Trulicity is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s FDA-approved for the following uses in adults with type 2 diabetes:

  • To lower blood sugar levels. For this use, Trulicity is prescribed along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar levels.
  • To reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems. For this use, Trulicity is prescribed for adults with either known cardiovascular disease or more than one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It’s used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke that don’t lead to death. And the drug is used to lower the risk of death caused by a cardiovascular condition.

For more information about Trulicity’s approved uses and certain limitations of the drug, see the “Trulicity uses” section below.

Drug details

Trulicity contains the drug dulaglutide. It belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. (A class of drugs describes a group of medications that work in the same way.)

Trulicity comes as a liquid solution inside prefilled, single-dose, disposable pens. It’s given once a week as an injection under the skin (a subcutaneous injection). You’ll give yourself Trulicity injections at home after your doctor or pharmacist shows you how.

Effectiveness

For more information on Trulicity’s effectiveness, see the “Trulicity uses” section below.

Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide. It’s a biologic drug that’s available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in biosimilar form.

A biosimilar medication is a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug (the parent drug).

Biologic drugs are made from living cells. It’s not possible to copy these drugs exactly. A generic, on the other hand, refers to drugs made from chemicals. A generic is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.

Biosimilars are considered to be just as safe and effective as their parent drug. And like generics, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name medications.

Trulicity can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Trulicity. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Association (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs they have approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Trulicity, you can do so through MedWatch.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Trulicity can include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal (belly) pain
  • upset stomach
  • decreased appetite
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • nausea*
  • constipation*

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect details” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Trulicity aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect details” section below.
Trulicity has a boxed warning regarding the risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug, or whether certain side effects pertain to it. Here’s some detail on several of the side effects this drug may or may not cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Trulicity. In clinical trials, allergic reactions occurred in 0.5% of people who took Trulicity. And some of these reactions were severe.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing
  • fainting or feeling dizzy
  • very rapid heartbeat

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Trulicity. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Weight loss

Although Trulicity is not a weight-loss drug, people taking it may lose weight. This is because of how it works in the body. See the “How Trulicity works” section below for more details.

In a clinical study, people who took Trulicity for 26 weeks lost 3 to 5 pounds. In comparison, people who took another diabetes drug called metformin lost about 5 pounds.

If you take Trulicity with other diabetes drugs, the amount of weight you lose may vary depending on the specific drugs you’re taking.

Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about losing weight while taking Trulicity.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) was a rare but serious side effect seen in clinical studies of Trulicity.

In these studies, 1.4 cases of pancreatitis occurred out of every 1,000 people who took Trulicity for 1 year. Out of every 1,000 people who took other diabetes medications* for 1 year, there were 0.88 cases of pancreatitis.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • severe abdominal (belly) pain that may spread to your back
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • rapid heart rate

Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms that don’t go away. Your doctor can determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment. If you have pancreatitis while taking Trulicity, your doctor will have you stop taking the drug. You shouldn’t restart Trulicity if you’ve had pancreatitis while taking it.

* These other diabetes medications belonged to a different class of drugs than Trulicity belongs to. (A class of drugs describes a group of medications that work in the same way.)

Nausea

Nausea is a common side effect of Trulicity.

In clinical studies, nausea occurred in:

  • 12.4% to 21.2%* of people who took Trulicity
  • 5.3% of people who took a placebo (a treatment with no active drug)

People who felt nauseated during clinical trials also reported burping and vomiting.

Also in the studies, vomiting occurred in:

  • 6% to 12.7%* of people who took Trulicity
  • 2.3% of people who took a placebo

If you have nausea, vomiting, or burping while using Trulicity, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to reduce these side effects.

* This percentage range varied based on the dose of Trulicity given.

Injection site reactions

Injection site reactions weren’t commonly reported in clinical studies of Trulicity, but they may occur. With an injection site reaction, you have symptoms in the area where you inject a medication into your body.

In clinical studies, 0.5% of people who took Trulicity had injection site reactions. These reactions included pain, redness, bruising, and rashes. Of the people who took a placebo (a treatment with no active drug), no one had an injection site reaction.

