I stopped taking Victoza. But I’d revisit it if necessary. Here’s the personal experience, not medical advice, talk to your doctor, etc. lowdown:
WHY I STARTED ON VICTOZA.
After having my son (he’ll be two in August), I experienced postpartum anxiety. It was next level for me and impeded a lot of my daily interactions. Therapy helped. When I stopped breastfeeding, that helped the most (more on that when I remember to write more on that). But even after the anxiety felt less acute, it was still amped up when compared to my pre-pregnancy levels.
And as always with me, mental disruptions map out as diabetes management disruptions. I was motivationally stunted by the anxiety issues, sending me into a messy clump of diabetes apathy. My blood sugars were bouncing. My appetite was confused. My weight was stuck.
I needed a jump start.
WHY I KEPT AT IT DESPITE SOME OF THE CONS.
I started Victoza back in April and had a good experience for several weeks. My post-prandial blood sugars were more stable. I lost some weight. My appetite hit a normal stride instead of the binge/never eat cycle I was mired in.
It never caused any real nausea or gastrointestinal issues, but it did give me the mildly burbly stomach at times. (Like not enough to make me think I was going to throw up, but just enough that it made my stomach lurch, similar to when one of my kids has a giant booger and I have to extract it from their nose and that is SO GROSS because boogers are UGH and that it makes me feel like I need a brief moment not to ralph. That kind of brief stomach tumble.) Using Victoza did contribute to low blood sugars that I sometimes struggled to get out of – more on that in a minute.
But on the whole, I was good with how it was working for several weeks. My time-in-range was in the 70s on average (some weeks were not as good, some were excellently in-range), I lost about 15 lbs thanks to reduced appetite and an uptick in exercise efforts (I did a lot of Cosmic Kids Yoga with the littles – can’t pretend not to love that strange YouTube lady), and my A1C was back where I wanted it to be as of a month ago. My insulin needs reduced as my weight dropped and food choices improved. As my blood sugars ran tighter, it became easier to exercise, monitor numbers, and not get burnt out or discouraged.
Not all of my progress is credited to a drug, but I need to credit the medication as helping me jumpstart improving my blood sugars and losing some weight. I’d never been in such a health rut before, and I needed to get the hell out of it.
WHY I STOPPED A FEW DAYS AGO.
Thing is, it’s a jumpstart for me, not a permanent plan. Victoza is not covered by my insurance plan, so my access to it will decrease once I use up the samples I had received. I also noticed that its effects weren’t as reliable recently – my blood sugars required a little more pre-bolusing to manage, the appetite suppression subsided, and on the whole, my CGM graphs were becoming less smooth. I’d read about how the effects of Victoza taper in some PWD over time, so I wasn’t surprised. (I also was taking 0.9 u at my peak use, never even making it to the full 1.2u dose and steering entirely clear of the 1.8u boost.)
I stopped using it about a week ago. I may revisit it again in a month or two, but I felt like my body was telling me to take a break. The breaking point was a three-day span of very clingy hypoglycemic episodes that required a lot of attention and were very mind-mangling. With two kids (one small and super busy), the lows felt too risky to continue Victoza. Coupled with some long travel on tap this summer, I didn’t want lows to deter me from feeling like a human being.
So the pens were capped up and returned to the fridge, where they’ll stay. For now.
WHY I’M OPEN TO REVISITING.
I really liked how my Dexcom graphs looked while I was on Victoza, for the most part. I felt good. Had more energy because I was coasting along the in-range middle ground instead of bouncing up and down. I really liked seeing my A1C result. I really liked seeing my time-in-range percentages so high. Sometimes I forget that people with diabetes run numbers between 80 – 110 mg/dL all day long and holy shit, they’re lucky. Exercising at 95 mg/dL feels AWESOME. Waking up at 109 feels AWESOME. I want that.
I’m very motivated at the moment to see what I can do to keep my numbers stable without Victoza, so I’m trying that for a few weeks, but if I go back to graphs of Ms and Ws, I will consider my options. While I prefer to manage without auxiliary medications, sometimes I need a kick here and there. After 30+ years with type 1 diabetes and now that my child-bearing years are behind me, I’m going to take advantage of advancements that can help me feel healthy.
I’m willing to do the hard work. And I also appreciate options that make the work a little less hard.