The Use of Victoza For Weight Loss In PCOS

Is Victoza A Weight Loss Miracle For PCOS?

victoza and pcos
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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition in women of childbearing age that causes infertility and metabolic problems. Insulin resistance affects approximately 50% to 70% of women with PCOS and is believed to be an underlying cause of the condition. At least half of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Weight loss of 5% to 10% of body weight has been shown to improve both metabolic and reproductive aspects of PCOS.

Diet and lifestyle are the primary treatment approaches for PCOS, yet some women with the syndrome continue to struggle with weight loss despite healthy changes to their eating and exercise.

The diabetes medication Metformin is a popular medication used among physicians to treat insulin resistance in PCOS but it doesn’t result in significant weight loss. New research suggests that the medication Victoza is an effective way to help women with PCOS lose weight and improve metabolic markers. Victoza, along with metformin and lifestyle changes may be an effective approach for weight loss in women with PCOS who fail to lose weight on diet, insulin-lowering supplements, exercise, and metformin.

What Is Victoza?

Victoza (Liraglutide) is an injectable medication with a similar structure to glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).  GLP-1 is a gut hormone that enhances glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, inhibits glucagon secretion, delays gastric emptying, and reduces food intake and appetite.

In type 2 diabetes,

Victoza has been shown to significantly lower HbA1c and body weight. Victoza has also been shown to have a significant effect on weight loss and reduced risk of pre-diabetes in non-diabetic overweight individuals, so much so that the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted in favor of Victoza to be approved for chronic weight management.

Beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol levels have been shown in individuals who take Victoza.

Victoza and PCOS: What The Research Shows

In an observational study, women with PCOS who took Victoza and Metformin for 7 months showed an average weight loss of 20 pounds. Eighty-two percent of women lost more than 5% and 33% lost more than 10% of their baseline weight. In addition to taking Victoza, the women in the study ate a low-glycemic diet with no caloric restriction, received guidance by a dietitian, and engaged in 45 min of moderate exercise at least three times each week.

A smaller study investigated the effect of Victoza and Metformin in PCOS patients. It showed a significantly greater weight loss with the medications combined, than with metformin alone.

One of the ways Victoza works in the body is by slowing down the release of food from the stomach. Women with PCOS have been shown to have impaired levels of appetite-regulating hormones. Patients with PCOS who take Victoza report feeling full sooner, and experience less of an appetite.

As a result, they consume less food and lose weight.   

What To Know About Taking Victoza

For the women with PCOS who struggle each day with weight loss despite a healthy diet and lifestyle, the addition of Victoza could be an answer for them. But at what price? Victoza may cause gastrointestinal side effects upon starting the medication, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal discomfort, which are usually resolved. In animal studies, Victoza was associated with thyroid tumors. It’s unknown whether Victoza causes thyroid tumors or cancer in humans. While it is a promising treatment option, more studies are needed to evaluate the long-term use of Victoza in women with PCOS.

Sources

Bode B. An overview of the pharmacokinetics, efficacy and safety of liraglutide. Diabetes Res Clin Pract (2012) 97:27–4210.1016.

Rasmussen CB, Lindenberg S. The effect of liraglutide on weight loss in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: an observational study. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2014 Aug 27;5:140.

Jensterle Sever M, Kocjan T, Pfeifer M, Kravos NA, Janez A. Short-term combined treatment with liraglutide and metformin leads to significant weight loss in obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome and previous poor response to metformin. Eur J Endocrinol. 2014 Mar; 170(3):451-9.

Moran LJ, Noakes M, Clifton PM, et al. Postprandial ghrelin, cholecystokinin, peptide YY, and appetite before and after weight loss in overweight women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(6):1603-1610.

Vilsboll T, Christensen M, Junker AE, Knop FK, Gluud LL. Effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists on weight loss: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. BMJ (2012):344.

Victoza website, www.victoza.com, accessed on August 7, 2016. 

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