Talk with your doctor if you have pain, redness, bruising, or rashes near the area of your Trulicity injection.

Constipation

Constipation may occur while taking Trulicity. In clinical studies, constipation occurred in:

  • 3.7% to 3.9%* of people who took Trulicity
  • 0.7% of people who took a placebo (a treatment with no active drug)

Talk with your doctor if you have constipation while taking Trulicity. They can recommend ways to help reduce this side effect.

* This percentage range varied based on the dose of Trulicity given.

Digestive problems

Digestive problems may occur while taking Trulicity. In clinical studies, digestive side effects occurred in:

  • 31.6% to 41%* of people who took Trulicity
  • 21.3% of people who took a placebo (a treatment with no active drug)

These side effects were more common in people taking 1.5 mg of Trulicity than in those taking 0.75 mg of Trulicity. Symptoms of digestive problems may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • abdominal (belly) pain
  • dehydration (low fluid level)
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • lack of appetite
  • severe diarrhea that lasts longer than a few days
  • severe vomiting that lasts longer than a few days

In some cases, these digestive side effects may become severe or won’t go away without treatment. If you have digestive problems, talk with your doctor. They will determine the best treatment for your symptoms.

* This percentage range varied based on the dose of Trulicity given.

Low blood sugar

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level) is a possible side effect of Trulicity. This side effect was more commonly seen when Trulicity was used with other diabetes drugs, such as insulin or sulfonylureas.

In clinical studies, when Trulicity was used with a sulfonylurea (glimepiride, glipizide, or glyburide), 20% to 21%* of people had hypoglycemia. When Trulicity was used with insulin, 69% to 77%* of people had hypoglycemia. (See the “Trulicity interactions” section below for more details about this interaction.)

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • headache
  • tremor (shakiness)
  • hunger
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • irregular or rapid heart rate
  • confusion

If you notice symptoms of hypoglycemia, consume some form of glucose (sugar) right away. This could be glucose tablets, pure sugar, hard candy (not sugar-free), or a glass of fruit juice.

If you find that you’re having hypoglycemia symptoms more often than usual, tell your doctor right away. They may need to adjust your dosages for your diabetes medications.

* This percentage range varied based on the dose of Trulicity given.

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is a possible side effect of Trulicity. In fact, Trulicity has a boxed warning for this possible risk. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In animal studies, there was an increased risk of thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer seen in rats. It’s not known if Trulicity also increases this risk in humans.

You shouldn’t take Trulicity if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). MTC is a rare type of thyroid cancer. You also shouldn’t take Trulicity if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Symptoms of thyroid tumors or cancer include:

  • lump in your neck
  • trouble swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • hoarse voice that doesn’t get better

Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms. They can determine the cause and recommend any treatment you may need.

Joint pain (not a side effect)

Some diabetes drugs, such as Januvia (sitagliptin) and Tradjenta (linagliptin), can cause severe joint pain. However, joint pain wasn’t a side effect seen in clinical studies of Trulicity.

If you have joint pain while taking any diabetes medication, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to help reduce your pain, or they may suggest changing your medication.

The Trulicity dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on how your body responds to the drug.

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide. It comes as liquid solution inside prefilled, single-dose disposable pens.

The Trulicity pens come in two strengths:

  • 0.75 mg of dulaglutide in 0.5 mL of solution
  • 1.5 mg of dulaglutide in 0.5 mL of solution

There is one dose in each of the pens. The pens are designed to deliver the entire amount of drug in one injection. So, you’ll need a new pen for each dose.

Dosage for lowering blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes

The usual starting dose of Trulicity to lower blood sugar levels is 0.75 mg once per week. This dosage can be increased to 1.5 mg once per week if your blood glucose level needs to be lowered more.

If your blood glucose level is still too high, your doctor may increase your dosage to 3 mg once weekly. But this will only be done after you’ve taken the 1.5 mg weekly dose for at least 4 weeks.

After using 3 mg once weekly, if your blood glucose level needs to be lowered further, your doctor may increase your Trulicity dose to 4.5 mg once weekly. But this will only be done after you’ve taken the 3 mg weekly dose for at least 4 weeks.

