Victoza and Alcohol

by on June 5, 2012

Individuals who consume alcohol while using Victoza (Liraglutide) to control their type 2 diabetes should be aware of the possible interactions. In fact, alcohol may actually cause blood sugar levels to increase on its own, whether or not it is used in conjunction with this medication.

Though most studies have shown that light alcohol consumption generally does not affect the blood sugar significantly enough to cause concern, most people with type 2 diabetes should avoid alcohol completely. This is because alcohol can cause an abrupt drop in blood sugar levels as it is processed within the body. People who choose to drink an alcoholic beverage on occasion should always do so with a meal in order to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia and its associated side effects. Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption should be avoided due to the increased risks for problems of the heart, liver and circulatory system.

Victoza and Alcohol Use

Patients who are currently using Victoza (Liraglutide) to control their type 2 diabetes are generally able to drink one or two alcoholic beverages on occasion, provided they do so with meals. The risk for hypoglycemia certainly rises, however, due to the time it takes food and beverage to transit from the stomach into the small intestine. Patients may notice that they become intoxicated more quickly when taking Victoza because it takes a longer period of time for the alcohol to be completely digested. Also, the side effects associated with Victoza may increase or worsen if patients choose to drink alcohol during treatment.

Mild Side Effects

Patients who drink alcohol while using Victoza often report mild side effects that, while not fatal, may cause discomfort or the need to seek medical attention. These include

  • sudden-onset headaches
  • increased dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • increases in redness or swelling at the injection site

Also, patients may find that they do not feel hungry while drinking alcohol with this medication. Patients who experience any of these side effects are urged to stop drinking and wait for them to subside, though they should seek immediate medical attention if any of them persist for more than a few hours become bothersome.

Severe Side Effects

Individuals who drink heavily while taking Victoza are at an increased risk for the more serious side effects associated with this interaction, though they can occur only after one or two beverages. These include

  • trouble swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea accompanied by vomiting
  • severe allergic reactions
  • easy bruising or bleeding
  • extreme fatigue

If any of these symptoms occur, patients should stop drinking immediately and contact their health professionals. Also, some studies have shown an increased risk for suffering an allergic reaction, even if the patient has tolerated the medication well in the past. If an allergic reaction should occur, patients should seek help by going to a local emergency room or dialing 911.

People with type 2 diabetes are likely already aware of the significant side effects associated with drinking, though these side effects are different when the medication is combined with alcohol. In short, Victoza and alcohol may be used together so long as the patient drinks lightly and experiences no harmful or uncomfortable side effects.