Trulicity: Uses, Side Effects, and Interactions

Authored by The Rx Advocates, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS
Last Updated: February 6, 2022

Trulicity is a medication that is prescribed to help with Type 2 diabetes. It is an injectable medication that helps control a patient’s blood sugar.

When diet and exercise are combined with the use of Trulicity, patients can see an improvement in blood sugar control for their Type 2 diabetes.

Trulicity works by using the hormone action of GLP-1, which helps regulate blood glucose levels. It mimics this action, so the body can regulate the blood sugar levels in the body.

A benefit of Trulicity is that it has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes with those who have Type 2 diabetes and pre-existing heart disease.

Trulicity is not to be used as a treatment for Type 1 diabetes.

 

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most diagnosed diabetes type. It can be diagnosed through a bloodwork test that indicates if the glucose level in the blood is too high.

The body’s primary energy source is blood glucose, which comes from the food that it digests. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which helps get the glucose into the cells to be used as energy.

With Type 2 diabetes, either the body does not use insulin well or does not make enough insulin. This means that the glucose stays in the blood and does not reach the cells to give the needed energy.

There are many ways to manage Type 2 diabetes, which include:

  • Change in lifestyle choices to incorporate healthy meals.
  • If overweight, manage caloric intake.
  • Become physically active.
  • Find a medication like Trulicity to help manage blood glucose levels.

 

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes does not occur suddenly. It develops over time, and many patients are not aware they even have it. That is why it is essential to ask a physician for yearly physicals to ensure the blood work is normal.

Unfortunately, for some people, their diagnosis comes after they have already developed vision problems and even heart disease.

There are symptoms of Type 2 diabetes that individuals should be aware of, which include:

  • A sudden decrease in weight.
  • An increase in thirst and urination.
  • Some individuals are more tired than usual.
  • Sores that are unable to heal on their own.
  • An increase in appetite.
  • There could be a loss of feeling in the hands or feet, described as tingling.
  • A change in vision.

If these symptoms occur, it is vital to see a medical professional to see if Type 2 diabetes has developed.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Many factors can cause Type 2 diabetes, including the lifestyle lived as well as genetics.

A person who is overweight and lacks activity is more likely to have Type 2 diabetes.  When a person is overweight, it can cause insulin resistance.

An individual with insulin resistance has built up a tolerance to insulin, making this hormone less effective. It is not very well understood why some people’s bodies develop this resistance.

It has been shown that those with extra belly fat are more prone to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. Also, this extra weight around the midline is associated with heart and blood vessel disease.

Genetics also plays a role in Type 2 diabetes. Not only can genetics increase the risk for developing diabetes, but it also can cause a higher incidence of obesity, one of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

 

How Does Trulicity Help with Type 2 Diabetes?

In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration approved Trulicity.

Diet and exercise and the use of this medication can help control blood sugar levels. Medicines like this can also help patients reduce their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Trulicity is used by injecting a prefilled pen into the body to help control blood sugar levels. It can start working after the first dose to help the body release its own insulin.

When Trulicity mimics GLP-1, it binds to and activates the GLP-1 receptors. In return, insulin is released, as needed, the glucose-producing mechanism is decreased when the blood sugars are too high.

The benefit of this reaction is that the stomach does not empty as fast, causing the body to feel fuller with a smaller amount of food ingested. This, in turn, can cause weight loss, which is a secondary effect of taking Trulicity. Losing weight is beneficial because it can help in the management of Type 2 diabetes. 

Trulicity Uses

Trulicity is a self-injected pen that is prescribed by a physician and is given once a week by the patient. Administered under the skin, a patient may inject in their abdomen, thigh, or upper arm and may take this medication with or without food.

When a patient is prescribed Trulicity, they still need to have the ability to produce, store and release insulin naturally. Trulicity does not act as insulin.

Trulicity Side Effects

As with any medication, Trulicity has the potential to cause side effects. If an individual has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or has an allergy to any of the ingredients, they should tell their doctor.

Common side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

More severe side effects include:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Change in vision
  • Low blood sugar
  • Serious allergic reaction
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Acute kidney injury

If a patient has serious side effects, they should notify their physician immediately.

Trulicity Interactions

Trulicity causes the stomach to empty slower, so other medications may take longer to absorb.

It is also essential to know that there are a total of 244 drugs known to interact with Trulicity, so patients should ask their doctor or pharmacist about any potential interactions that may exist.

Physicians should also always be made aware of the type of vitamins or herbal supplements being used so they may monitor for any complications.

Alcohol can also interact with Trulicity. It is recommended that women take only one drink of alcohol per day and men no more than two per day when taking Trulicity.

 

Paying for Trulicity with The Rx Advocates

Many doctors will prescribe Trulicity as a medication for Type 2 diabetes. At The Rx Advocates, we work with patients to make monthly medicines like Trulicity more affordable.

The Rx Advocates first works with your primary care doctor to start the paperwork. Once the necessary forms are filled out, we continue to work alongside the drug company to make sure the doctor’s application is being processed.

In this way, we are able to ensure you get the necessary discounts through our patient assistance program.

The Rx Advocates has a list of medications that we offer discounts on through our program.  This list of medications keeps being added to as new ones are approved.

To learn more about our program, contact us today.

 

Sources:

NIDDK.NIH. Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-2-diabetes. 2021.

CDC. Diabetes Tests.
https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/getting-tested.html. 2021.

Diabetes.ORG. Insulin Resistance. https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/insulin-resistance. 2021.

NIH. Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists for Type 2 Diabetes.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556578/. 2017.

Drugs. Trulicity Interactions.
Trulicity Interactions Checker – Drugs.com. 2021.

Medical News Today. What to know about insulin resistance.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305567. November 7, 2021.

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