blood sugar testing by pricking finger, metformin (Glucophage), lower blood sugar, diabetes care, avert diabetes, side effects of metformin, cutting carbs

Type 2 diabetes has become an epidemic in the US and around the world. Doctors can choose from a number of medications to treat it. Each medicine has its own side effect profile. Both patients and doctors may need to become familiar with possible problems associated with the drugs, to make sure the treatment doesn’t become worse than the disease.

Victoza for Diabetes:

Q. I was prescribed Victoza for diabetes. At first, I had stomach cramps and frequent trips to the bathroom. After I got used to it they subsided.

A few months later I developed pancreatitis. I had pain in my stomach that wrapped around to my back. The pain did not go away until about three days after I stopped the Victoza. What can you tell me about it?

Victoza and Pancreatitis:

A. Liraglutide (Victoza) is an injected medication for type 2 diabetes. This medicine seems to lower the risk of cardiovascular complications, a major cause of death for people with diabetes (New England Journal of Medicine, July 28, 2016). It can cause pancreatitis, however. This is a very severe complication.

Other diabetes drugs that can cause pancreatitis include exanatide (Byetta), sitagliptin (Januvia) and saxagliptin (Onglyza). Symptoms include upper abdominal pain that may extend to the back. The pain may become worse after eating and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and fever.

Victoza may trigger other serious side effects such as abdominal pain (as you experienced), headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, back pain and serious allergic reactions. Anyone with a family history of thyroid cancer should use a different medicine to control blood sugar, since some patients have developed thyroid tumors. In addition to the pancreas, the liver and gallbladder may react badly to the drug. We are sending you our Guide to Managing Diabetes for more information about drugs for type 2 diabetes and nondrug approaches to help with blood sugar control.

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  1. Wendy
    Central Florida

    I was just prescribed Victoza to help control my blood sugars. The other medication that I was taking did absolutely nothing and my AIC has soared. It seems as if no matter what you take there are side effects. Just wondering how have others fared with Victoza. Was it well tolerated and did it get those numbers down?

  2. Julie
    Plano Texas

    My doc put me on it for weight loss. Made me nauseous. When I read side effects I threw it away. Adopted a keto type diet and my sugars were normal (80-90 fasting) within one week!!! No thanks medications. I also lost 6. Pounds and blood pressure improved to almost normal. No meds!

    • Wendy
      Central Florida

      How can i get information on the keto type diet? I hate these drugs for type 2 and their many side effects.

  3. Sharon

    Readers also might need to be informed about taking the antidiabetic drug JANUMET, which contains Januvia and metformin together. My husband was given a large daily dose of this drug to control his diabetes—which it never did—and he ended up with a malignant pancreatic tumor. An endocrinologist said he should not have been taking such a high dose of Janumet! Beware of this drug! He now takes metformin and glipizide but will have to be forever vigilant because of the pancreatic tumor. Do your research on these diabetic drugs!

  4. cpmt

    I have a question; I am using Lantis (insulin) and I would like to know if there are any serious side effects or problems with it. Anyone can give me some information? Thank you.

  5. Julie

    I would like to see information shared concerning a form of Type 2 diabetes called MODY. (Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young.) My endocrinologist thinks I may fit into this diagnosis even though I do not have the antibody.

    I positively do not fit the category for typical type 2. I am of slight build and far from overweight. I became Pre-diabetic likely in my early thirties, and now in my early forties, I am diabetic.
    The treatment for MODY is different since those with MODY are not insulin resistant but produce low insulin levels.

    Why is MODY never discussed? Many people like me wonder why they have type 2 diabetes but do not fit the typical profile.

  6. Susan

    I experienced the exact same symptoms as described in your article. I had read up on the side effects and realized what was happening. I stopped the medication . It took 3 days for all the pain to go away. More disturbing to me though was telling all of the doctors involved that I had a VERY strong history of thyroid disease in my family – in fact, all family members except me. They still prescribed the medicine without checking my thyroid before or during my time on the medication!

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