Trulicity (dulaglutide) is a prescription brand-name medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the following uses in adults with type 2 diabetes:
- to help manage blood sugar levels, in combination with a healthy diet and exercise
- to reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems in adults who have:
- established cardiovascular disease (CVD), or
- more than one risk factor for CVD
For either use, Trulicity is typically prescribed as a long-term treatment, if you and your doctor agree that it’s working well for your condition.
Here are some fast facts about Trulicity:
- Active ingredient: dulaglutide
- Drug class: glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist
- Drug form: liquid solution in prefilled, single-dose pens for subcutaneous injection
Like other drugs, Trulicity can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For a general overview of Trulicity, including details about its uses, see this article.
Trulicity can cause certain side effects (also called adverse effects), some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
These are just a few of the most common side effects reported by people who took Trulicity in clinical trials:
* To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.
Side effects by strength
Trulicity side effects are dose-dependent, which means you’re more likely to have side effects with higher doses.
Side effects didn’t differ between strengths of Trulicity (0.75 milligrams [mg], 1.5 mg, 3 mg, and 4.5 mg) in clinical trials. But side effects were slightly more likely to occur as people’s dose increased.
To see a full list of side effects and how they varied by strength, you can view Trulicity’s prescribing information. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Mild side effects can occur with Trulicity use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Trulicity’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects that have been reported with Trulicity include:
- constipation or diarrhea*
- nausea and vomiting*
- reactions at the injection site, including rash*
- abdominal (belly) pain
- fatigue and weakness
- flatulence (gas)
- acid reflux (heartburn)
- decreased appetite
- abdominal bloating
These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Trulicity and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.
* To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.
Trulicity may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Trulicity’s prescribing information.
If you develop serious side effects while taking Trulicity, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms can include:
- feeling anxious, confused, or irritable
- feeling jittery or shaky
- slurred speech
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas). Symptoms can include:
- severe abdominal (belly) pain that won’t go away and may spread around to your back
- fast heart rate
- appetite loss
- New or worsening kidney damage. Symptoms can include:
- dark urine
- shortness of breath
- swelling in your legs
- urinating less frequently than usual
- Severe digestive problems. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that doesn’t go away.
- Risk of thyroid cancer.*†
- Allergic reaction.†
Trulicity may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.
Is weight gain one of Trulicity’s side effects?
Trulicity is approved to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Other medications used to help manage blood sugar in people with diabetes are known to cause weight gain. These medications include insulin and sulfonylureas such as Glucotrol (glipizide). But weight gain isn’t known to be a side effect of Trulicity.
Trulicity is taken in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. This may help you reach or maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.
If you’re concerned about your weight while taking Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Should I expect muscle or joint pain while I use Trulicity?
Other medications prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes can cause severe joint pain. These medications include Januvia (sitagliptin) and Tradjenta (linagliptin). But this isn’t known to be a side effect of Trulicity.
Keep in mind that muscle pain or joint pain can also be symptoms of type 2 diabetes that is not well managed. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have these symptoms while using Trulicity. They may need to adjust your diabetes treatment plan.
If you have additional questions or concerns about joint or muscle pain, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Does Trulicity cause hair loss?
Will Trulicity make me feel dizzy or cause a headache?
If you have dizziness or headaches while taking Trulicity, talk with your doctor. They can tell you how to recognize hypoglycemia symptoms. They can also suggest ways to help prevent hypoglycemia and ways to treat it if it happens.
Does Trulicity cause weight loss?
It’s possible to have weight loss from taking Trulicity.
One clinical study compared changes in body weight while taking Trulicity to changes while taking a diabetes drug called Januvia (sitagliptin). People who took Trulicity lost an average of several pounds, which was more weight loss than people who took Januvia.
Because Trulicity treatment can lead to weight loss, some doctors may prescribe the drug off-label for weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. “Off-label” means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the Food Drug Administration (FDA). But you should not use Trulicity for weight loss unless your doctor tells you it’s safe to do so.
Keep in mind that Trulicity, when used to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, is taken in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. So losing weight while taking the drug isn’t unexpected.
But if you have weight loss that bothers you while taking Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can suggest ways to reach or maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.
How do Trulicity’s side effects compare with those of metformin?
Metformin and Trulicity are both prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. They can cause some similar side effects, such as nausea and diarrhea. But they can cause some different side effects as well.
To learn more about metformin’s side effects, you can check out this article. You can also speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Does stopping Trulicity treatment cause withdrawal symptoms?
