(BPT) – For the more than 29 million Americans who have diabetes,1 managing the disease may feel like a huge task. Having a strong support network and diabetes care team can help individuals to take an active role in their diabetes management – but one important topic that requires more education is an understanding of health insurance.2
When Melody Martin from Shelton, Connecticut, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2006, she knew that health insurance had to be a major part of her discussion with her health care provider. Understanding her medication coverage went hand-in-hand with developing a sustainable treatment plan. As part of her ongoing work in the diabetes community, Melody has shared her story with numerous families who are struggling to navigate the health care system.
“Health insurance is a topic I am sure to include when I’m speaking to others living with diabetes. Making sure your medication is affordable is necessary to staying on track with your diabetes management,” said Melody.
Here are 3 tips from Melody on how to factor health insurance into your individual treatment plan:
- Be proactive and raise questions with your health care provider. If your provider doesn’t bring up your insurance coverage as part of the treatment discussion, do not be afraid to ask questions! This will also help you anticipate any challenges when filling your prescription at the pharmacy.
- Educate yourself about your health insurance. There are numerous resources that provide personalized information about which medications are covered by your health plan, along with an easily digestible explanation of how health insurance works.
- Keep all health information stored together, and log a running list of questions to guide your online research and next doctor’s visit. Having your medical records, including your insurance information, compiled in one central place helps to make sure nothing is lost.
“Knowing that my medication is covered by my insurance is a big part of me being able to stick to and focus on my diabetes management,” said Melody. “From my research, I also knew that the maker of my medication offers a support program for eligible patients that includes personalized help.”
For more than 3 years now, Melody has been taking Victoza® (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) as part of her treatment plan, along with diet and exercise. Victoza® is a once-daily noninsulin injectable medication for adults with type 2 diabetes that is covered by 88.9% of commercial and Medicare Part D plans.3,4 To learn more about Victoza® and the support programs offered by Novo Nordisk, adults living with type 2 diabetes can visit Victoza.com.
Important Safety Information
What is the most important information I should know about Victoza® (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection)?
Victoza® may cause serious side effects, including:
- Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer. Tell your health care provider if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of thyroid cancer. In studies with rats and mice, Victoza® and medicines that work like Victoza® caused thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer. It is not known if Victoza® will cause thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people.
Who should not use Victoza®?
Do not use Victoza® if:
- you or any of your family have ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or if you have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
- you are allergic to liraglutide or any of the ingredients in Victoza®.
Indications and Usage
What is Victoza®?
Victoza® is an injectable prescription medicine that may improve blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes, and should be used along with diet and exercise.
- Victoza® is not recommended as the first choice of medicine for treating diabetes.
- It is not known if Victoza® can be used in people who have had pancreatitis.
- Victoza® is not a substitute for insulin and is not for use in people with type 1 diabetes or people with diabetic ketoacidosis.
- It is not known if Victoza® can be used with mealtime insulin.
- It is not known if Victoza® is safe and effective for use in children.
What should I tell my health care provider before using Victoza® (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection)?
Before using Victoza®, tell your health care provider if you:
- have or have had problems with your pancreas, kidneys, or liver.
- have any other medical conditions or severe problems with your stomach, such as slowed emptying of your stomach (gastroparesis) or problems with digesting food.
- are pregnant or breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed.
Tell your health care provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements, and other medicines to treat diabetes, including insulin or sulfonylureas.
How should I use Victoza®?
- Do not mix insulin and Victoza® together in the same injection.
- You may give an injection of Victoza® and insulin in the same body area (such as your stomach area), but not right next to each other.
- Do not share your Victoza® pen with other people, even if the needle has been changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them.
What are the possible side effects of Victoza®?
Victoza® may cause serious side effects, including:
- inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis). Stop using Victoza® and call your health care provider right away if you have severe pain in your stomach area (abdomen) that will not go away, with or without vomiting. You may feel the pain from your abdomen to your back.
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Your risk for getting low blood sugar may be higher if you use Victoza® with another medicine that can cause low blood sugar, such as a sulfonylurea or insulin.Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar may include: dizziness or lightheadedness, blurred vision, anxiety, irritability or mood changes, sweating, slurred speech, hunger, confusion or drowsiness, shakiness, weakness, headache, fast heartbeat, and feeling jittery.
- kidney problems (kidney failure). In people who have kidney problems, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting may cause a loss of fluids (dehydration), which may cause kidney problems to get worse.
- serious allergic reactions. Stop using Victoza® and get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including itching, rash, or difficulty breathing.
The most common side effects of Victoza® may include headache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and anti-liraglutide antibodies in your blood.
Victoza® (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) is a prescription medication. Talk to your doctor about the importance of diet and exercise in your treatment plan.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf. Accessed October 28, 2015.
- Loewenstein G, et al. Consumers’ misunderstanding of health insurance. J Health Econ. 2013;32:580-862. http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/laibson/files/consumers_jhe_sept2013.pdf?m=1391524638. Accessed November 4, 2015.
- Victoza [package insert]. Plainsboro, NJ: Novo Nordisk Inc; March 2015.
- Data on file. Novo Nordisk Inc; Plainsboro, NJ.
Victoza® is a registered trademark of Novo Nordisk A/S.
Novo Nordisk is a registered trademark of Novo Nordisk A/S.
© 2015 Novo Nordisk All rights reserved. 1115-00029002-1 December 2015