Dosage for reducing cardiovascular risks in type 2 diabetes

The dosage for reducing cardiovascular risks is the same as it is for lowering blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. See the section just above for details.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Trulicity and there are at least 3 days (72 hours) left before your next scheduled dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.

If there are fewer than 3 days (72 hours) left before your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next scheduled dose as usual.

Don’t take more than one dose in a 3-day (72 hour) window. If you do, it will increase your risk for serious side effects.

You can change the day of the week you take Trulicity. However, when you do, make sure there are at least 3 days (72 hours) between your doses. Talk with your doctor if you need help changing to a different day.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Trulicity is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Trulicity is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Trulicity is commonly taken with metformin (Glumetza, Riomet). Like Trulicity, metformin is a diabetes drug used to control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It comes as a tablet that’s taken either once or twice a day. Your doctor may prescribe both medications for you if you need additional help lowering your blood sugar.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Trulicity, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Alternatives for lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes

Examples of other drugs that may be used to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes include:

  • metformin (Glumetza, Riomet)
  • other GLP-1 agonists, such as:
    • lixisenatide (Adlyxin)
  • sulfonylureas, such as:
    • glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL)
    • glimepiride (Amaryl)
    • glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase)
  • sodium-glucose cotransport 2 inhibitors, such as:
    • ertugliflozin (Steglatro)
  • dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, such as:
    • linagliptin (Tradjenta)
    • alogliptin (Nesina)
    • saxagliptin (Onglyza)
  • thiazolidinediones, such as:
    • pioglitazone (Actos)
    • rosiglitazone (Avandia)
  • insulin, such as:
    • many other insulin medications

Many drugs used to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes also come in combination medications (medications with more than one active drug).

Alternatives for reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems in people with type 2 diabetes

Examples of other drugs that lower blood sugar levels and may also be used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems in people with type 2 diabetes include:

  • other GLP-1 agonists, such as:
  • sodium-glucose cotransport 2 inhibitors, such as:

You may wonder how Trulicity compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Trulicity and Ozempic are alike and different.

About

Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide. Ozempic contains the active drug semaglutide. Both medications belong to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. Drugs in the same class work in very similar ways in the body.

Uses

Trulicity and Ozempic are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Both drugs are used along with diet and exercise.

Trulicity and Ozempic are also approved for use in adults with type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems. These drugs are used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke that don’t lead to death, and to lower the risk of death caused by a cardiovascular condition. For this use, Trulicity is given to adults with either known cardiovascular disease or more than one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Ozempic, on the other hand, is given only to adults with known cardiovascular disease.

Drug forms and administration

Trulicity and Ozempic both come as liquid solution inside disposable pens. Trulicity comes as single-dose disposable pens, while Ozempic comes as multidose disposable pens.

Trulicity and Ozempic are both given as injections under the skin (a subcutaneous injection) once a week. You can give yourself the injections under the skin of your belly, thigh, or upper arm. You should rotate the injection site every week to help prevent hard lumps or fatty deposits from developing.

Side effects and risks

Trulicity and Ozempic are both drugs in the GLP-1 agonist class. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Trulicity or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Trulicity:
    • upset stomach
    • decreased appetite
  • Can occur with Ozempic:
    • no unique common side effects
  • Can occur with both Trulicity and Ozempic:
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • abdominal (belly) pain
    • constipation

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Trulicity, with Ozempic, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* Trulicity and Ozempic both have a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information, see “FDA warning: Thyroid cancer” at the beginning of this article.

Effectiveness for lowering blood sugar levels

Trulicity and Ozempic are both used to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. They’re both used in combination with diet and exercise.

The use of Trulicity and Ozempic in treating type 2 diabetes has been directly compared in a clinical study. The effectiveness of these drugs was compared by measuring people’s hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).

HbA1c is a measurement of someone’s average blood sugar levels over the last 3 months. (The American Diabetes Association recommends a HbA1c goal of less than 7% for most people.)

In this 40-week study, people took metformin daily along with weekly doses of either Trulicity or Ozempic. At the end of the study, the HbA1c of people who took Ozempic had decreased by about 0.4% more than people who took Trulicity.

