Ozempic and Trulicity are both medications prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes. These drugs help improve your blood sugar levels. They also help lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. Type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with heart disease.
Both Ozempic and Trulicity are brand-name prescription drugs. There’s not currently a generic version of either drug.
This article explains some of the key differences between Ozempic and Trulicity. If you have type 2 diabetes, this information can help you consider if one of these drugs may be right for you.
The active drug in Ozempic is semaglutide, and the active drug in Trulicity is dulaglutide.
Both of these drugs belong to a class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. They work in the same way to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic and Trulicity both have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. They’re approved for use in combination with diet and exercise.
Ozempic and Trulicity are also FDA-approved to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. For these uses, both drugs are approved for adults with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Trulicity is also approved for adults with type 2 diabetes and multiple risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Neither drug is approved for treating type 1 diabetes.
Use for weight loss
Neither Ozempic nor Trulicity are FDA-approved for weight loss. But both drugs can reduce appetite, so many people who take them can lose weight. This can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes who are overweight.
Some doctors may prescribe Ozempic and Trulicity off-label for weight loss. But you shouldn’t take Ozempic or Trulicity for weight loss without your doctor’s guidance.
A drug that’s similar to Ozempic and Trulicity is approved specifically for weight loss. This drug is called Saxenda. If you’re interested in losing weight, talk with your doctor about Saxenda or other treatments that might be helpful for you.
How much Ozempic or Trulicity costs depends on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, your insurance plan, and your pharmacy. You can find price estimates for the medications on GoodRx.com.
Both Ozempic and Trulicity are brand-name drugs. Neither medication comes in a generic form. Brand-name medications are often more expensive than generics.
There aren’t any foods in particular that you need to avoid while taking Ozempic or Trulicity. But you may need to limit your alcohol intake. See below for details.
Alcohol use with Ozempic or Trulicity
Drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause low blood sugar, sometimes several hours after you stop drinking. Ozempic and Trulicity can also lower your blood sugar. For this reason, you should avoid drinking too much alcohol while you’re taking one of these drugs, as this could raise your risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink while taking one of these drugs.
Ozempic and Trulicity both come as a liquid solution that’s available in a prefilled pen.
Each Trulicity pen is for single use only, while Ozempic pens can be used multiple times. The number of doses you can get from each pen depends on your dose and the strength of pen you use. With Ozempic, you’ll need to attach a new needle to the pen to take each dose.
With both Ozempic and Trulicity, you’ll self-inject your dose under your skin (subcutaneously) once weekly.
Your dosage for either drug will depend on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes for you.
Ozempic and Trulicity are from the same drug class: glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. For this reason, they cause very similar side effects. Below are some examples of these side effects.
Mild side effects
The following lists address some of the more commonly reported mild side effects of Ozempic or Trulicity, as well as some that both drugs share. For more information about the mild side effects of these two drugs, see Ozempic’s medication guide and Trulicity’s medication guide.
- Can occur with Ozempic:
- few unique common mild side effects
- Can occur with Trulicity:
- decreased appetite
- Can occur with both Ozempic and Trulicity:
- fatigue (low energy level)
- abdominal pain
- upset stomach
Serious side effects
The following lists address the serious side effects of Ozempic or Trulicity, as well as some that both drugs share.
- Can occur with Ozempic:
- few unique serious side effects
- Can occur with Trulicity:
- severe gastrointestinal disease, including gastroparesis (a condition in which your stomach can’t empty normally)
- Can occur with both Ozempic and Trulicity:
- thyroid cancer*
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when used with insulin or other diabetes drugs called sulphonylureas
- kidney damage
- severe allergic reactions
*Ozempic and Trulicity both have a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information, see the “Warnings of Ozempic and Trulicity” section below.
Ozempic and Trulicity are both used to help improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. They’re also both used to reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease in people with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Both drugs have been found to be effective for these uses.
The effectiveness of these drugs for improving blood sugar levels has been directly compared in a clinical study. The study found semaglutide, which is the active drug in Ozempic, to be more effective than dulaglutide, which is the active drug in Trulicity.
Guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend using a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist, such as Ozempic or Trulicity, in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have one of the following conditions:
- cardiovascular disease (CVD) or a high risk for developing CVD
- kidney disease
The ADA doesn’t recommend any GLP-1 agonist over another. If your doctor decides to prescribe a GLP-1 agonist for you, you’ll work together to determine the one that’s best for you.
Ozempic and Trulicity share some of the same warnings, but they also have different ones. Some of these warnings are mentioned below. Before you start using Ozempic or Trulicity, be sure to talk with your doctor to see if these warnings apply to you.
Boxed warning for both Ozempic and Trulicity: Risk of thyroid tumors
These drugs have 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, Ozempic and Trulicity increased the risk of thyroid tumors. It’s not known if these drugs also increase the risk for thyroid tumors in humans.
Don’t take Ozempic or Trulicity if you or a family member have ever had medullary thyroid carcinoma. You also shouldn’t take these drugs if you have a rare form of cancer called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.
See your doctor right away if you have symptoms of thyroid cancer while taking Ozempic or Trulicity. These symptoms may include a lump in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath.
In addition to the boxed warning above, Ozempic and Trulicity have other warnings. These drugs may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health.
Warnings for Ozempic and Trulicity include:
- Pancreatitis. Both of these drugs can cause pancreatitis. If you’ve had pancreatitis in the past, you shouldn’t take Ozempic or Trulicity.
- Kidney problems. Both these drugs can cause kidney damage. If you already have kidney problems, these drugs could make these problems worse. Your doctor will want to monitor your kidney function if you take one of these drugs.
- Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that’s related to diabetes. If you’ve received a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy in the past, taking Ozempic or Trulicity could make your condition worse. Your doctor will want to monitor your eye health more often if you take one of these drugs.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s not known if these drugs are safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Talk with your doctor about the best way to treat your diabetes if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
Warnings for Trulicity include:
- Severe gastrointestinal disease. Trulicity can sometimes cause serious side effects in your stomach or intestines. These include gastroparesis (a condition in which your stomach can’t empty normally). Trulicity hasn’t been studied in people with severe gastrointestinal disease. It’s not recommended for these people.
You might be interested in switching from Ozempic to Trulicity or vice versa. For instance, if one drug doesn’t control your blood sugar well enough, you may wonder if switching to a different drug would help. You might also wonder about switching if you have troublesome side effects from one of these drugs.
Switching between these drugs is possible, but your doctor might not recommend it. That’s because these drugs work in the same way, so if your blood sugar is still too high while taking one of them, it’s unlikely to improve with a switch to the other drug.
If your blood sugar isn’t well controlled with one of these drugs, your doctor is more likely to recommend adding a different type of medication to your treatment schedule. But switching between these drugs might be an option if one of these drugs is working for you but is causing certain side effects.
If you’re worried about side effects or whether your treatment is working, talk with your doctor. They can let you know if switching to Ozempic or Trulicity is a good option for you.
Never switch your medications without your doctor’s approval and guidance.
If you’re interested in taking Ozempic or Trulicity for type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor. They can help you decide if one of these medications, or a different one, is right for you. You can discuss the information in this article as well as your full health history.
In general, Ozempic and Trulicity are very similar. But some people may find Trulicity pens easier to use than Ozempic pens.
Also, one key difference between the drugs is that Trulicity can sometimes cause serious side effects in your stomach or intestines. So, if you have a severe gastrointestinal condition, Ozempic might be more suitable for you. Your doctor can advise you on your treatment options.
If you’d like to learn more about Ozempic or Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about these drugs.
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.