No, withdrawal symptoms weren’t reported by people using Trulicity in clinical studies. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur after suddenly stopping certain drugs.
If you have questions about stopping Trulicity, talk with your doctor. You should not change your dosage without your doctor’s recommendation.
Learn more about some of the side effects that Trulicity may cause.
Constipation or diarrhea
You may have other symptoms with constipation and diarrhea, such as abdominal (belly) pain (also called stomach pain).
What you can do
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have constipation or diarrhea that doesn’t go away or bothers you. They may recommend a treatment for this side effect. But if these side effects still won’t go away, they may recommend stopping Trulicity and trying a different medication.
Nausea and vomiting
What you can do
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have persistent or severe nausea or vomiting. They may recommend a treatment for this. Or they may recommend that you stop taking Trulicity and try a different drug for your condition.
Reactions at the injection site, including rash
- skin reddening or discoloration
What you can do
To help lower your risk of injection site reactions, rotate the site where you give your injection each week. Do not use the same site for every injection. You can inject Trulicity under the skin of your thigh, upper arm, or abdomen.
If you have questions about injection site reactions and Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Thyroid cancer risk
Trulicity increased the risk of thyroid tumors in animal studies. It’s not known whether the drug may also increase this risk in humans. Animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.
You should not use Trulicity if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). MEN 2 is a rare genetic condition that increases the risk of thyroid cancer.
What you can do
Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of a thyroid tumor. These can include:
- trouble swallowing
- hoarse voice
- lump or swelling in your neck
- shortness of breath
They’ll likely want to examine you further and may order lab tests to evaluate your symptoms. They may have you stop taking Trulicity.
As with most drugs, Trulicity can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
- swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
- swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
What you can do
For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Trulicity. But if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
There are important precautions to consider before beginning treatment with Trulicity, including a
Boxed warning: Thyroid cancer risk
Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Trulicity. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include:
Digestive problems, including diabetic gastroparesis. It’s not known whether Trulicity is safe to take if you have severe digestive problems. This includes severe diabetic gastroparesis. Trulicity can cause digestive problems and can worsen these problems if you already have them. Your doctor can determine whether Trulicity is safe for you to take given your digestive problems.
Diabetic retinopathy. Trulicity can worsen diabetic retinopathy if you already have this condition. Your doctor may monitor your eye health more closely than usual while you’re taking Trulicity if you have diabetic retinopathy.
Pancreatitis. Although rare, Trulicity may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas) as a side effect. It’s not known if Trulicity is safe to take if you currently have pancreatitis or if you’ve had it in the past. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your medical history before starting Trulicity.
Kidney problems. Treatment with Trulicity can cause new or worsening kidney damage. If you have kidney problems, your doctor may recommend a treatment other than Trulicity for your condition. Or they may monitor you more closely than usual during your Trulicity treatment.
Liver problems. It isn’t known if it’s safe to take Trulicity if you have liver problems. If your doctor prescribes Trulicity for your condition, they may monitor your liver function more closely than usual during treatment. And they may have you stop taking Trulicity if your liver problems worsen while you’re taking the medication.
Allergic reaction. You should not take Trulicity if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Trulicity or any of its ingredients. Talk with your doctor about which other treatments are better choices for you.
Alcohol use with Trulicity
There’s no known direct interaction between Trulicity and alcohol.
However, alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much, if any, alcohol is safe for you to have.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Trulicity
It isn’t known if Trulicity is safe to take during pregnancy. Animal studies showed potential for harm to offspring when Trulicity was used during pregnancy. However, these studies don’t always predict what will happen in people.
It’s important to note that high blood sugar levels can also increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. If you have diabetes, your doctor can review with you the risks and benefits of treatments for your condition during pregnancy, including Trulicity.
It’s not known if it’s safe to breastfeed while taking Trulicity. It’s not known if the drug passes into breast milk or whether it could cause side effects in a breastfed child. Talk with your doctor about safe feeding options for your child while you’re using Trulicity.
Treatment with Trulicity can cause some side effects, which are typically mild. However, serious side effects are possible, as with most medications.
If you’d like to learn more about Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.
Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. These articles might help:
- More information about Trulicity. For details about other aspects of Trulicity, refer to this article.
- Dosage details. For information on Trulicity’s dosage, see this article.
- Drug comparison. To learn how Trulicity compares with Ozempic, read this article.
- Medicare coverage. For information on Medicare coverage for Trulicity, see this article.
- A look at diabetes. For details about your condition, see the Medical News Today diabetes hub and this list of diabetes articles.
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.