Effectiveness for reducing cardiovascular risks

Trulicity and Ozempic are both approved for use in adults with type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems and death caused by a cardiovascular condition.

There aren’t any clinical studies that directly compare Trulicity and Ozempic for this use. However, separate studies of Trulicity and Ozempic, along with other drugs from the same class called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, were compared in a large review of studies. (A class of drugs describes a group of medications that work in the same way.)

Researchers found that all of the GLP-1 agonist drugs, including Trulicity and Ozempic, reduced the risk of both cardiovascular problems and death caused by a cardiovascular condition by 12%.

Costs

Trulicity and Ozempic are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Trulicity generally costs less than Ozempic. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Like Ozempic (above), the drug Victoza has uses similar to those of Trulicity. Here’s a comparison of how Trulicity and Victoza are alike and different.

About

Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide. Victoza contains the active drug liraglutide.

Both drugs belong to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist. Because they are in the same drug class, they have very similar effects on the body.

Uses

Trulicity and Victoza are both approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to:

  • Improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Trulicity is approved for this use in adults. Victoza is approved for this use in adults and in children ages 10 years and older. Both drugs are used along with diet and exercise.
  • Reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke that doesn’t lead to death, and death caused by heart problems. Victoza is approved for this use in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have heart disease. Trulicity is approved for this use in adults with type 2 diabetes with either known cardiovascular disease or more than one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Drug forms and administration

Trulicity and Victoza each come as liquid solution inside prefilled disposable pens. Trulicity comes in single-dose pens, while Victoza comes in multidose pens.

Trulicity and Victoza are both given as injections under the skin (a subcutaneous injection). You can give yourself injections under the skin of your belly, thigh, or upper arm. You should rotate the injection site every dose to help prevent hard lumps or fatty deposits from developing.

Trulicity is taken once a week. Victoza is taken once a day.

Side effects and risks

Trulicity and Victoza both contain drugs in the GLP-1 agonist drug class. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Trulicity or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Trulicity:
    • abdominal (belly) pain
  • Can occur with Victoza:
    • no unique common side effects
  • Can occur with both Trulicity and Victoza:
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • decreased appetite
    • upset stomach
    • constipation

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Trulicity, with Victoza, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* Trulicity and Victoza both have a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information, see “FDA warning: Thyroid cancer” at the beginning of this article.

Effectiveness for lowering blood sugar levels

Trulicity and Victoza are both used to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. For this use, both drugs are used along with diet and exercise.

The use of Trulicity and Victoza in treating type 2 diabetes has been directly compared in a clinical study. In the 26-week study, people took metformin with either a weekly dose of Trulicity or a daily dose of Victoza. The researchers of this study found that there was less than a 0.1% difference in how much each drug lowered people’s blood sugar levels. This means they are considered equally effective.

Effectiveness for reducing cardiovascular risks

Trulicity and Victoza are also approved for use in adults with type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems and death caused by a cardiovascular condition.

There aren’t any clinical studies that directly compare Trulicity and Victoza for this use. However, separate studies of Trulicity and Victoza, along with other drugs from the same class called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, were compared in a large review of studies. (A class of drugs describes a group of medications that work in the same way.)

Researchers found that all of the GLP-1 agonist drugs, including Trulicity and Victoza, reduced the risk of both cardiovascular problems and death caused by a cardiovascular condition by 12%.

Costs

Trulicity and Victoza are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Trulicity may cost significantly less than Victoza. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

You should take Trulicity according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions. They will explain how to use the Trulicity pen before your first dose.

You’ll take Trulicity as an injection under the skin (a subcutaneous injection). You can give yourself injections under the skin of your belly, thigh, or upper arm. You should rotate the injection site every dose to help prevent hard lumps or fatty deposits from developing.

You don’t need to assemble the Trulicity pen. It comes ready for use. Just be sure that the pen is not expired or damaged before using it.

Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Trulicity, provides a video that explains how to use the injection pen. They also provide written step-by-step instructions.

Read the instructions carefully before your first self-injection. If you’re still unsure of how to do it, ask your doctor or pharmacist for more guidance on how to inject Trulicity.

