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Feb 17, 2022
5 min read

Trulicity vs. Ozempic: uses, dosage, side effects, comparison

Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) belong to the same class of prescription drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. They help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels and reduce their risk for certain diabetes complications. These weekly-dose drugs have similar side effects, interactions, and costs.

Disclaimer

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Living with type 2 diabetes can be stressful. The good news is you can manage diabetes—and potentially prevent complications—with the right tools in place. 

Your healthcare provider will help you develop a plan for managing your diabetes, which may include exercising, eating a balanced diet, and taking medications to lower your blood sugar and support you in your weight loss goals. 

If one diabetes medication isn’t helping enough, your healthcare provider may suggest adding Trulicity or Ozempic. Read on to learn about the similarities and differences between these two injectable diabetes medications.

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What are Trulicity and Ozempic?

Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) belong to a drug class called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists

Healthcare providers typically prescribe this type of medication to people with type 2 diabetes mellitus when other medications, such as metformin, aren’t effective enough at controlling a person’s blood sugar (Collins, 2021).

Most GLP-1 receptor agonists come as injectable medications. One exception is Rybelsus, an oral tablet version of semaglutide (the same active ingredient in Ozempic) (FDA, n.d.).

What is Trulicity?

Trulicity is a brand-name prescription drug that contains the active ingredient dulaglutide. It comes as a clear liquid solution in an injection pen with a built-in needle. Each Trulicity pen contains a single dose.

After a healthcare professional shows you how to use Trulicity, you’ll give yourself a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection in your thigh or abdomen once weekly. Or, if someone else is giving your injection, the upper arm is also an option.

The typical starting dosage of Trulicity is 0.75 mg once per week. After four weeks of treatment, your healthcare provider may increase your dose to 1.5 mg once per week. After another month, they may increase your dose to 3 mg once per week. 

If your blood sugar levels remain too high after another month, they may increase your dose to the maximum of 4.5 mg once per week (FDA-b, 2021).

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a brand name prescription drug that contains the active ingredient semaglutide. It comes as a clear liquid solution in an injection pen. Ozempic comes with needles that you’ll attach to the pen before each dose. Each Ozempic pen contains multiple doses. The exact number of doses per pen depends on your healthcare provider’s recommended dosage.

After your provider shows you how to use Ozempic, you’ll give yourself a subcutaneous injection in your thigh or abdomen once weekly. Or, if someone else is giving your injection, it can also be injected into the upper arm.

The typical starting dosage of Ozempic is 0.25 mg once per week. After four weeks of treatment, your healthcare provider may increase your dose to 0.5 mg once per week. After another month, they may increase your dose to the maximum—1 mg once per week (FDA-a, 2021).

Conditions treated with Trulicity and Ozempic

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves medications, such as Trulicity and Ozempic, for specific uses or indications described in detail on each drug’s official labeling (summarized in the sections below). 

Healthcare providers may also decide to prescribe Trulicity or Ozempic for off-label (“non-official”) uses, such as weight loss.

Trulicity uses

Trulicity is used to (FDA-b, 2021):

  • Improve control of blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, along with a healthy diet and exercise
  • Reduce the risk of major cardiovascular problems (such as heart attack and stroke) in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have heart disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors

Some examples of cardiovascular risk factors are obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sedentary lifestyle (Olvera-Lopez, 2021).

Ozempic uses

Ozempic is used to (FDA-a, 2021):

  • Improve control of blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, along with a healthy diet and exercise
  • Reduce the risk of major cardiovascular problems (such as heart attack and stroke) in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have heart disease

Side effects of Trulicity and Ozempic

Trulicity and Ozempic cause similar common side effects, including (FDA-a, 2021; FDA-b, 2021):

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation

Trulicity also commonly causes decreased appetite. These side effects may contribute to weight loss. Rarely, Trulicity and Ozempic may cause severe side effects like: 

  • Increased risk of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a type of thyroid tumor
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Kidney problems
  • Vision changes
  • Severe allergic reactions

Some people may be at higher risk for these serious side effects than others. These drugs may not be safe if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome or a family history of thyroid cancer. Trulicity and Ozempic are not meant for use while pregnant or breastfeeding or in people with type 1 diabetes, a history of pancreatitis, or severe stomach problems such as gastroparesis.

Potential drug interactions of Trulicity and Ozempic

Both Trulicity and Ozempic can raise the chance of having hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you take other diabetes medications, such as (FDA-a, 2021; FDA-b, 2021):

  • Glimepiride (Amaryl)
  • Glipizide (Glucotrol)
  • Glyburide (Diabeta)
  • Insulin, such as Lantus, Humulin, Novolog, and many others
  • Nateglinide
  • Repaglinide

Your healthcare provider will go over how to monitor your blood sugar and what to do if it gets too low.

Trulicity and Ozempic may cause you to absorb certain oral medications more slowly. For example, if you take warfarin, a blood thinner medicine, your healthcare provider may monitor you more closely to see if they need to adjust your warfarin dosage.

It’s a good idea to tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the drugs you take so that they can help prevent harmful interactions.

Trulicity vs. Ozempic cost

Both Trulicity and Ozempic are brand-name prescription drugs that are not currently available in generic forms. That means they can be quite pricey. As of February 2022, both drugs are available for around $1,000 for a month’s supply (GoodRx-a, n.d.; GoodRx-b, n.d.).

The price you’ll pay may be lower if you have health insurance with prescription drug coverage. Patient assistance programs and manufacturer coupons can also help you save money. Talk to your pharmacist if you are looking for ways to help lower your cost of Trulicity or Ozempic.

Differences and similarities between Trulicity vs. Ozempic

Some key information about Trulicity and Ozempic is summarized in the table below.

References

  1. Collins, L. & Costello, R. A. (2021). Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists. StatPearls. Retrieved on Feb. 9, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/ 
  2. GoodRx-a. (n.d.). Ozempic. Retrieved on Feb. 9, 2022 from https://www.goodrx.com/ozempic 
  3. GoodRx-b. (n.d.). Trulicity. Retrieved on Feb. 9, 2022 from https://www.goodrx.com/trulicity 
  4. Olvera-Lopez, E., Ballard, B. D., & Jan, A. (2021). Cardiovascular disease. StatPearls. Retrieved on Feb. 9., 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535419/ 
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA-a). (2021). Ozempic (semaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/209637s008lbl.pdf 
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA-b). (2021). Trulicity (dulaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/125469s044lbl.pdf 
  7. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (n.d.). [email protected]: FDA-approved drugs. Retrieved on Feb. 9, 2022 from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/daf/