Trulicity and Ozempic are both once-weekly GLP-1 agonist injections used for lowering blood sugar levels in people living with type 2 diabetes.
They may sound similar, however, these medications each cause different side effects and have different active ingredients.
How do you know which medication is right for you? This article will explore the similarities and differences between these two popular treatments.
What are Trulicity and Ozempic?
They are both approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, these medications can assist both in weight loss and in the prevention of stroke, heart attack, and premature death in people living with type 2 diabetes and preexisting heart disease.
Why would you take Trulicity or Ozempic?
You may be prescribed Trulicity or Ozempic if you live with type 2 diabetes and are suffering from insulin resistance, stubborn high blood sugar levels (especially after meals), and have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
Studies show that participants who take GLP-1 agonists, including Ozempic and Trulicity, lose weight. However, it is important to note that neither medication is FDA-approved for weight loss.
If you’ve been prescribed either Trulicity or Ozempic but do not have type 2 diabetes, you’ve been prescribed the medication “off-label”. This means that the medication was prescribed for a purpose not yet approved by the FDA.
Trulicity and Ozempic are often prescribed off-label to help increase insulin sensitivity and aid in weight loss.
Do not take Trulicity or Ozempic if you are not prescribed the medication and only take medications under the guidance of your doctor.
How are Trulicity and Ozempic similar?
These medications are similar in many ways, including the following:
They do not replace insulin
While these medications lower blood sugar over time, they do not cause acute low blood sugar levels.
If you are on insulin for the treatment of diabetes, Trulicity or Ozempic will be a supplement to your insulin routine.
However, if you become less insulin resistant over time, they may reduce the amount of insulin you need to take to manage your blood sugar levels.
They are injectable medications, taken once a week
Trulicity and Ozempic are only available in injectable form, taken subcutaneously (which means, taken under the skin.)
It’s important to stay consistent and take the treatment on the same day at the same time, once weekly.
They have similar side effects
The side effects of Trulicity and Ozempic are remarkably similar and may include:
- Suppressed appetite
- Weight loss
- Low blood sugar, if you use insulin
Although rare, both medications increase the likelihood of developing Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). You should not take Trulicity or Ozempic if you have a personal or family history of MTC.
Additionally, the FDA released a black box warning about Trulicity and Ozempic’s use and the association with an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
They cause weight loss and lower blood sugar levels
Both of these medications aid in lowering both blood sugar levels and weight.
Although they are not approved by the FDA for weight loss, many patients taking both of these medications do lose weight. The majority of patients lose more than 5% of their body weight.
Since they are not FDA-approved for weight loss, there is no recommended dose specifically for weight loss available.
They can be taken with or without food
Unlike insulin, neither Trulicity nor Ozempic cause acute low blood sugar. They can be taken with or without food.
The best time of day to take your Trulicity or Ozempic dose is the time that you’ll routinely remember to take it.
While these medications do not require you to take them with food, it can be helpful to have a little snack either before or after your injection.
Choose bland foods, such as bananas, rice, toast, applesauce, or clear-broth soups, to help alleviate nausea.
How are Trulicity and Ozempic different?
While similar, these medications also have some differences. The following are the differences between Trulicity and Ozempic.
Their active ingredients are different
Even though these medications are both GLP-1 agonists, the active ingredient in Trulicity is dulaglutide and the active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide.
If you are allergic to either of these active ingredients, talk to your doctor before starting a medication regimen, as you may experience severe, adverse side effects.
Ozempic may be more effective
In one pivotal study, semaglutide and dulaglutide were studied in a randomized trial of people with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that at both high and low doses of the medication, semaglutide was more effective at improving glycemic control and lowering body weight than dulaglutide, with a similar safety profile.
If you struggle with severe insulin resistance and are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, you may want to talk to your doctor about trying Ozempic and see if you’ll tolerate it well.
Frequently asked questions
Can I switch between the two?
It is possible to switch between using Trulicity and Ozempic.
However, your doctor will most likely make you wait a week after your last dose of one before starting another, to avoid more severe adverse side effects.
You will not be able to switch between the two if you’re allergic to either of their active ingredients—Ozempic’s semaglutide or Trulicity’s dulaglutide.
If you’re experiencing debilitating side effects on one, it might be worth it to try the other, which your body may tolerate better.
Can I take both at the same time?
No. Even though they have different active ingredients, you cannot double-dose GLP-1 agonists.
If you do, you will experience severe adverse side effects, including low blood sugar, which could be fatal if not treated.
Call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical attention if you have accidentally taken both of these medications at the same time or within a 2–day timeframe.
Which medication is right for me?
This is a decision that can only be made between you and your doctor, and it will depend on your health history, health goals, lifestyle, and preferences.
Always consider the active ingredients in any medication you’re taking, and be aware if you have any allergies to them.
It is also important to check your health insurance coverage to learn what medications are on the preferred drug list. This way, you can choose affordable options that are sustainable in the long term.
Unfortunately, there are no generic versions of Trulicity or Ozempic, but your doctor may have other alternative medications that are more affordable.