If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may suggest Trulicity (dulaglutide) as a treatment option for you. Trulicity can be used along with changes in diet and exercise to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. It can also decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Trulicity is given as an injection (shot) under your skin once a week. If Trulicity works for you, your doctor may recommend it as a long-term treatment for your type 2 diabetes.
For more information about Trulicity, including details about its uses, see this in-depth article on the drug.
Like other drugs, Trulicity injections can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more.
Some people may experience mild or serious side effects during their Trulicity treatment. Examples of a few of Trulicity’s commonly reported side effects include:
Read on for more information about these common side effects and others that may occur with Trulicity.
* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
Trulicity may cause mild side effects. Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with the drug include:
- digestive problems*
- abdominal (belly) pain or upset stomach
- decreased appetite
- fatigue (lack of energy)
- injection site reaction, such as a rash*
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And don’t stop using Trulicity unless your doctor tells you to.
Trulicity may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Trulicity medication guide.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Trulicity, visit MedWatch.
In rare cases, Trulicity may cause serious side effects. Serious side effects that have been reported with Trulicity include:
- thyroid cancer*†
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- kidney problems
- pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)†
- allergic reaction* ‡
- severe digestive problems, such as gastroparesis (the stomach digesting food too slowly)
If you develop serious side effects while taking Trulicity, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening, or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
† Trulicity has a
‡ An allergic reaction is possible after using Trulicity. However, an allergic reaction wasn’t seen during studies of the drug. There have been reports of this side effect in people using Trulicity, but it’s unclear how often this has happened or if Trulicity was the cause.
Below, find answers to some frequently asked questions about Trulicity’s side effects.
Is there an online forum for Trulicity where I can learn about side effects?
Lilly, the manufacturer of Trulicity, doesn’t have an online forum for side effect information. Although other online forums may exist to discuss Trulicity’s side effects, the best way to learn about these possible effects is to talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Information in an online forum may not be reliable.
Trulicity does have a support program that you can sign up for. This program can provide you with resources, which may include information about side effects or tips for using Trulicity.
If you have any specific questions about side effects of Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Does Trulicity cause weight gain?
No, Trulicity should not cause you to gain weight. This was not a side effect seen during studies of the drug.
Instead, Trulicity may decrease your appetite. This may cause you to lose weight.
If you experience unexpected weight gain during your Trulicity treatment, talk with your doctor. They can try to determine the cause and recommend next steps.
Will I experience hair loss during my Trulicity treatment?
No, you shouldn’t experience hair loss from using Trulicity. Hair loss was not a side effect seen in studies of Trulicity.
However, hair loss may be more common in people with diabetes. This can result from a variety of causes.
One cause may be damage to the blood vessels that carry nutrients to your hair follicles. Without these nutrients, your hair may not be able to grow properly. Hair loss may also be caused by the stress of living with diabetes.
If you experience hair loss during your Trulicity treatment, talk with your doctor. They can try to determine what’s causing the hair loss and recommend treatment options for you.
Does Trulicity cause headache or dizziness?
No, Trulicity doesn’t cause headache or dizziness.
However, because of the way the drug works, it’s possible that Trulicity may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Headache or dizziness may be symptoms of hypoglycemia. Other symptoms may include:
Hypoglycemia can be very dangerous. It can cause you to feel unwell or faint. You may have a higher risk for hypoglycemia if you use Trulicity along with other medications for your type 2 diabetes.
Before you start using Trulicity, your doctor will describe symptoms of hypoglycemia and how to treat it. They may recommend always carrying a snack with sugar in it or glucose tablets in case you need to raise your blood sugar.
If you do experience headache or dizziness during your Trulicity treatment, talk with your doctor. They may need to reduce your dosage of Trulicity or your other diabetes medications to lower your risk for hypoglycemia.
How do the side effects of Trulicity and Ozempic compare?
Both Trulicity and Ozempic are injectable medications used to treat type 2 diabetes. These drugs have some similar side effects and others that differ.
Common side effects of both Trulicity and Ozempic include:
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal (belly) pain
Trulicity can also cause fatigue (lack of energy) and decreased appetite. And Ozempic may cause constipation.
