I am way behind the curve on any drugs that have been making the off-label rounds in the type 1 diabetes community because I was attempting pregnancy/actually pregnant/then breastfeeding my son for almost four years in total. I wasn’t willing or able to dabble in anything deemed experimental or unapproved. But I will never have another pregnancy (thanks, tubal ligation!), which opens up some options for my diabetes toolbox.
But it’s important to note that the things I’m talking about are considered off label for people with type 1 diabetes, or might also not be approved by insurance companies (of course, right – why would anything re: diabetes be affordable?), or might go against your doctor’s recommendations. So don’t take anything that I’ve written/will ever write as medical advice because it is decidedly NOT medical advice. I’m not a doctor. I have cats – never trust people who have cats. (Unless they are cats named Congress.)
That said, I have been using Victoza for a week now and so far, I’m excited by the results.
First off, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1986 and started my new normal by injecting Regular and NPH insulin. These insulins had huge bell curve that we had to chase with food, which meant that I was eating every two or three hours unless I wanted some nasty low blood sugar to crop up. I did not know what it felt like to be “hungry” until I went on an insulin pump at the age of 24.
That said, I’ve also never had a good sense of what it’s like to feel “full,” either. And that is a strange feeling to not remember. I’ve never had my leptin levels checked (to my knowledge, anyway) but I haven’t ever eaten for fun. It’s always been a complicated circus of either feeding blood sugars, chasing insulin, or guilt eating. (More on diabetes food lies here.)
And thirdly, despite pre-bolusing and counting carbs and eating lower-carb and all the other “hey, do this!” stuff that folks recommend for tightening up post-prandial blood sugars, I have consistently waged war against higher-than-I’d-like post meal numbers. They get spikey, and I get pissed.
So I looked into Victoza.
For a week now, I’ve taken an injection of Victoza every morning, before my house erupts into full-blown kid chaos. I am taking 0.6u, per my endo’s recommendation, and have only had one afternoon of mild nausea so far (and it was “fixed” by having a glass of water and an apple – apparently my stomach was empty and I was snacky).
A week isn’t really long enough to see major changes, but the seeds for change have been sowed. My Dexcom Clarity app shows my time in range up by 11% as compared to the week before (a big change for me), I’ve lost 5 lbs (granted, I have been trying to lose weight, so this may be a combined exercise/food/Victoza effort), I’ve reduced my overall basal rate, and I have felt “full” more often than not. And THAT is an amazing feeling. I don’t feel compelled to clean my plate (a throwback to the days of insulin that peaks), and I eat until I feel like I don’t want to eat anymore.
One note on the full feeling – I’ve stopped prebolusing, as I had some lows the first few days that were intense. As I’m adjusting to Victoza, it makes more sense for me to take half my meal bolus before I eat and then decide how much to take after the fact, based on how much I’ve actually eaten. I bolused for a a whole banana one afternoon and after only eating half, I ended up low. Parsing out my dosing has been helpful.
Three more quick things on the actual “taking of Victoza” itself: It took me a day or two to get into a routine of taking an injection again every morning, but that feels normalish now, a week later. For me, the shot produces a little subcutaneous “burning” sensation underneath my skin, but it is very brief (the Lantus burn took longer to dissipate). And taking the shot is something my family notices now, making diabetes a bit more visible than before. (“Hey mom, are you still wearing your pump?” I flash Birdy my t:slim pump. “Oh. Okay.” Long pause. “Then why are you taking a shot?”)
And one last thing: I have no idea how long I’ll continue to take this. I’m waiting to hear back from my insurance company as to what they’ll cover, if anything, and that matters a lot. I have no current plans to titrate up from the 0.6u dosing because if I’m seeing good numbers, am satisfied with my level of hunger, and am not experiencing nausea, I might leave well enough alone for the time being. But I’ll definitely be doing another seven days to see if my blood sugars continue to respond favorably.
Victoza has been noodling around in the T1 world for a while now. Here are a few write ups from other sites that give more context and more science-ish information. 🙂