I ran into Natalie Bellini, teen faculty for CWD’s Friends for Life, in the Poster Hall at the ADA’s Scientific Session. We had seen each other from afar for the better part of 3 days, but finally caught up with each other on the last day of Poster Hall was open. She was presenting a poster and wanted to grab a picture of it before the hall closed.
“What’s your poster above?” I asked.
“Victoza in people with type 1.”
“I’m on Victoza!” I exclaimed.
“What do you think?”
“Well, I haven’t been hungry in about a week!”
It’s true. Although nausea has been the side effect I’ve read the most, the biggest change I’ve noticed is the fact that I’m not hungry. Like, ever. Having had a voracious appetite my entire life, it’s quite a strange transition.
For the first few days, I sort of ignored the fact that I wasn’t hungry and ate as usual, but I quickly noticed that forcing food just made me feel sick to my stomach. That’s because one of the effects of Victoza is delayed gastric emptying, similar to how Symlin works. Eating normally was not only not very appealing, but it was physically impossible.
Some of my favorite things, like popcorn, cupcakes and even a freddo from Cali-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea, are things I just can’t finish anymore, which is simultaneously awesome and a little disappointing. Although it’s only been a little over a week since I started Victoza, I’ve already dropped five pounds.
I’ve been eating regularly though in much smaller portions to make sure that I’m getting what I need. Typically I start to feel a little empty after about six hours, so that’s been good, but it’s not really the same hungry sensation that I’m used to.
While I was at ADA, I spoke to the rep on the Medical Information side of the Novo Nordisk book (the folks who make Victoza). She explained a little bit about the impact Victoza was having on my digestion and on the glucagon production.
The liver’s glucagon release is normally blunted in non-PWDs, but that doesn’t happen with us, which is among several reasons why we spike after meals. With Victoza, I’m able to take less insulin at meals. So far my basal rate has not changed a whole lot. I’m down a little during the day and up a little at night, but I don’t think my basal rates have been particularly solid for awhile.
The other main effect, the gastric emptying, has made it a lot easier to enjoy food without worry about the effects. I’ve either gone low or stayed stable after eating most meals. The changes to my appetite and blood sugars have certainly been an adjustment but it’s an adjustment that I’m happy to make!