Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Consumer Group to FDA: Take Victoza off the Market

Consumer Watchdog Group 'Public Citizen' Challenges Safety of Popular Type 2 Diabetes Drug

Victoza Maker Responds

The drug's maker, Novo Nordisk, disputes Public Citizen's claim that the drug should be pulled from the market.

"Novo Nordisk is committed to patient safety and rejects Public Citizen's assertion that the benefits of Victoza are outweighed by its risks," the company states in an email to WebMD. "In the two years since Victoza was approved, Novo Nordisk has continued to work closely with the FDA and the medical community to monitor the benefits and appropriate use of Victoza. Our experience in those two years does not support the Public Citizen call to deprive patients of the benefits of Victoza."

The FDA declined to comment. A representative of the agency said the FDA would respond directly to Public Citizen after reviewing the petition.

Victoza in Clinical Practice

Endocrinologist Suneil Koliwad, MD, PhD, says that plenty of drugs effectively treat type 2 diabetes, and he sees no reason to "aggressively defend" the use of Victoza. Compared to drugs that have long and proven safety records, he says, Victoza's safety is not thoroughly established, and he is particularly concerned about inflammation of the pancreas.

"The drug's trial was not long enough to see a sufficient safety record," says Koliwad, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco's Diabetes Center. "How rare is rare enough that we accept safety risks and still give this to our patients? Some medications we do give because they are the best available. Here that is not the case."

Koliwad says that some patients may benefit from Victoza and drugs in its class, but they should be thoroughly counseled prior to taking it. And he says that doctors should look at all of the available drugs before prescribing Victoza and similar medications. For those patients taking it already, Koliwad says they should stay on it if it works and is not causing problems.

"The primary concern should be that you are controlling your diabetes," says Koliwad.

Spyros Mezitis, MD, PhD, agrees.

"If there are no issues, we continue patients on the drug and we continue monitoring them while on it," says Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who prescribes Victoza to patients only after a comprehensive discussion of their family health history, particularly regarding their thyroid.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner