If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may prescribe Trulicity for you.

It’s a prescription drug that’s used in adults with type 2 diabetes to:

To learn more about how Trulicity is used, see the “What is Trulicity used for?” section below.

Trulicity basics

Trulicity comes as a liquid solution inside single-dose, prefilled injection pens. You’ll give yourself injections of the drug under your skin.

Trulicity belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. (A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.)

Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide, which is a biologic medication. A biologic is made from parts of living organisms.

Trulicity isn’t available as a biosimilar. (Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for nonbiologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.) Instead, dulaglutide is available only as the brand-name drug Trulicity.

Read on for more information about Trulicity, including its side effects, how to use it, and more.

Like most drugs, Trulicity may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Trulicity. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects Trulicity can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Trulicity’s medication guide.

Mild side effects of Trulicity that have been reported include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Trulicity can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Trulicity, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Trulicity that have been reported include:

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Side effect focus

Learn more about some of the side effects Trulicity may cause.

Boxed warning

Trulicity has a boxed warning about the risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug’s boxed warning is described below.

Risk of thyroid cancer. Trulicity may increase your risk of thyroid cancer.

This side effect wasn’t reported in human studies of Trulicity. Animal studies have shown a risk for this side effect, but animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

Possible symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

What might help

Tell your doctor if you develop any of the symptoms listed above while you’re taking Trulicity. They can check to see what’s causing your symptoms.

Also, be sure to tell your doctor about your medical history. And tell them about any major health conditions that your close family members have had.

If you or a family member have a history of thyroid cancer, your doctor may prescribe a different treatment for your type 2 diabetes. Or they may watch you closely for symptoms of thyroid cancer while you use Trulicity.

But if you or your family has ever had a certain type of thyroid cancer, it’s recommended that you do not take Trulicity.

Weight loss

You may have weight loss while you’re taking Trulicity.

Researchers compared changes in weight between people who took Trulicity and those who took other diabetes drugs. People taking Trulicity lost an average of several pounds more than those taking other diabetes medications.

Some people have loss of appetite or other mild problems with digestion from Trulicity, such as nausea and vomiting. These side effects could also lead to weight loss.

What might help

If you have problems with digestion, let your doctor know. They may be able to recommend ways to help lessen your symptoms.

If you’re concerned about weight loss while you’re taking Trulicity, talk with your doctor. They can suggest healthy ways to manage your weight.

Pancreatitis

Trulicity may cause pancreatitis (swelling in the pancreas). This side effect was rare in studies of the drug.

Tell your doctor if you’ve had pancreatitis in the past. Trulicity hasn’t been studied in people who’ve had this condition.

Common symptoms of pancreatitis include:

What might help

If you have symptoms of pancreatitis that don’t go away, tell your doctor right away. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and suggest the right treatment for your condition.

If you have pancreatitis while using Trulicity, your doctor will have you stop taking the drug. And they’ll recommend that you do not restart Trulicity if you’ve had this side effect.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Trulicity.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Trulicity. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Trulicity that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always follow the dosing instructions your doctor provides.

Form and strengths

Trulicity comes as a liquid solution inside single-dose, prefilled injection pens.

It’s available in the following strengths, which are described here as milligrams (mg) of drug per milliliter (mL) of solution:

  • 0.75 mg/mL
  • 1.5 mg/mL
  • 3 mg/mL
  • 4.5 mg/mL

Each Trulicity pen holds one dose of the drug. You’ll use a new pen for each weekly dose.

Recommended dosage

The dosing schedule for Trulicity is one injection taken once a week. You’ll give yourself Trulicity injections on the same day each week.

The usual starting dose of Trulicity is 0.75 mg. Your doctor may increase your Trulicity pen dosage over time. Your exact dosage will depend on your blood sugar levels and how well the drug is working to treat your condition.

The maximum dose of Trulicity is 4.5 mg.

Questions about Trulicity’s dosage

Below are answers to some common questions about using Trulicity.

  • What if I miss a dose of Trulicity? What you’ll do if you miss a dose of Trulicity depends on a few factors. If it’s at least 3 days before your next dose is due, take your missed dose of Trulicity. But if your next dose is due in less than 3 days, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at its usual time. If you aren’t sure whether to skip or take a missed dose of Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Will I need to use Trulicity long term? Yes, most likely. Your doctor will decide if Trulicity is working for you. If it’s not causing bothersome side effects, they may prescribe Trulicity long term.
  • How long does Trulicity take to work? Trulicity starts working to treat your diabetes right after you inject it. But it may take a few weeks before you notice the drug helping to manage your blood sugar levels.
  • Should I take Trulicity with food? You can inject Trulicity whether you’ve eaten or not.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use.

To find current prices for Trulicity in your area, visit GoodRx.com. You can also talk with your pharmacist to learn the cost per month and the cost without insurance for Trulicity.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Trulicity manufacturer’s website to see if they have support options.

Your doctor will explain how you should use Trulicity. They will also explain how much to inject and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Taking Trulicity

Trulicity comes as a liquid solution inside single-dose, prefilled injection pens. You’ll give yourself injections of the drug under your skin.

