ATC Code A08AX02, A10BJ02
Formula C172H265N43O51
Physical State solid
CAS Number 204656-20-2
PUB Number 16134956
Drugbank ID DB06655


Liraglutide is a so-called incretin mimetic or GLP-1 analog. It is used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus and to prevent cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes. In addition, it is approved for the treatment of obesity above a BMI of 30 in combination with dietary measures. It is administered as a subcutaneous injection.

Liraglutide was developed by Novo-Nordisk and was approved in the United States in 2010 and in the European Union in 2009.



Liraglutide is a synthetically produced analog of the endogenous "glucagon-like-peptide-1" (GLP-1). The major advantage of this active ingredient lies in its modified structure, as it has a greatly extended retention time in the blood due to the addition of a fatty acid and a slight modification of the amino acid sequence. The endogenously occurring GLP-1, on the other hand, is broken down in the body by the body's own enzymes in the intestine after only about 1-2 minutes.

Like GLP-1, liraglutide binds to the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor. Binding to the receptor and the resulting increase in cyclic AMP stimulates the glucose-dependent release of insulin, inhibits the glucose-dependent release of glucagon, and slows gastric emptying. Through these mechanisms, post-meal blood glucose levels are kept low.


The bioavailability of liraglutide after subcutaneous injection is approximately 55% and the maximum plasma concentration is reached after approximately 11 hours. Liraglutide is present in the blood more than 98% bound to serum albumin. Due to its altered structure, liraglutide is degraded and metabolized much more slowly by the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4), which is why its plasma half-life is about 13 hours.


Side effects

  • Nausea
  • Emesis
  • Diarrhea
  • constipation
  • Headache

In rare cases, pancreatitis may occur. A slightly increased risk of developing medullary thyroid carcinoma is associated with its use.

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Markus Falkenstätter

Markus Falkenstätter

Markus Falkenstätter is a writer on pharmaceutical topics in Medikamio's medical editorial team. He is in the last semester of his pharmacy studies at the University of Vienna and loves scientific work in the field of natural sciences.

Mag. pharm Stefanie Lehenauer

Mag. pharm Stefanie Lehenauer

Stefanie Lehenauer has been a freelance writer for Medikamio since 2020 and studied pharmacy at the University of Vienna. She works as a pharmacist in Vienna and her passion is herbal medicines and their effects.

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