When to take

Trulicity is taken once a week. Choose the day that you’re most likely to remember to take it. You can switch days if you need to, but make sure there are at least 3 days (72 hours) between doses.

There is no best time of day to take Trulicity. Take it at the time that best fits your schedule and when you’re most likely to remember to take it. For example, this could be first thing in the morning, before you walk the dog, or when you brush your teeth.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Your doctor may recommend that you take Trulicity with insulin to meet your blood sugar level goals.

If you take both Trulicity and insulin, it’s important to never mix the two drugs together. And don’t inject them into the same site. You can inject both Trulicity and insulin into the same area of your body (belly, thigh, or upper arm), but the injections should be spaced at least several inches apart. This will help make sure that you receive the full dose of both drugs. It will also help prevent problems at the injections site, such as pain, redness, or the development of hard lumps or fatty deposits.

Taking both Trulicity and insulin may increase your risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level). When you begin taking the two drugs together, your doctor may prescribe a lower insulin dose until you know how the combination of drugs will affect your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may also recommend that you check your blood sugar levels more often in the beginning.

If you have any questions about how or where to inject the two drugs, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can also recommend how often you should be checking your blood sugar levels.

When used to lower blood sugar levels, Trulicity may also be used with other diabetes drugs besides insulin (discussed just above).

Medications that are commonly used with Trulicity include:

  • metformin (Glumetza, Riomet)
  • sulfonylureas, such as:
    • glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL)
    • glimepiride (Amaryl)
    • glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase)
  • sodium-glucose cotransport 2 inhibitors, such as:
    • ertugliflozin (Steglatro)
  • dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, such as:
    • linagliptin (Tradjenta)
    • alogliptin (Nesina)
    • saxagliptin (Onglyza)
  • thiazolidinediones, such as:
    • pioglitazone (Actos)
    • rosiglitazone (Avandia)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Trulicity to treat certain conditions.

Trulicity is FDA-approved for the following uses in adults with type 2 diabetes:

  • To lower blood sugar levels. For this use, Trulicity is given along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar levels.
  • To reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems. For this use, Trulicity is given to adults with either known cardiovascular disease or more than one risk factor* for cardiovascular disease. It’s used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke that don’t lead to death. And it’s used to lower the risk of death caused by a cardiovascular condition.

* Examples of risk factors for heart disease include having high cholesterol, being older, having high blood pressure, and smoking.

Trulicity for lowering blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes

With diabetes, you have an increased level of sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream. Normally, your body uses insulin to help move sugar into your cells from your bloodstream. (Once the sugar is inside your cells, it’s used by your body to make energy.)

With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin as well as it should. And if your diabetes progresses over time, your body might stop making enough insulin.

Trulicity helps to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Effectiveness in lowering blood sugar

In clinical studies, researchers tested the effectiveness of diabetes drugs by measuring a person’s hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). This is a measurement of the person’s average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. The American Diabetes Association recommends a HbA1c goal of less than 7% for most people.

Trulicity effectiveness has been tested on its own and in combination with several different diabetes drugs.

One clinical study tested Trulicity on its own. People with type 2 diabetes took either Trulicity or metformin. After 26 weeks of treatment, HbA1c was decreased by:

  • 0.7% to 0.8% in people who took Trulicity
  • 0.6% in people taking metformin

In another clinical study, Trulicity’s effectiveness was tested in combination with metformin. People with type 2 diabetes took either one of two different doses of Trulicity or sitagliptin (Januvia). And everyone also took metformin. After 1 year of treatment, HbA1c was decreased by:

  • 0.9% in people who took 0.75 mg of Trulicity
  • 1.1% in people who took 1.5 mg of Trulicity
  • 0.4% in people who took sitagliptin

Information on Trulicity’s effectiveness when used with other diabetes drugs is available in Trulicity’s prescribing information.

Trulicity for reducing cardiovascular risks in type 2 diabetes

Having type 2 diabetes that’s not managed can damage your blood vessels. This is because having a high blood sugar level can damage your blood vessels. And this can lead to certain cardiovascular problems.

