon it was a huge moneymaker for the drugmaker.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Victoza was being connected with serious side effects, leading some to call for its removal from the market.
From the beginning, during Victoza’s animal trials, the rats and mice receiving liraglutide began developing thyroid tumors and a rare type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma. The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones that regulate critical bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.
Of course Novo Nordisk minimized the risk of thyroid, and at first the FDA agreed as well, not finding the animal results relevant to humans.
A few years later, after adverse events began being reported, the FDA found it relevant enough to add a black box warning to Victoza, the most serious type of warning that the FDA can require.
The warning stated:
Liraglutide causes thyroid C-cell tumors at clinically relevant exposures in rodents. It is unknown whether Victoza causes thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans, as human relevance could not be determined by clinical or nonclinical studies. Victoza is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of MTC or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.
Like other GLP-1 agonists, Victoza has been linked to pancreatitis as well. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Upper abdominal pain that can radiate to the back
- Swollen or tender abdominal area
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increases in heart rate
Victoza contains a warning about this in the label, but the FDA is planning another long-term study of the effects these drugs have on the pancreas, which may affect the current state of the drugs.
The FDA also warns that patients are at particularly high risk of pancreatic complications when their dosage is increased. If a dose is increased, doctors and patients should be especially vigilant.
In May of 2011, the FDA added renal failure to the warnings and precautions section of Victoza’s label. Renal failure may occur if Victoza causes nausea and vomiting, which may lead to dehydration, which can then lead to kidney failure. Therefore, doctors are warned to be aware of using Victoza in patients that already suffer from kidney impairment.
The signs of renal failure include:
- Changes in the color of urine
- Little or no urine when you urinate
- Swelling that starts at the feet and legs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the back below the rib cage
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling confused, anxious, or restless
The Attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP Can Help
The risks that Victoza poses are serious, and thousands of victims have already suffered thyroid, pancreatic, or kidney complications. If you have taken Victoza and have been injured, an attorney can give you the answers you need. Call us today to find out if you qualify for compensation. We hope you find the resources on this website helpful and informative. Remember that we are here to answer any questions you may have.