For many people with type 2 diabetes, Trulicity, a once-weekly injectable medication developed by Eli Lilly, is a great option to help manage blood sugar levels, improve HbA1c, and even lose weight.
It will take time to determine the right dose of Trulicity for you, and this decision should be made under the guidance of your doctor. There are different doses available, depending on your health history, health goals, and lifestyle.
This article will explain everything you need to know about Trulicity dosing and how much to take.
What dose do you typically start with?
When you begin taking Trulicity, your doctor will most likely want to start you on a low dose, until your body gets used to the medication. Starting on a low dose can help you avoid or minimize adverse side effects.
Trulicity can cause adverse side effects, which include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and suppressed appetite—ranging from mild to debilitating.
According to the manufacturer’s website, the starting dose for Trulicity is 0.75mg administered once weekly.
If additional blood sugar control is needed after four weeks, and you’re not experiencing too many adverse side effects, your doctor may increase your dose to 1.5mg administered once weekly.
What is a normal Trulicity dose?
While there is no “normal” dose, and every dose will vary by the patient, there is what is known as a “maintenance” dose.
This is when your body has gotten used to the medication long enough for you to know how effective it’s going to be for your blood sugar management and also how many adverse side effects you’re likely to experience, as well as their severity.
Most adult patients will start treatment by taking 0.75mg once weekly and after the first four weeks increase their dose to 1.5mg for their maintenance dose.
For children with type 2 diabetes, the starting dose for Trulicity is 0.75mg administered once weekly, and the maximum maintenance dose is 1.5mg administered once weekly.
How and when can you increase your dose?
Increasing your dose can only be done under the guidance of your doctor. They will want you on the introductory dose of Trulicity for at least the first four weeks to monitor for adverse side effects and to see how well you’re responding to treatment.
After the first four weeks, if you require additional blood sugar control, your dose may be doubled to 1.5mg.
If you’re not experiencing adverse side effects yet need additional blood sugar control after another four weeks, your doctor may increase your dose to 3mg administered once weekly. This will only apply to adults, as the maximum weekly dose for children is 1.5mg.
Finally, if you still need additional blood sugar control after another four weeks, your doctor may increase your weekly dose to 4.5mg administered once weekly.
What is the correct dose for me?
Finding your right dose takes time, patience—and potentially some trial and error. It will depend on your health history, health goals, lifestyle, and how well your body can tolerate any adverse side effects.
In general, higher doses of GLP-1 agonists like Trulicity yield more results such as lower blood sugar levels, weight loss, and improved A1Cs, as well as a higher chance of side effects.
Keep this in mind as your scale up your doses, and only ever do so under the guidance of your doctor.
What is the correct dose for weight loss?
Trulicity is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, however, many people who take the medication do report that they lose weight while doing so.
Since Trulicity is not FDA-approved for weight loss, there is no official recommended dose to achieve weight loss.
Trulicity is most effective at improving blood sugar levels and aiding in weight loss when the medication is combined with healthy eating and increased physical activity. If you’re concerned about your weight and wish to take prescription medication for weight loss, talk with your doctor about trying an FDA-approved medication specifically for weight loss.
Keep in mind that you cannot take two GLP-1 agonists at the same time, so medications like Trulicity can not be mixed with medications like Wegovy, which is a weight-loss GLP-1 agonist medication.
There are other medications that aid in weight loss that you are able to take at the same time as Trulicity, such as metformin.
You can learn more in our article Trulicity and Weight Loss: Can Trulicity Help You Lose Weight?
What happens if I stop taking Trulicity?
Never stop taking your diabetes medications without consulting your doctor first.
If you abruptly stop taking Trulicty, you may suffer from adverse side effects like increased hunger, lethargy, weight gain, higher insulin resistance and decreased insulin sensitivity, and higher blood sugar levels.
If you are experiencing debilitating side effects and are no longer able to carry out everyday tasks, your health insurance no longer covers the medication, or Trulicity no longer fits into your lifestyle, talk to your doctor about exploring alternative treatments.
Are there different Trulicity pens?
Trulicity comes in four different pens, depending on your dose. They are all single-dose pens, so for a month’s prescription, you would receive four pens.
They come in the following doses:
- 0.75mg single-dose pen
- 1.5mg single-dose pen
- 3mg single-dose pen
- 4.5mg single-dose pen
Having single-dose pens is helpful because there is no way to over-inject your medication unless you accidentally take it twice a day or week.
However, it also means that there is no extra medication if a pen goes bad or you’ve misplaced it.
What is the strongest Trulicity?
All of the Trulicity pens contain the same exact active ingredient, dulaglutide, and the larger dosing pens do not have a stronger formulation of the drug.
When people increase their dose of Trulicity, they are just increasing the amount they take per week. Never take more Trulicity than your doctor has prescribed.
What is the maximum weekly dose?
The maximum weekly dose of Trulicity is 4.5mg. You can change the day or time that you take your dose if you need to, as long as you haven’t taken your weekly dose within the previous 72 hours.
If it’s been fewer than 72 hours since your last dose, wait until the following week to pick your new dosing day.
Never take two doses of Trulicity within 3 days of each other. Doing so will increase the likelihood of adverse side effects which include: nausea, vomiting, and low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can be fatal, especially if you’re also on insulin.
Monitor for signs and symptoms of extremely low blood sugar:
- Increased heart rate
- Shallow breathing
Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you suspect that you’ve overdosed on Trulicity.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
Not to worry. Missing one weekly dose of your medication will not immediately make your blood sugars increase, nor will it make you gain weight.
If you’ve missed a dose, but it’s at least 3 or more days until your next scheduled dose, you may take the missed dose without changing your dosing schedule too much.
If you’ve missed your weekly dose, but it’s been more than 3 days since the missed dose, skip that week’s dose and just take your next dose as regularly scheduled.
Never take two doses within a 72-hour timeframe.
It can be hard to remember to take a weekly medication, and even harder sometimes to remember if you’ve taken your medication at all.
Set an alarm or a reminder on your phone to make it easy to remember to take your medications weekly and on time.