Trulicity helps to lower the risk of certain cardiovascular problems in people with diabetes as it controls blood sugar levels. Specifically, it’s used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and that don’t lead to death. And it’s used to lower the risk of death caused by a cardiovascular condition.

Effectiveness in reducing the risk of certain cardiovascular problems

One clinical study looked at people with type 2 diabetes who had either known cardiovascular disease or more than one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. People took either Trulicity or a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) in addition to their usual medications.

Researchers looked to see if people would have a major cardiovascular problem. These included cardiovascular death (death caused by a heart or blood vessel problem), or heart attack or stroke that didn’t lead to death.

People in the study were followed for about 5.5 years. With treatment, the following results were seen:

In people taking TrulicityIn people taking a placebo
Cardiovascular death6.4%7.0%
Heart attack that didn’t lead to death4.1%4.3%
Stroke that didn’t lead to death2.7%3.5%

Limitations of use

It’s important to note that Trulicity isn’t approved for use in people with type 1 diabetes. Instead, it’s only approved for use in people with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, Trulicity wasn’t studied in people with the following conditions:

  • a history of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • severe gastrointestinal (stomach or intestinal) disease, including gastroparesis (paralysis of the stomach muscle)

For this reason, Trulicity isn’t recommended for people with these conditions.

Trulicity can interact with several other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Trulicity and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Trulicity. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Trulicity.

Before taking Trulicity, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Trulicity and certain other diabetes drugs

Trulicity is often taken in combination with other diabetes medications. However, this may increase your risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Examples of other diabetes drugs that can increase your risk for hypoglycemia include:

If you need to take Trulicity with one of these medications, your doctor may start you on a lower dose of the other drug. They may also have you check your blood sugar levels more often than usual until you know how the combination of drugs affects your blood sugar levels.

Trulicity and drugs taken by mouth

It’s possible that Trulicity will affect how quickly your body absorbs medications that are taken by mouth, such as tablets, capsules, or liquid solutions.

Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking with Trulicity. They can monitor whether you’re still receiving the full dose of these other medications. This will help make sure that each drug continues to be effective for you.

Trulicity and foods

Trulicity isn’t known to interact with any foods, so there aren’t any foods you need to avoid while taking this drug. If you have questions about consuming certain foods while taking Trulicity, talk with your doctor.

Trulicity and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Trulicity. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Trulicity.

When you get Trulicity from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on drug’s packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Trulicity pens should be stored in the refrigerator in their original packaging to protect them from light. They can be stored at room temperature (no higher than 86°F/30°C) for up to 14 days. Trulicity should never be frozen. Don’t use the drug if it’s been frozen.

Disposal

Right after you’ve used a Trulicity pen, dispose of it in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident or harming themselves with the needle. You can buy a sharps container online, or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where to get one.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Trulicity.

I’m thinking of stopping Trulicity. How should I do it?

Don’t stop taking Trulicity without discussing it with your doctor. They can determine whether stopping Trulicity is a safe option for you. They can also help address any issues, such as side effects that you may be having, that are making you want to stop the drug.

Can Trulicity be used for weight loss like Saxenda can?

Trulicity is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss.

Although some people in Trulicity’s clinical studies did lose weight, the drug is not intended for this purpose.

Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about maintaining a healthy weight.

Does Trulicity improve blood sugar levels in type 1 diabetes?

Trulicity is not FDA-approved to treat type 1 diabetes. However, there has been some research into the drug’s use for this condition.

In a review article of 12 clinical studies, several drugs from the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist class were tested in treating type 1 diabetes. (This is the drug class that Trulicity belongs to, but Trulicity wasn’t included in any of the studies.)

In this review, the researchers found that some GLP-1 agonists may be helpful for certain people with type 1 diabetes. It’s not known yet whether Trulicity will also be beneficial for people with this condition.

The American Diabetes Association states that more research is needed before GLP-1 agonists such as Trulicity can be recommended for people with type 1 diabetes.

Is Trulicity a type of insulin?

No, Trulicity isn’t a type of insulin. Trulicity works in different ways than insulin.

Insulin treatment is meant to replace or increase the amount of insulin that’s available in your body. Trulicity works by telling your pancreas to release more of your own insulin. (Trulicity works in other ways in your body, too.) Both insulin and Trulicity increase the amount of insulin your body can use, but they do it in different ways.

