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Liraglutide is an incretin mimetic. It is a long-acting Glucagon-Like peptide-1(GLP-1) analog. Liraglutide is mainly used in the management of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Mode of action

Glucagon-Like Peptide has receptors at various tissues which include;- Kidney, lungs, central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, pancreas at the Beta and alpha cells.

Role of Liraglutide in the management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus include:

Pancreas.

The analogs decrease secretion of glucagon by alpha cells. They are also referred to as insulin secretagogues since they promote insulin secretion when glucose concentration increases in the bloodstream. In the Beta cells, they inhibit their apoptosis and increase their regeneration.

Gastrointestinal system

Liraglutide delays absorption of nutrients by decreasing gastrointestinal motility.

Liver

Due to reduced glucagon secretion, the liver decreases the hepatic output of glucagon. Role of Liraglutide in the management of obesity include;- Liraglutide acts on the satiety center in the brain thus making individuals feel full and reducing their urge to eat. This leads to weight loss.

Pharmacokinetic properties

Liraglutide is a long-acting derivative of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1. GLP-1 is an incretin or a peptide hormone produced in the small intestine. Its production is stimulated by the presence of nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. However, the peptide is rapidly metabolized by Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 (DPP-4) enzyme which is found in the liver capillaries and intestines.

The action of Liraglutide is prolonged by adding fatty acids into GLP-1 this results in increased binding to albumin thus reducing rapid degradation and increased renal elimination.

Liraglutide has a half-life of 12-14 hours and reaches peak plasma levels between 8-12 hours. Liraglutide drug is eliminated in the kidneys through the glomerular filtration process.

Dosage and administration

Liraglutide is usually administered one hour before meals. Usually administered via subcutaneous injection. The drug is administered at the thigh, upper arm or abdomen. The three sites are usually rotated to avoid adverse effects at the injection site.

This is not a common drug since it is injected into the body. Hence, a patient needs to take instructions keenly before administering this medication. Before even administering the drug, take the leaflet inside the medication packet and read instructions very carefully as written by the pharmacist. If you have any questions regarding the drug, consult with your doctor.

Check the drug carefully to ascertain the quality. This is done by checking if there are any particles, discoloration, and change of texture. If there are any changes, do not attempt to use the drug. Do not shake the drug.

Benefits of liraglutide

  • Euglycemic- The drug reduces blood glucose levels but never below normal levels hence do not cause hypoglycemia like other anti-diabetics.
  • Induce weight loss - Liraglutide has been considered to be the fifth drug in the United States for the treatment of obesity. The drugs work by delaying stomach emptying which in turn makes the obese individual feel full which reduces their intake of extra food. This, in the long run, reduces the amount of food they were eating in a weeks' time.
  • Delays destruction of beta cells.
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular complications through cardioprotection which is important in patients with both Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and heart diseases.

Side effects

Common side effects include:

  • A headache
  • Stomach upsets
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
  • Common Cold symptoms which include;- sneezing, stuffy nose, facial pain due to inflammation of the sinuses, sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Pain at the injection site

Hypersensitivity reactions this is because Liraglutide is a peptide. Allergic reactions may present as fever, chills.

Serious side effects include:

  • Anorexia until the patient has to learn to eat again
  • Hoarse voice
  • Dyspnea which is shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Polydipsia which is increased thirst.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Pancreatitis which present as nausea, pain in the upper part of the stomach and increase heart rate
  • Confusion

You may inform your doctor or pharmacist in case you start experiencing any of the above Liraglutide symptoms or you can report to FDA 1-800-FDA 1088.

Liraglutide DRUG INTERACTIONS

Interactions may occur with drugs that affect blood sugar levels. Examples of such drugs include:

Corticosteroids example prednisolone.

Beta blockers such as propranolol, atenolol.

Fluoroquinolone antimicrobials example ciprofloxacin.

It is therefore important to inform your doctor or pharmacist of any medication, supplements or herbs you may be taking so as to avoid any untoward effects.

Liraglutide CONTRAINDICATIONS

Liraglutide is contraindicated in various conditions which include:

Renal dysfunction - Liraglutide is excreted via the kidneys hence administrating it in a renal impaired patient could lead to increased concentration of the drug thus increased risk of side effects. This happens due to the inability of the kidney to secrete contents that are coming through the afferent arteriole.

Intestinal disorders - This would increase the concentration of the drug since Liraglutide is metabolized by DPP-4 produced from the intestines. This would increase the risk of adverse reactions

Patients with a family history of thyroid cancer as the drug may increase the risk of thyroid tumors.

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome-2 (MENS-2).

Warning

Black Box Warning

Liraglutide has a black boxed warning on the prescription label which signals life-threatening risks example pancreatitis and medullary thyroid cancers. The drug liraglutide has been studied to trigger thyroid tumor C-Cells in rodents. Human risk has not been determined yet. This drug is not to be administered to people/patients who have a familial history of medullary thyroid carcinoma due to exacerbation. It is advisable to have frequent or routine check-up of calcitonin levels.

Storage

Liraglutide is stored in a refrigerator maintained at 36F-46F. The injection usually expires within 30 days after first use. Within this period Liraglutide may be stored in the refrigerator or under room temperature(59F-86F).

Liraglutide Overdose

An overdose occurs if the patient takes an excess amount of the dosage prescribed in the prescription. To avoid this, kindly stick to the doctors prescription. If you experience any weird symptoms report to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In case you are in Canada, Seek a doctor or a pharmacist for professional advice. You may also use this telephone line for Health Canada - 1-866-234-2345

Liraglutide Price

Liraglutide injection price is not that costly as compared to most antiviral drugs. It is one of the most affordable anti-diabetic drug available. You can buy Liraglutide pen injector online on various sites which are accredited to sell drugs through their websites such as FairPriceRX.com

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