Each Trulicity pen holds one dose of the drug. You’ll use a new pen for each weekly dose.

There isn’t a best time of day to take Trulicity. You’ll take injections of Trulicity once per week. It’s best to use the medication on the same day each week. You should also try to inject it at about the same time on those days.

Your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to give yourself Trulicity injections. For more information about how to inject Trulicity, you can read these step-by-step instructions or watch this video.

Trulicity injection sites

You’ll inject Trulicity into your belly, thigh, or upper arm. It’s important to inject the drug into a new site for each dose.

Taking Trulicity with other drugs

Your doctor may prescribe Trulicity along with other diabetes drugs. Some examples include metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza) and empagliflozin (Jardiance).

Keep in mind that Trulicity can interact with certain diabetes drugs. For details, see the “What should be considered before taking Trulicity?” section below.

If you’d like to learn more about taking Trulicity with metformin, you can visit this page. And if you have questions about taking Trulicity with other drugs, talk with your doctor.

Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Trulicity and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Trulicity affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Find answers below to some commonly asked questions about Trulicity.

How does Trulicity work? What’s its half-life and how long does it stay in your system?

Trulicity works in a few ways to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. The drug also helps lower the risk of heart problems in people with diabetes and heart disease.

Trulicity does this by attaching to certain receptors (attachment sites) on the cells of your pancreas. These cells tell your pancreas to release insulin. By attaching to the cells, Trulicity helps your pancreas release more insulin, which lowers your blood sugar.

Trulicity also increases the time it takes food to move through your stomach. This keeps your blood sugar level from suddenly spiking after you eat.

Plus, Trulicity blocks glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that tells your liver to break down sugar and release it into your blood. By blocking glucagon, Trulicity helps lower your blood sugar level.

By lowering your blood sugar in all of these ways, Trulicity also helps lower your risk of heart problems.

The half-life of Trulicity is about 5 days. (This means it takes about 5 days for your body to get rid of half of a dose of Trulicity.) Typically, it takes about 5 half-lives for a drug to leave your system. So Trulicity will stay in your system for about 25 days after your last dose.

If you have more questions about how Trulicity works or how long it stays in your system, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Trulicity a type of insulin?

No, Trulicity isn’t an insulin. Insulin is given to increase or replace the insulin that’s made naturally in your body. Trulicity, on the other hand, helps your body release more of its own insulin. (For more information, see “How does Trulicity work?” right above.)

If you have more questions about the differences between Trulicity and insulin, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How does Trulicity compare with metformin, Saxenda, Byetta, and glipizide?

You may wonder how Trulicity compares with other drugs used to treat diabetes.

Examples of some of these medications include:

  • metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza)
  • liraglutide (Saxenda)
  • exenatide (Byetta)
  • glipizide (Glucotrol)

Trulicity, Saxenda, and Byetta are given as injections. But glipizide comes as a tablet you take by mouth.

For details about how Trulicity compares with the drugs listed above, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How do you store Trulicity? Does it need to be refrigerated?

Yes, Trulicity should be refrigerated for long-term storage.

Trulicity pens can be kept in the refrigerator at temperatures from 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). The pens can be stored in the refrigerator until the expiration date on their packaging.

But if needed, Trulicity can be kept unrefrigerated for up to 14 days. The storage temperature for Trulicity when kept out of the refrigerator should be no higher than 86°F (30°C).

Does Trulicity cause hair loss, joint pain, back pain, or depression?

It’s not likely. Hair loss, joint pain, back pain, and depression weren’t reported in studies of the drug.

But keep in mind that hair loss and depression can happen with diabetes, which Trulicity is used to treat.

So you may have hair loss or depression while using the drug. But these could be related to diabetes and not Trulicity.

Joint pain is a possible side effect of other diabetes drugs, such as sitagliptin (Januvia). Sometimes Trulicity is prescribed together with other diabetes drugs, including Januvia. This combination isn’t recommended by the American Diabetes Association, though.

Back pain may be a symptom of pancreatitis (swelling in the pancreas). And pancreatitis is a rare but serious side effect of Trulicity.

Talk with your doctor about any hair loss, joint pain, back pain, or depression you have while using Trulicity. They can suggest ways to manage these side effects.

What should I know about stopping Trulicity? Are there side effects from stopping it ‘cold turkey’?

Trulicity isn’t known to cause any side effects if you stop taking it “cold turkey” (suddenly).

But, your blood sugar level may increase after you stop using the drug.

If you’d like to stop using Trulicity, talk with your doctor first. They’ll advise when it’s safe to stop using the drug. They’ll likely want to prescribe another treatment for your condition.

Both Trulicity and Ozempic are used to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Both drugs are also used to help lower the risk of heart problems in people with diabetes and heart disease.

Both Trulicity and Ozempic belong to a group of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

To learn more about Trulicity and Ozempic, see this detailed comparison.

Read on to find out how Trulicity compares with other drug options. Be sure to talk with your doctor about which medication is right for you.

