Victoza is a drug originally manufactured to combat the disease of diabetes. Studies have shown that taking it in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet can lead to a 5-10% reduction in body mass. Weight loss studies have been conducted on patients with diabetes as well as those who did not have it and weight loss results were similar. Today, Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Victoza, is working to have it approved as a weight loss drug.
Although Victoza has yet to be officially approved for weight loss, it has become a very popular drug for Novo Nordisk. Its popularity may be because many people are using it for off-label reasons. Sales grew 58 percent in 2012 and another 14 percent in the latter part of 2013. In December, the pharmaceutical company filed two submissions with the FDA in order to prescribe it for weight loss. At this time, it is still only available for prescription to diabetes patients.
Victoza slows digestion and stimulates the production of insulin, which leads to weight loss. The higher the dosage, the larger the weight loss. A study done at the University of Copenhagen showed that subjects taking a dosage of 3.0 mg had an average weight loss of 16 pounds while those who took a doses ranging from 1.2 to 2.4 mg averaged between 10 and 13 pounds.
There are some concerns regarding side effects of taking Victoza including, but not limited to increased risk of pancreatitis as well as tumors of the thyroid. There are many that believe that the overwhelming amount of possible side effects overwhelms the positive benefits.
If history is any indication, regardless of the possible side effects, Victoza will be hugely successful for Novo Nordisk when it eventually becomes approved as a weight loss drug.