The topic of liraglutide side effects is getting a lot of attention due to vast interest in the weight loss potential of this peptide.
If you’re a researcher looking to conduct studies on liraglutide, then it’s essential to be aware of the possible risks of experimentation.
In this informative article, we explore the potential side effects of liraglutide and provide guidance on how to mitigate them in research settings.
We also discuss considerations related to liraglutide dosing and administration, and provide details on our most trusted source for obtaining research-grade liraglutide online.
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What is Liraglutide?
Developed in the 1990s by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, liraglutide was based on the discovery of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), with which it is 97% homologous [1, 2].
GLP-1 is an endogenous incretin hormone produced in the gut in response to carbohydrate intake, and plays an essential role in regulating blood sugar.
Liraglutide is a synthetic, long-acting analog of GLP-1. It works by activating the GLP-1 receptors, which are widely distributed throughout the body, namely in the pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, adipose tissue, kidneys, and central nervous system .
By activating these receptors, liraglutide increases insulin secretion, decreases glucagon secretion, suppresses appetite, and slows gastric emptying after a meal. This results in lower blood sugar, reduced postprandial hyperglycemia, improved feelings of fullness, and less cravings [2, 3].
Liraglutide was first approved for human use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 under the brand name Victoza. It was initially used as an add-on therapy for improving glycemic control in type 2 diabetes (T2D) .
Later, Victoza was also approved for reducing cardiovascular risk in T2D patients, while another liraglutide formulation under the brand name Saxenda was approved for chronic weight management in adults and adolescents.
Research into the use of liraglutide in other conditions is pending. The potential applications include non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), psoriasis, Alzheimer's, and even Parkinson's [5, 6, 7, 8].
What Does Liraglutide Do?
The various FDA-approved indications of liraglutide are based on substantial research to support its effects in diabetics and obese individuals.
Current research is also focused on the potential of liraglutide in other conditions, such as metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.
Improved Glycemic Control and Reduced Cardiovascular Risk in T2D
Research in type 2 diabetes patients has shown that once-daily liraglutide effectively reduces hemoglobin A(1c), body weight, and the risk of hypoglycemic events, whether used as a monotherapy or in combination with other medications. Liraglutide may also improve beta-cell responsiveness to glucose, potentially benefiting beta-cell mass and neogenesis .
According to another recent study, liraglutide may also reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and increase heart-rate variability in T2D patients. The authors found that once-daily 3mg liraglutide administration can reduce mean systolic blood pressure by 12.38 mmHg and mean diastolic blood pressure by 5.55 mmHg with 3-6 months of therapy .
Reduced Appetite and Increased Weight Loss
Numerous large-scale investigations have demonstrated that liraglutide can produce substantial weight loss in individuals with chronic weight issues .
One of the most extensive trials involved 846 participants from nine countries with both T2D and obesity. In this 56-week study, the subjects received either 3mg or 1.8mg liraglutide once daily or placebo. The results showed that the 3mg dose was the most effective regime at promoting weight management, leading to 6% weight loss, compared to 2% weight loss in the placebo group .
Reduced Inflammation in Neurodegenerative Disease Settings
Liraglutide may offer potential benefits in neurodegenerative disease settings by reducing brain inflammation, according to animal experiments. In a murine model of Parkinson's disease, liraglutide improved mouse behavior and increased neuron count in the substantia nigra while reducing inflammation .
Additionally, a 12-month trial conducted by Edison et al. (2021) and published in Journal of the Alzheimer's Association found that liraglutide therapy significantly improved cognitive function and brain cortex volume in Alzheimer's patients .
Liraglutide Side Effects | A-Z Guide
Studies into liraglutide therapy have provided extensive information on the potential side effects of liraglutide and strategies to minimize their occurrence, such as by determining the optimal dosing regime based on the condition treated .
To ensure safety in experimentation, researchers must be aware of potential liraglutide side effects, including their rate of occurrence and severity. Below you will find trial data regarding the risk of adverse events associated with once-daily 3mg liraglutide administration.
Common Liraglutide Side Effects
One of the largest clinical trials involving once-daily 3mg liraglutide administration was published by Pi-Sunyer et al. in 2015. It was conducted on patients with chronic weight issues, with 2487 patients receiving liraglutide and 1244 receiving placebo.
According to the authors, adverse reactions affected at least 5% of test subjects and were much more frequent in the liraglutide group compared to placebo. The side effects classified as common included :
- Nausea (40.2%)
- Diarrhea (20.9%)
- Constipation (20.0%)
- Vomiting (16.3%)
- Dyspepsia (9.5%)
- Upper abdominal pain (5.7)
Other side effects such as headache, dizziness, joint pain, and fatigue occurred with similar rates (5-15%) in both the liraglutide and the placebo groups. Hematoma at the injection site affected 5.7% of the liraglutide patients and 7.5% of the placebo group .