Trulicity vs. Victoza

See this side-by-side breakdown for information about Trulicity versus Victoza.

Trulicity vs. Bydureon

Check out this article to learn more about how Trulicity and Bydureon are alike and different.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may prescribe Trulicity.

It’s a prescription drug that’s used in adults with type 2 diabetes. Trulicity is used along with diet and exercise to help manage blood sugar levels. Trulicity isn’t used to treat type 1 diabetes.

It’s also used to help lower the risk of heart problems in people with diabetes, heart disease, and at risk of heart disease. Conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease include:

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes high blood sugar. Blood sugar is the primary source of energy for cells in your body. To help sugar get from your blood into your cells, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin.

But with type 2 diabetes, your body can’t effectively use the insulin it makes. Over time, this can cause too much sugar to stay in the blood. And a high level of blood sugar over a long period of time can cause serious problems, including heart disease.

Trulicity works to lower blood sugar levels by attaching to certain receptors (attachment sites) on the cells of your pancreas. These cells tell your pancreas to release insulin. By attaching to the cells, Trulicity helps your pancreas release more insulin, which lowers your blood sugar.

Before starting Trulicity, talk with your doctor about your overall health and any medical conditions you may have. Also tell them about all other medications you take.

These considerations and others are discussed in more detail below.

Interactions

Taking medications, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain drug can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Trulicity, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Trulicity.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Trulicity can interact with certain diabetes drugs. These include:

Trulicity may also affect your body’s ability to absorb medications that are taken by mouth. This includes any liquid solution, capsule, or tablet. If you’re taking any medications by mouth, your doctor may check the effects of these drugs while you’re using Trulicity.

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Trulicity. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with Trulicity.

Boxed warning

Trulicity has a boxed warning about thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Trulicity may increase the risk of thyroid cancer. And it should not be used by people who’ve had or whose family has had certain cancers in the past.

For more information, see the “What are Trulicity’s side effects?” section above.

Other warnings

Trulicity may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Trulicity. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

  • Diabetic retinopathy. Before you start using Trulicity, tell your doctor if you have diabetic retinopathy. (This condition is caused by damaged blood vessels in the eye, which may lead to vision loss.) Trulicity may worsen diabetic retinopathy. Your doctor will watch you closely during your Trulicity treatment to make sure your condition doesn’t get worse.
  • Gastroparesis or other problems with digestion. Before using Trulicity, tell your doctor if you have any problems with digestion. This includes gastroparesis (a condition that happens when the stomach empties its contents more slowly than usual). Trulicity may worsen these conditions. If you have severe problems with digestion, your doctor may prescribe a treatment other than Trulicity for your condition.
  • Kidney problems. Tell your doctor if you have any kidney problems before starting Trulicity. If you do, Trulicity may worsen this condition. Your doctor will order tests to monitor your kidney function and watch for this side effect while you’re taking Trulicity. Your doctor may prescribe a treatment other than Trulicity if it causes you kidney problems.
  • Liver problems. It isn’t known if Trulicity is safe for people with liver problems. If your doctor prescribes Trulicity for you, they may want to monitor your liver function more closely than usual. And they may have you stop taking Trulicity if your liver problems worsen while you’re taking the medication.
  • Pancreatitis. Tell your doctor if you currently have pancreatitis (swelling in the pancreas), or if you’ve had it in the past. This drug hasn’t been studied in people who’ve had this condition. But Trulicity may cause pancreatitis. So if you’ve had pancreatitis in the past, you may be at higher risk of this condition while using Trulicity. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a treatment other than Trulicity.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Trulicity or any of its ingredients, you should not take Trulicity. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Trulicity and alcohol

There aren’t any known safety issues with drinking alcohol while using Trulicity.

But alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels. And this could make it difficult for you to manage your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. So you may need to limit the amount of alcohol you drink while using Trulicity.

It’s important to remember that some liquid drugs contain a small amount of alcohol as an inactive ingredient. Liquid NyQuil is an example of a drug that contains alcohol. Talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to take medications that contain alcohol while using Trulicity.

Before starting Trulicity, tell your doctor about all the medications you take. They can tell you if those medications contain alcohol. If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink while using Trulicity.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It may not be safe to use Trulicity during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

To learn more about the risks and benefits of using Trulicity during these times, talk with your doctor.

Do not take more Trulicity than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Trulicity

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Trulicity. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. However, if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you have questions about using Trulicity for type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. (For more information on type 2 diabetes, see the “What is Trulicity used for?” section above.)

Below are a few questions you may want to ask your doctor about Trulicity:

  • Can I use Trulicity for weight loss? If so, what’s the dosage?
  • Can I take other diabetes medications with Trulicity?
  • Will I need to adjust my dosage of Trulicity based on other drugs I take?

You may also want to ask your doctor about other treatments for diabetes. You may find this article on diabetes drugs to be helpful.

To keep up with the latest treatment options for type 2 diabetes, you can sign up for Healthline’s diabetes newsletter.

Disclaimer: Healthline 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.