Because insulin and Trulicity work differently, some people use both drugs to improve their blood sugar levels.

Will Trulicity cure type 2 diabetes?

No. There is currently no cure for type 2 diabetes. Trulicity can help you improve your blood sugar levels when used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise routine. However, it will not cure the condition.

Can you breastfeed while you’re taking Trulicity?

It’s not known if Trulicity is safe to take while breastfeeding. There have been no studies that determined whether Trulicity passes into human breast milk.

If you are breastfeeding and considering Trulicity treatment, talk with your doctor. They will recommend the safest way to feed your child.

Can you drink alcohol when taking Trulicity?

There are no known interactions between Trulicity and alcohol.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that most people with diabetes consume no more than a moderate amount of alcohol. This means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. However, people whose blood sugar levels are not well managed should wait to drink alcohol until their diabetes is better managed.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for you.

It’s not known if Trulicity is safe to use during pregnancy. In animal studies, there was harm to the offspring seen when the pregnant female was given Trulicity. However, animal studies don’t always predict what will happen during human pregnancy.

If you have type 2 diabetes before becoming pregnant or develop diabetes during pregnancy, talk with your doctor about the best treatment choices for you. They will discuss with you the benefits and risks of Trulicity use during pregnancy.

It’s not known if Trulicity is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Trulicity.

As with all medications, the cost of Trulicity can vary. To find current prices for Trulicity in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Your insurance plan may require you to get prior authorization before approving coverage for Trulicity. This means that your doctor will need to send a request to your insurance company asking them to cover the drug. The insurance company will review the request and let you and your doctor know if your plan will cover Trulicity.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Trulicity, contact your insurance company.

Financial assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Trulicity, help is available. Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Trulicity, offers the Trulicity Savings Card and the Lilly Cares Foundation Patient Assistance Program. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, visit the program websites or call 800-545-5979.

Trulicity helps improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also helps lower the risk of certain cardiovascular problems in people with type 2 diabetes.

For more information about these conditions and how Trulicity is used to treat them, see the “Trulicity uses” section above.

What happens with type 2 diabetes

When you eat, your body breaks food down into smaller pieces it can use, including sugar. When sugar enters your bloodstream, your body tells your pancreas to release insulin.

Normally, insulin works to move sugar from your bloodstream into your cells. Once sugar is inside your cells, it’s used for energy.

People with type 2 diabetes usually produce enough insulin to transport sugar into their cells. However, the cells don’t respond to insulin the way they once did. This is called insulin resistance. Over time, people with type 2 diabetes may even stop producing insulin altogether.

Insulin resistance leads to high levels of sugar in your blood. Also, your cells don’t get the energy they need to function properly. These two results can lead to serious complications, such as damage to your nerves, eyes, and other organs.

How diabetes affects your cardiovascular system

Having type 2 diabetes that’s not managed can cause problems with your blood vessels. This is because having high levels of sugar in your blood can damage your blood vessels. And this can lead to certain cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke.

What Trulicity does

Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide.

Dulaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist. It works by attaching to GLP-1 receptors (docking stations) on certain cells in your pancreas. This tells those pancreas cells to release insulin when sugar is present in your bloodstream. The released insulin helps decrease your blood sugar levels by transporting the sugar into your cells.

Trulicity also lowers blood sugar levels by causing your stomach to process and move food more slowly than it usually does. This reduces how much sugar is released from the food into your bloodstream at one time.

Additionally, Trulicity blocks a hormone called glucagon. Glucagon normally tells your liver to break down stored sugar (called glycogen) and release it into your bloodstream. By blocking the action of glucagon, Trulicity helps to further reduce your blood sugar levels. And by lowering your blood sugar levels, the drug also helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems.

How long does it take to work?

Trulicity starts working shortly after you start taking it. However, it may take several weeks to a month to see the full effects of Trulicity.

How long does it stay in your system?

Trulicity has a half-life of about 5 days. This means it takes about 5 days for your body to clear half of a dose after you’ve taken it. Then it takes another 5 days to remove half of whatever is left, and so on, until all of the drug has been cleared.