Serious side effects of Trulicity and Ozempic are also similar. Both drugs can cause:
In addition, Trulicity may also cause severe digestive problems such as gastroparesis. And Ozempic may raise your risk for diabetic retinopathy (damage to your retina caused by diabetes complications).
If you have questions about specific side effects of either Trulicity or Ozempic, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. For more information about how these drugs compare, see the “Ozempic vs. Trulicity” section of this in-depth Ozempic article.
* Trulicity and Ozempic both have a
When do side effects from Trulicity typically start, and when do they go away?
It depends. Side effects of Trulicity can vary, and they may last longer in some people than others.
For example, one possible side effect of Trulicity is an injection-site reaction. This may include a rash, swelling, redness, or other discoloration in the area where you inject Trulicity. This side effect may occur right after an injection, or it may take time to develop.
Injection-site reactions usually go away a few days after you inject your dose. However, you may experience injection-site reactions with each dose of Trulicity.
Some people may experience nausea during their Trulicity treatment. This could occur a few days after starting the treatment or after your dose is increased. For most people, nausea usually goes away after about 2 weeks of treatment with Trulicity.
If you have concerns about specific side effects or how long they might last, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you advice about how to prevent or treat these side effects.
Learn more about some of the side effects that Trulicity may cause.
Injection-site reactions (such as a rash)
Some people may experience injection-site reactions while using Trulicity. However, this is not a commonly reported side effect of the drug. Injection-site reactions may include a rash, redness or other discoloration, or swelling in the area where you injected Trulicity.
What might help
To help avoid injection-site reactions, you should rotate injection sites with each Trulicity dose.
If you experience injection-site reactions while using Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to treat this side effect. They may recommend a warm compress or ice to help reduce any swelling, redness, or other discoloration. In some cases, they may recommend a medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), to decrease the swelling.
Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas) is a rare but serious side effect that can occur while using Trulicity. Symptoms of pancreatitis may include:
- severe abdominal (belly) pain
- back pain
What might help
Your doctor will ask you about your health history before recommending Trulicity. Tell them if you have a history of pancreatitis because this may put you at risk for developing the issue again. If you’ve had pancreatitis, your doctor may recommend a different treatment for your type 2 diabetes.
If you develop symptoms of pancreatitis during your Trulicity treatment, stop using Trulicity and see your doctor right away. If it’s confirmed that you have pancreatitis, your doctor will treat it and then recommend a different treatment for your type 2 diabetes. You should not restart Trulicity if you develop pancreatitis during your treatment.
Trulicity has a
Animal studies have shown an increased risk of thyroid cancer from Trulicity use. However, it’s not yet known if this risk also applies to humans.
Because of this possible risk, it’s important to watch for any symptoms of thyroid cancer. These symptoms may include:
- a lump or swelling in your neck
- trouble swallowing
- trouble breathing
What might help
You and your doctor will talk about your health history before you start using Trulicity. You should not use Trulicity if:
- you have a personal or family history of a specific type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid cancer
- you have a condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2
Due to the results of animal studies, it’s thought that using Trulicity if you have one of these risk factors could raise your risk for thyroid cancer. More research is needed to know whether Trulicity increases this risk in humans, though.
During your Trulicity treatment, tell your doctor right away if you notice any symptoms of thyroid cancer. They can screen you for thyroid cancer by checking for any lumps in your neck and doing blood tests throughout your treatment.
If you have concerns about your risk for developing thyroid cancer during your Trulicity treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Trulicity may cause digestive problems in some people. This is a common side effect of the drug. Digestive problems can include symptoms such as:
You may have a higher risk for digestive problems if you use a higher dosage of Trulicity. For example, in studies, more people using a 1.5-milligram (mg) dosage of Trulicity reported digestive side effects than people using a 0.75-mg dosage.
What might help
If you have digestive problems while using Trulicity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to reduce these side effects, such as taking other medications to ease the symptoms.
Like most drugs, Trulicity can cause an allergic reaction in some people. In some cases, these reactions can be serious.
Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:
- skin rash
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
What might help
If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or a topical product, like hydrocortisone cream, to manage your symptoms.
