Is Trulicity insulin?

Insulin is a hormone normally produced by your pancreas to help with glycemic control. If your pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin (Type 1 diabetes), or if your body is unable to use the insulin produced properly, (Type 2 diabetes) this can result in high blood glucose levels and serious problems for your health. Treatments for Type 2 diabetes either improve insulin secretion or improve the body’s use of the insulin produced.

Trulicity is a non-insulin medication used to treat people with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In this article, we will take a closer look at what Trulicity is, how Trulicity works, how you take Trulicity, its side effects, and other useful information you should know when using it.

What is Trulicity?

Trulicity is the brand name for an FDA-approved diabetes medication manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. It is used with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Trulicity contains dulaglutide as the active ingredient and belongs to a class of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists (glucagon-like peptide 1).

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Is Trulicity the same as insulin?

Trulicity is not the same as insulin. Trulicity is the brand name for dulaglutide once-weekly injections.

What is Trulicity used for?

Trulicity is used in adults who have type 2 diabetes to:

  • Reduce high blood sugar levels, when used alongside exercise and diet changes
  • Reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular events, like strokes or heart attacks, in people with heart disease, or reduce the risk factors for heart problems. Examples of risk factors for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease include high cholesterol, being elderly, having high blood pressure, and smoking

Trulicity is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, or weight loss. Currently, the only GLP-1 agonists approved for weight loss are Wegovy (semaglutide) and Saxenda (liraglutide).

How does Trulicity work?

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may not produce enough insulin, or you may even become resistant to insulin. If this happens, you will absorb less sugar from your blood, resulting in your blood glucose levels remaining too high.

The active ingredient dulaglutide in Trulicity is classed as a GLP-1 receptor agonist (glucagon-like peptide 1), which can lower your A1C levels. It is absorbed into your digestive system where it has two effects. It binds with areas on some of your cells called GLP1R receptors, This encourages your pancreas to make more insulin and allows other cells in your body to more effectively remove sugar from your blood. At the same time, dulaglutide also reduces how much sugar your pancreas secretes into your blood. The combination of these two processes can reduce your blood sugar levels.

What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Trulicity?

Trulicity is available in injection form, in the following doses: 0.75 mg/0.5 mL solution in a single-dose prefilled Trulicity pen, and 1.5 mg/0.5 mL solution in a single-dose prefilled Trulicity pen.

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How do I take Trulicity?

Inject Trulicity as a subcutaneous injection in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm as a weekly dose at any time of the day. Initiate treatment with Trulicity at 0.75 mg once weekly. Your dose of Trulicity can be increased to 1.5 mg once weekly for additional glycemic control.

If you miss a dose it should be taken as soon as you remember. If less than 3 days (72 hours) remain before your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose on the regularly scheduled day.

Your healthcare provider may use Trulicity in combination with other diabetes medications such as metformin and empagliflozin. Please see the full drug information and always speak with a healthcare professional for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

What are the side effects of Trulicity?

The most common side effects of Trulicity in clinical trials compared to placebo include:

  • Injection-site reactions like swelling, pain, or itching
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal side effects include diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain
  • Reduced appetite

Do not take more Trulicity than recommended. Taking more than the recommended may lead to serious side effects. More serious side effects of Trulicity include:

  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication such as anaphylaxis or shortness of breath
  • Thyroid tumors and a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) particularly when used with other medications like insulin or sulfonylurea
  • Severe stomach problems
  • Changes in your vision

If you do experience any serious side effects, stop taking Trulicity and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report negative adverse events of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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What type of insulin is Trulicity?

Trulicity is not an insulin of any type. Trulicity belongs to a class of drugs called antidiabetics, glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists (GLP-1 agonists). Other GLP-1 agonist drugs include Ozempic (semaglutide), Byetta (exenatide), Bydureon Bcise (exenatide), and Victoza (liraglutide).

Does Trulicity replace insulin?

Trulicity does not replace insulin in people with diabetes whose pancreas does not produce insulin. Dulaglutide, the active ingredient in Trulicity works by stimulating insulin secretion from your pancreas. Trulicity is only used in people with Type 2 diabetes. Insulin is used to treat people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

How is Trulicity different from insulin?

