Trulicity (dulaglutide) is a brand-name injection prescribed to lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems. It works to treat these conditions by attaching to GLP-1 receptors on certain cells in your pancreas.
For more information about these conditions and how Trulicity is used to treat them, see this article.
What happens with type 2 diabetes
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 no longer respond to insulin the way they 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
Type 2 diabetes that’s not managed can cause problems with your blood vessels. This is because 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 the specific 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 usual. 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.
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.
If you’d like to learn more about Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about how the drug works in your body.
If you’d like to learn about other aspects of Trulicity, you can explore these articles:
- More information about Trulicity. For details about other aspects of Trulicity, refer to this article.
- Side effects. To learn about side effects of Trulicity, see this article. You can also look at the Trulicity prescribing information.
- Cost. If you’d like to learn about Trulicity and cost, see this article.
- Drug comparison. To learn how Trulicity compares with Ozempic, read this article.
- Dosage. For information about the dosage of Trulicity, view this article.
- A look at the conditions. For more information about diabetes, see our diabetes hub. You can also view our cardiovascular hub.
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 another 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.