Liraglutide may also increase heart rate by around 8-9 beats per minute according to research. Although this side effect may be unpleasant for certain patients, researchers have found this effect to be completely benign and one that does not increase the risk of adverse events, even in patients with heart failure .
Further, the overall cardiovascular safety of liraglutide has been thoroughly examined, and the drug has been determined to be safe even in T2D patients with cardiovascular comorbidities .
Serious Adverse Events Associated With Liraglutide
In the trial conducted by Pi-Sunyer et al., rare (<1%) but serious side effects of liraglutide included pancreatitis and gallbladder disease. Also notably, about 20 patients (0.8%) in the treatment group developed cholelithiasis, compared to 12 patients (0.4%) in the placebo group. Further, four individuals (0.2%) in the liraglutide group experienced acute pancreatitis, compared to none in the control .
Studies report that activating the GLP-1 receptors suppresses the secretion of cholecystokinin after a meal, reducing the gallbladder's contractility, and potentially explaining the increased risk of cholelithiasis and other gallbladder problems .
Another study by Steinberg et al. (2017) reported that liraglutide 3.0mg once-daily was associated with increases in mean levels of amylase (7%) and lipase (31%), with more participants having experienced elevations in these levels compared to placebo .
In that study, the occurrence of gallstones had a much better predictive value for the occurrence of pancreatitis than the elevation of the pancreatic enzymes. In fact, the researchers suggested that gallstones may have contributed to 50% of the pancreatitis cases .
Potential Risks of Liraglutide Therapy
Side effects that are serious but not yet proven to occur in humans include thyroid, breast, and pancreatic cancers. The data on these side effects are from animal studies that report a small but statistically significant increased risk of these cancers .
Researchers are yet to determine the clinical significance of these potential adverse effects.
Liraglutide Cycle | Safety Concerns
The majority of liraglutide trials involving the maximum approved dose of 3mg/daily have lasted 20-56 weeks, with each reporting a favorable safety profile for the GLP-1 agonist [12, 15, 19, 21, 22].
One of the longer trials in volunteers with overweight and obesity lasted 68 weeks and reported that the rate of serious adverse events was around 11%, compared to 7% in the placebo group. On the other hand, 82.7% of the test subjects reported milder side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues. About 27.6% of the subjects on liraglutide dropped off the trial compared to 17.6% in the placebo group .
Notably, liraglutide has been administered safely for weight management and glycemic control in T2D for up to five years (60 months) at the daily dose of 1.8mg .
Based on the data available, liraglutide may be safely administered for extended durations in chronic weight management settings.
Liraglutide Dosage Guide
An appropriate liraglutide dosing protocol for research settings depends on various factors, including the research objective.
Clinical trials represent the primary source of scientific data regarding the dosing of liraglutide, which has been investigated for its effects on diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular health.
In clinical practice, liraglutide is typically administered in doses of up to 1.8mg for type 2 diabetes and up to 3.0mg for chronic weight management [24, 25].
Liraglutide has a half-life of roughly 13 hours, making it suitable for once-daily administration .
Liraglutide Dosing for Weight Loss
In weight loss settings, it is essential to begin with a low daily dose of 0.6mg and gradually increase the liraglutide dose over several weeks to reduce the likelihood of adverse effects.
Here is a sample liraglutide dosing regimen for weight loss based on current guidelines [27, 28]:
- Liraglutide Dose: Start with 0.6mg/daily in week one, followed by an increase to 1.2mg/daily in week two, 1.8mg/daily in week three, 2.4mg/daily in week four, and 3.0mg/daily in weeks five and beyond.
- Frequency: Once daily at regular times.
- Study Duration: 20-64 weeks.
- Notes: The optimal liraglutide dose will vary depending on the research aim. Dosages may need to be adjusted accordingly but should never exceed 3mg/daily.
Where to Buy Liraglutide Online? | 2023 Edition
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Bacteriostatic Water For Injection
To successfully conduct research with liraglutide and similar peptides, scientists will need a properly equipped lab. The essential equipment for handling injectable peptides involves insulin syringes, bacteriostatic water, and sterile vials, among others.
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Meanwhile, their premium research kit will provide every researcher with:
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Side Effects of Liraglutide | Verdict
Liraglutide is a synthetic, long-acting peptide analog of GLP-1, prized for its efficacy in managing T2D and chronic weight issues.
The peptide is generally well-tolerated, with the most common side effects being gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. Serious but rare side effects include gallbladder disease and pancreatitis.
Researchers must stay aware of all potential liraglutide side effects and mitigate their incidence in research settings, such as by following appropriate dosing guidelines.
If you’re interested in purchasing liraglutide for research purposes, we recommend Peptide Sciences, the vendor with the purest peptides and most secure buying experience on the market.