Typically, it takes four to five half-lives for a full dose of the drug to be completely cleared from your body.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Thyroid cancer

This drug has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In animal studies, Trulicity increased the risk of thyroid tumors. It’s not known if this risk is also increased in humans. You shouldn’t take Trulicity if you have a history (personal or family) of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of thyroid tumors, including:

  • lump in your neck
  • trouble swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • hoarse voice that doesn’t get better

Other precautions

Before taking Trulicity, talk with your doctor about your health history. Trulicity may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Pancreatitis. Trulicity may raise your risk for pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas). If you’ve gotten pancreatitis while taking Trulicity in the past, you shouldn’t restart Trulicity. Also, it’s not known if Trulicity is safe for people who’ve had pancreatitis but who haven’t taken Trulicity before. If you have a history of pancreas problems, talk with your doctor about whether Trulicity is safe for you.
  • Kidney problems. Trulicity can cause kidney problems and could worsen any kidney problems you already have. Your doctor will want to monitor your kidney function while you take Trulicity. If your kidney problems get worse, you may need to stop taking this drug.
  • Liver problems. It’s not known how safe Trulicity is for people with liver problems. If you have liver problems, your doctor will want to monitor your liver function while you take this medication. If your liver problems get worse, you may need to stop treatment with Trulicity.
  • Severe allergic reaction. You shouldn’t take Trulicity if you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to it in the past. If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to another drug from the same drug class (GLP-1 agonists), it’s possible that you’ll have a reaction to Trulicity also. Talk with your doctor if you’ve had an allergic reaction to Trulicity or a diabetes drug like Trulicity. They can help determine whether Trulicity is safe for you.
  • Severe digestive problems, including gastroparesis. Trulicity is not recommended for people with severe gastrointestinal problems. This includes gastroparesis, a condition in which your stomach muscles don’t move food through your intestines properly. Trulicity can make these issues worse, which can lead to serious side effects. Talk with your doctor about your gastrointestinal health and whether Trulicity is safe for you.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes and cardiovascular disease, you can develop a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to your retina (a thin layer of tissue in the back of the eye). If you already have this condition, Trulicity may worsen it. Tell your doctor about any history of eye problems before taking Trulicity. If you’ve had diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may monitor your eye health more closely than usual during treatment.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if it’s safe to take Trulicity during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Trulicity and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Trulicity is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Trulicity and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Trulicity, see the “Trulicity side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Trulicity can lead to serious side effects.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Trulicity is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is approved for use as adjunct therapy to diet and exercise. In addition, the drug is indicated to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes who have known cardiovascular disease or more than one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Mechanism of action

Trulicity (dulaglutide) is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It has been shown to cause hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) reduction by binding to the GLP-1 receptor in pancreatic beta cells. The GLP-1 receptor is coupled to adenylyl cyclase, which increases intracellular cyclic AMP. This allows for glucose-dependent insulin release from pancreatic beta cells, which lowers plasma glucose levels.

Additionally, Trulicity causes HbA1c reduction by decreasing glucagon secretion, thereby preventing the conversion of stored glycogen into glucose. Trulicity also delays gastric emptying, which decreases the rate of glucose absorption from ingested food.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

After subcutaneous administration, the time to maximum plasma concentration is 24 to 72 hours. Steady-state concentration is achieved within 2 to 4 weeks. Metabolism occurs via protein catabolism pathways. Elimination half-life is approximately 5 days for either dose (0.75 mg or 1.75 mg).

While systemic exposure is increased at all levels of kidney function impairment, there are no specific renal dosing recommendations.

Exposure is also increased in hepatic function impairment; exercise caution when using Trulicity in this population.

Contraindications

Trulicity is contraindicated for people with:

  • a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
  • a history of serious hypersensitivity to dulaglutide or any of the inactive ingredients in Trulicity

Storage

Trulicity should be stored by refrigeration, in the original packaging to protect from light. It can be stored for up to 14 days at room temperature, no greater than 86°F (30°C).

Trulicity should never be frozen. It shouldn’t be used if it’s ever been frozen.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.