Dulaglutide, the active ingredient in Trulicity works by stimulating insulin secretion from your pancreas and is only used in people with Type 2 diabetes. Insulin is used to treat people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Is it possible to take too much Trulicity?

Yes, if you take too much Trulicity, your blood sugar level could drop to a low level causing hypoglycemia. Contact your healthcare provider immediately for medical advice if this should happen.

How does Trulicity work for weight loss?

Trulicity is designed to act in a similar manner to glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in the body. Trulicity can be taken at any time of day, with or without food. Trulicity slows gastric emptying, which helps to reduce your appetite by making you feel fuller for longer.

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How long do you stay on Trulicity for?

You may need to take Trulicity for up to 5 weeks before you start to see it lower blood glucose levels. Full effects of Trulicity may not be seen for at least 3 to 6 months.

What are the dangers of taking Trulicity?

Trulicity can cause common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, indigestion, and fatigue. It can also cause more serious side effects such as hypoglycemia and serious allergic reactions. It is also important to bear in mind that Trulicity may affect other medical conditions you have, such as kidney disease, thyroid tumors, and inflammation of your pancreas. Speak to your doctor for medical advice before initiating treatment with Trulicity.

What is the difference between Trulicity and other diabetes medications?

There are a vast array of medications for diabetes belonging to different classes of drug. Short and rapid-acting insulins (Humalog), biguanides (metformin), DPP-4 inhibitors (sitagliptin), and sulfonylureas (Glynase) are to name but a few. These are available as injections, liquids, and tablets for oral use. Trulicity is available in injection form for subcutaneous use. Speak to your doctor for medical advice as to which treatment is the best option for you.

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Can you take Trulicity and insulin together?

You may be at a higher risk of hypoglycemia or severe hypoglycemia if you take Trulicity with an insulin secretagogue (eg, sulfonylurea). Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for this side effect.

Which medications can be taken with Trulicity?

Drug interactions may occur with Trulicity, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medications including any supplements you are taking.

What warnings are there with Trulicity?

Discuss your medical history with your doctor before starting treatment with Trulicity, as treatment with Trulicity may have contraindications.

  • Trulicity may cause new or worsening kidney disease, including kidney failure. Be careful to not become dehydrated while using Trulicity as this could also cause kidney problems
  • You may have an allergic reaction to Trulicity. You will have to stop treatment if you have allergic reactions to Trulicity or any of its other ingredients. Tell your doctor if you have previously had an allergic reaction to medications such as Ozempic which belongs to the same class of drugs as Trulicity
  • Trulicity may make a condition known as diabetic retinopathy worse. Make sure you monitor yourself for any changes in your vision
  • Acute and chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) have been reported in clinical studies. Report any symptoms of pancreatitis, including persistent severe stomach pain which sometimes radiates to the back
  • Your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is increased if Trulicity is used in combination with an insulin secretagogue (sulfonylurea) or insulin. Your dosage of other treatments may need to be adjusted
  • Trulicity may cause thyroid C-cell tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). See the boxed warning for Trulicity and speak to your healthcare provider if you get swelling in your neck, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath. Tell your doctor if you have a family history of MTC, or if you have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Trulicity shouldn’t be used during pregnancy and for at least two months before a planned pregnancy because it is not known if it may affect your unborn child

What is the difference between Trulicity and Victoza?

Trulicity (dulaglutide) or Victoza (liraglutide) are both possible treatment options if you have type 2 diabetes. They both belong to the same drug class, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. They also are both given via an injection under the skin. Trulicity is given as a weekly injection while Victoza is injected once a day.

They are both used to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes and lower the risk of cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Victoza can also be used to manage blood sugar levels in children 10 years and older with type 2 diabetes.

RELATED: Victoza vs Trulicity

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Sources (3)

  1. Rxlist - Trulicity

  2. Drugs.com - Trulicity

  3. FDA - Highlights of prescribing information for Trulicity

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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