If your doctor confirms that you had a mild allergic reaction to Trulicity, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.
If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.
If your doctor confirms that you had a serious allergic reaction to Trulicity, they may have you switch to a different treatment.
Keeping track of side effects
During your Trulicity treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.
Your side effect notes can include things like:
- what dosage of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
- how soon after starting that dosage you experienced it
- the specific symptoms of the side effect
- how it affected your daily activities
- any other medications you were taking
- any other information you feel is important
Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help them learn more about how the drug affects you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.
Trulicity comes with several warnings.
Boxed warning: Risk of thyroid cancer
If you have a personal or family history of thyroid cancer, your doctor will likely recommend a different treatment for your type 2 diabetes. Otherwise, your doctor will monitor you for symptoms of thyroid cancer during your Trulicity treatment.
To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section above.
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 use Trulicity. Below are some factors to consider.
Pancreatitis. Trulicity may cause pancreatitis. If you’ve had this condition in the past, you may have a higher risk for developing it again during your Trulicity treatment. If you have a history of pancreatitis, tell your doctor before starting Trulicity. They may recommend a different treatment for you.
Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Trulicity or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Trulicity. Ask your doctor about other treatment options that may be better for you.
Kidney problems. If you have a history of kidney problems, using Trulicity may make your kidney problems worse. During your Trulicity treatment, your doctor will check your kidneys with blood tests to be sure that the drug isn’t making your kidney problems worse. Your doctor may recommend a different treatment for you if Trulicity is making these problems worse.
Digestive diseases. Before using Trulicity, tell your doctor if you have any digestive diseases, such as gastroparesis. Trulicity may make these conditions worse. If you have a history of digestive diseases, your doctor may monitor you more closely during your treatment. If symptoms of your digestive condition begin to worsen, they may recommend a different treatment for you. Trulicity is not recommended in some cases of serious digestive diseases.
Liver problems. It’s not known if having liver problems affects the way Trulicity works in your body. If you have any liver conditions, be sure to tell your doctor before you start using Trulicity. They may monitor your liver more closely throughout your treatment.
Diabetic retinopathy. Before starting treatment with Trulicity, tell your doctor if you have a history of eye problems, including diabetic retinopathy. Using Trulicity may make diabetic retinopathy worse. Your doctor may monitor your eyes more closely during your Trulicity treatment to make sure no changes occur.
Alcohol use and Trulicity
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink with your treatment plan and condition.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Trulicity
Pregnancy: More studies are needed to determine if Trulicity is a safe treatment for type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. At this time, it’s not known if this drug is safe for use during pregnancy.
Animal studies show that Trulicity may cause harm to a fetus. However, it’s important to note that animal studies don’t always reflect what will happen in humans.
If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for your type 2 diabetes. If they recommend that you use Trulicity, they may monitor you more often during your pregnancy.
Breastfeeding: It’s not known if Trulicity is safe to use while breastfeeding or whether the drug passes into breast milk. If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to, talk with your doctor before using Trulicity.
Trulicity may be effective at treating your type 2 diabetes. But the drug may also cause side effects in some people. In most cases, side effects from Trulicity are mild.
If you have questions about possible side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Examples of questions you may want to ask include:
- Will I lose weight during my Trulicity treatment?
- Will using Trulicity with other type 2 diabetes medications raise my risk for side effects?
- Do I have a higher risk for certain side effects due to my other health conditions?
- If I become pregnant while using Trulicity, should I stop my treatment?
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It’s true that both metformin and Trulicity may cause digestive problems, such as nausea or diarrhea.
Your risk for digestive problems with metformin may be lower if you use the extended-release (ER) form. This is a tablet that slowly releases the drug over time. Taking metformin with food can also help limit or prevent digestive problems.
Also, both medications have a higher risk of causing digestive problems when higher dosages are used. Your doctor may start you on a low dosage, then slowly increase your dosage of either or both medications over time.
If you have digestive problems while using Trulicity and metformin together, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease these side effects, such as taking other medications to ease the symptoms. They may also have you stop using one of the medications and try a different drug for your type 2 diabetes.Alex Brewer, PharmD, MBAAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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.