If you have type 2 diabetes, you might hear about the drugs Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Victoza (liraglutide) from your doctor.
Trulicity and Victoza are prescription drugs used to:
- lower blood sugar levels in adults* with type 2 diabetes
- reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular (heart- or blood vessel-related) problems in adults with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Both drugs are given by injection at home. But Trulicity and Victoza have some differences, too. Keep reading to learn more about how these drugs compare. And for more detailed information, see the in-depth articles on Trulicity and Victoza.
* Victoza is also approved for this use in some children.
Trulicity contains the active drug dulaglutide. Victoza contains the active drug liraglutide.
Dulaglutide and liraglutide belong to the same drug class: glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.)
Trulicity and Victoza are both used to:
- Lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes (when used with diet and exercise). Victoza is also approved for this use in children ages 10 years and older.
- Lower the risk of major cardiovascular problems (related to the heart or blood vessels), such as heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular issues. Both drugs are approved for this use in adults who have both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Trulicity is also approved for this use in adults with type 2 diabetes and two or more CVD risk factors.
Whether you have health insurance or not, price may be a factor when you’re considering Trulicity and Victoza.
Both are prescription biologic drugs. Biologic drugs are made from living cells.
Trulicity and Victoza are only available as brand-name drugs. Neither is available in biosimilar form. (Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for non-biologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.)
But keep in mind that what you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your treatment plan, your health insurance, and the pharmacy you use.
The short answer: Yes, it’s possible.
Details: Trulicity and Victoza are in the same drug class. This means that they work in similar ways. They’re also prescribed for similar uses. So, you may be able to switch from one of these drugs to the other.
But these drugs come in different strengths and differ in how often they’re used. Trulicity is used once per week, while Victoza is used once per day.
If your doctor approves the switch from one of these drugs to the other, you’ll start the new medication either the next day or the next week. This depends on which medication you were taking previously.
If you’re switching from Victoza to Trulicity, you’ll take your first Trulicity dose the day after you take your last Victoza dose. If you’re switching from Trulicity to Victoza, you’ll take your first Victoza dose 1 week after your last Trulicity dose.
Your doctor will determine what your dosage of the new drug should be based on your blood sugar level and your dosage of the previous drug.
Reminder: Don’t switch drugs or stop your current treatment unless your doctor recommends it. If you have questions about changing your diabetes treatment, talk with your doctor.
Trulicity and Victoza aren’t approved for weight loss. But some people taking these drugs in studies of Trulicity and Victoza did lose weight. (Although, in certain studies of Victoza taken with other diabetes medications, some people lost weight while others gained weight.)
However, the prescription drug Saxenda (liraglutide), which has the same active drug as Victoza, is approved for weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes.
Saxenda can’t be used with either Trulicity or Victoza. If you’re interested in learning more about Saxenda or other weight loss treatments, talk with your doctor.
Trulicity and Victoza both come as liquid solutions that are given with an injection pen.
- Trulicity comes as prefilled, single-use pens. You discard the pen and needle after each dose. You’ll give yourself a Trulicity dose once per week.
- Victoza comes as prefilled, multi-use pens. You reuse the same pen but replace the needle for each dose. You’ll give yourself a Victoza dose once per day.
Trulicity and Victoza come in different strengths. But in general, both drugs are started at a lower dosage that your doctor may increase each week until your blood sugar is under control or until you reach the maximum dosage.
Your doctor will determine your dosage based on your condition and other factors. As with any medication, you shouldn’t change your Trulicity or Victoza dosage unless your doctor tells you to.
Like all drugs, Trulicity and Victoza may cause side effects. But most side effects of both drugs are mild. Some may be easily managed or go away on their own.
See the sections below to learn about some key side effects that are possible with Trulicity and Victoza. And for more information about possible side effects, see the in-depth articles on Trulicity and Victoza.
Mild side effects
Trulicity and Victoza may cause mild side effects in some people. The chart below lists examples of mild side effects that can occur with these drugs.
|Fatigue (lack of energy)||X|
|Nausea or vomiting||X||X|
|Indigestion (upset stomach)||X||X|
|Hypoglycemia* (low blood sugar)||X||X|
Serious side effects
In addition to the mild side effects described above, serious side effects may occur in some people using Trulicity or Victoza. The chart below lists the possible serious side effects of these drugs.
|Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)||X||X|
|Severe allergic reaction||X||X|
|Thyroid cancer risk†||X||X|
* If you have kidney problems, dehydration from other side effects (such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting) may make your kidney problems worse.
† Trulicity and Victoza both have a
The sections below explain whether Trulicity or Victoza may be effective at treating your condition.
Effectiveness for improving blood sugar levels
Trulicity and Victoza are both used (along with diet and exercise) to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Effectiveness for lowering cardiovascular risks
Trulicity and Victoza are also used in adults with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD)* to lower the risk of certain cardiovascular problems (related to the heart or blood vessels). Examples of these problems include heart attack, stroke, and death from a cardiovascular issue.
A large review of
* Trulicity is also approved for this use in adults with type 2 diabetes and two or more CVD risk factors.
Trulicity or Victoza 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 either drug.
Boxed warning: Thyroid cancer
Both Trulicity and Victoza have a
Both drugs have caused thyroid cancer in animals, but it’s unclear if these drugs increase this risk in humans. You shouldn’t use either drug if you have a rare condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 or if you or a family member has ever had medullary thyroid cancer.
During treatment with either drug, tell your doctor right away if you experience symptoms of thyroid cancer, as you may need to stop treatment. Examples of these symptoms may include a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, or a scratchy voice.
In addition to the boxed warning, Trulicity and Victoza have other warnings.
Before using Trulicity or Victoza, talk with your doctor if you have any of the following conditions or health factors.
- Warnings for both Trulicity and Victoza:
- slow digestion or digestive problems
- pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)
- liver disease
- kidney problems
- severe allergic reaction
- Warnings for Trulicity:
- diabetic retinopathy (damaged blood vessels in your eye)
These lists may not contain all warnings for Trulicity and Victoza.
If you have type 2 diabetes, Trulicity and Victoza are two treatment options that may help you lower your blood sugar. And if you also have cardiovascular disease, both drugs may help lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, or death from heart problems.
Both drugs are given by injection, but a main difference is how often they’re used. With Trulicity, you inject yourself once per week. But if you use Victoza, you inject yourself once per day.
If you’re wondering which drug is best for you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can provide the answers you need to feel confident about your diabetes treatment plan. Ask about any concerns, such as:
- Do Trulicity or Victoza cause injection site reactions?
- I’ve already had a heart attack. Will using Trulicity or Victoza lower my risk for another heart attack?
- How should I manage low blood sugar while using Trulicity or Victoza?
- If I have diarrhea or vomiting while using Trulicity or Victoza, how should I manage these side effects?
- I’ve never given myself an injection. Can you provide any injection training?
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I travel a lot and can’t always be near a refrigerator. How long do Trulicity and Victoza last at room temperature?Anonymous patient
Trulicity and Victoza can be stored at room temperature for different lengths of time.
After using your first dose from a Victoza pen, the pen remains good for 30 days at room temperature or in a refrigerator, according to the manufacturer.
Trulicity pens may be stored at room temperature for up to 14 days, according to the manufacturer.
If you’re storing Victoza or Trulicity at room temperature, it’s important that you follow the other instructions for storing these drugs. Be sure to keep them protected from sunlight and excessive heat. And don’t freeze either medication.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 other 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.