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Victoza Side Effects

Common side effects of the Type 2 diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide) include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Nausea was the most reported side effect. Studies also link the drug to serious problems such as pancreatitis and gallbladder disease.

Last Modified: April 17, 2024
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Latest Victoza Side Effects Information

Victoza (liraglutide) can cause side effects in those taking the drug. Side effects range from mild to severe.

Gastrointestinal disorders were the most common Victoza side effects reported to the FDA. Nausea was the most common side effect reported, followed by diarrhea second and vomiting third.

As of the most recent available data published on Dec. 31, 2023, 29,845 total adverse event cases had been reported by Victoza users.

FDA Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS) Data for Victoza Side Effects
Total cases reported29,845
Serious cases (including deaths)11,076
Source: FAERS Database

Latest Liraglutide Side Effect Warnings

In October 2023, a JAMA research letter found people who took liraglutide for weight loss under the brand name Saxenda suffered from cases of gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), bowel obstruction, pancreatitis and biliary disease.

Ozempic (semaglutide) and Mounjaro (tirzepatide) are GLP-1 drugs like Victoza and several people have filed Ozempic lawsuits against Novo Nordisk claiming the company failed to adequately warn about the risk of gastroparesis, intestinal blockages and severe vomiting that can last for weeks and even months.

Lawyers are also accepting cases from people who took Saxenda, Victoza’s weight loss counterpart, and suffered these side effects.

Lawsuit Information
People who developed gastroparesis after using diabetes drugs such as Ozempic and Mounjaro are filing lawsuits.
View Lawsuits

Common Victoza Side Effects

Common Victoza (liraglutide injection) side effects include gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In clinical trials, these reactions occurred in 5 percent or more of Type 2 diabetes patients who took the drug.

Common side effects of Victoza include:
  • Back pain
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Headache
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Injection site reactions
  • Nasopharyngitis
  • Nausea
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Vomiting

The medication may have one desirable side effect for Type 2 diabetes patients: decreased appetite. People take in fewer calories because the drug decreases appetite and this may lead to weight loss.

Serious Victoza Side Effects

In addition to common side effects, Victoza’s medication label warns about a few serious side effects including worsening of pancreatitis and gallbladder disease. It also carries a black box warning — the FDA’s most serious warning — for the risk of thyroid cancer.

Serious side effects include:
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Kidney Failure
  • Kidney Problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Serious allergic reactions

Some experts are raising concerns about GLP-1 drugs and their link to potentially serious health problems when used for weight loss. Out of 4,400 people taking liraglutide in the form of Saxenda, there were 73 bowel obstructions, 71 cases of pancreatitis, 66 cases of stomach paralysis and 162 cases of biliary disease, according to the October 2023 JAMA research letter.


In March 2013, an FDA Drug Safety Communication warned that several Type 2 diabetes drugs, including Victoza, may increase the risk of pancreatitis. The FDA also flagged some data that suggests precancerous changes to the pancreas.

Illustration of acute pancreatitis
Victoza’s medication insert warns that the drug may increase the risk of pancreatitis.

In April 2023, researchers published a case study in The Cureus Journal of Medical Science of a 73-year-old man who had developed pancreatitis from liraglutide use.

“Clinical trials by Novo Nordisk showed an incidence of 1.6 cases of acute pancreatitis per 1000 patient-years exposure to liraglutide compared to 0.7 cases per 1000 patient-years exposure for total active comparators,” according to researchers.

Thyroid Cancer

Victoza has a black box warning for the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a rare and difficult-to-treat type of thyroid cancer.

The drugmaker placed the warning on the medication based on animal studies that showed mice exposed to liraglutide developed tumors, and researchers don’t actually know how this will affect humans.

Victoza Black Box Warning
Victoza’s black box warning.

Previously, studies linked GLP-1 drugs to a potential risk of thyroid cancer. More recently, this link has been called into question. The FDA hasn’t removed the black box warning.

However, the European Medicines Agency announced in October 2023 that “available evidence does not support a causal association between the Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1) – exenatide, liraglutide, dulaglutide, semaglutide and lixisenatide — and cancer of the thyroid.”

Gallbladder Problems

Victoza’s drug label warns that clinical trials found some patients who took the drug suffered acute gallbladder disease. Most of these people required hospitalization and/or gallbladder removal.

According to the clinical trial data, 3.1 percent of the 4,666 patients who took Victoza suffered gallbladder disease compared to 1.9 percent of the 4,672 placebo-treated patients.

Researchers have theories about how the medication may affect the gallbladder. A 2018 study in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism showed liraglutide slowed the process of bile leaving the gallbladder. If the bile builds up in the gallbladder, it can cause inflammation and infection, a condition known as cholecystitis.

Managing Victoza Side Effects

Managing Victoza’s most common gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea involves making changes to diet and taking antacids.

Dr. Maria Anton, an endocrinologist and educator at the Pritikin Longevity Center compares Victoza’s side effects to other GLP-1 drugs, and they include mostly “gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches and fatigue.”

“At the Pritikin Longevity Center, we advocate for comprehensive lifestyle modifications through education and whole and plant-based foods, which can help mitigate potential side effects and promote long-term weight management success,” said Dr. Anton.

She also advises patients to eat smaller, bland and lower-fat meals as well as to stay properly hydrated.

When To See Your Doctor

Although rare, Victoza can cause problems with the pancreas, low blood sugar, serious allergic problems and gallbladder problems. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately.

See your doctor if you have:
  • Allergic reactions such as swelling in the face, lips, tongue or difficulty breathing.
  • Gallbladder symptoms such as jaundice, pain in the upper stomach or clay-colored stools.
  • Signs of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, fast heartbeat, anxiety, vision problems, sweating, slurred speech or confusion.
  • Stomach pain that won’t go away, with or without vomiting.

Always tell your medical provider about all the side effects you experience after starting Victoza.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.