Victoza (Liraglutide) Prescription and Medicare Coverage

In this article...
  • Finding affordable prescription drugs may be possible through Medicare plans in your area. Learn more about Victoza and how to meet your medication needs.

Victoza is a medication that is used to improve the control of blood sugar in people who have type 2 diabetes. It contains the active ingredient liraglutide and is taken as an injection. The drug is only available as a name brand, which usually has a higher cost than a generic brand does. Depending on what health insurance plan you have, there may be ways to help you cover the cost of the drug.  

Let's take a closer look at what Victoza is and which Medicare health plans may provide coverage for your prescription. 

What to Know About Victoza

Victoza reduces the risk of major adverse heart events in adults who have type 2 diabetes or an established heart disease. The ingredient in the drug, liraglutide, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor that, when activated, stops your body from releasing more sugar and causes it to release more insulin instead. It also helps slow down digestion. 

With a Victoza prescription, you receive a pen injector that you can insert into the fatty part of the skin in your thigh, stomach or upper arm once per day. Each time you perform the injection, you should choose a new site on your body and always use a fresh needle. For sanitation purposes, you should also wash your hands before and after the shot. The typical dosage that is recommended to take is 18mcg/3ml, and you can take it with or without food. 

Side Effects

As with any prescription, Victoza has a few common side effects that you should be aware of. Some of these side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritation where the shot is given
  • Nose or throat irritation

Victoza has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in some animals, but it's unclear whether this extends to humans. However, it's recommended that you don't use the drug if there's a history of thyroid cancer in your family. It's important to call your doctor if you experience any side effects, especially if you find a lump in your neck, have trouble breathing, trouble swallowing or experience hoarseness that won't go away. 

Does Medicare Cover Victoza or Liraglutide?

There are some Medicare plans that may not cover Victoza, but some Medicare Advantage plans or Part D plans might. Medicare Advantage plans are known as Part C plans and come in a range of options, depending on what aspects of health insurance are most important to you. For some people, that may be plan price or provider network restrictions while other people may care more about customer satisfaction or the quality of the plan. 

Medicare Advantage plans that offer
coverage for prescription drugs are known as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MA-PD). These plans usually have their own drug list that documents which prescription drugs are covered by the plan and what that coverage looks like. Drug coverage and availability for Victoza will vary depending on which plan you have, whether you have a regular Part D plan or a MA-PD. Check your plan's formulary to understand what drugs are covered.

Important Information to Know About Victoza

What Is the Difference Between Victoza and Insulin?

Victoza is similar to insulin in the sense that you inject the medication into your body to help lower blood sugar. That being said, it's not categorized as a type of insulin. Victoza is different because it can keep your blood sugar under control when paired with healthy eating habits and exercise. In addition, the drug is used to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack or death. 

Can Victoza Cause Hair Loss?

Hair loss has not been recognized as a side effect of Victoza and has not been reported by people who have been taking the drug since its approval. If hair loss is a concern you have, you may want to reach out to your doctor. 

Can Victoza Hurt Your Kidneys?

Some patients have experienced more severe side effects of taking the drug such as kidney damage and kidney failure. It may be worth talking to your doctor if this is a side effect that you're concerned about.

Victoza is a complicated drug that has some major benefits and concerns with its usage, depending on your medical needs. Finding the right Medicare plan can help make the drug more affordable if you decide this prescription drug is a match for you. 

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