Ozempic and Trulicity are brand-name drugs used to control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM). They have also been shown to be effective in lowering hemoglobin A1c levels.
Both drugs are not first-line treatments for type 2 diabetes but are used when blood sugar levels are erratic and difficult to control with first-line treatments. These are also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in heart disease associated with type 2 diabetes and have been shown to help lower the risk of experiencing heart problems such as a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease-related death in such cases.
What are Ozempic and Trulicity?
Ozempic and Trulicity are non-insulin injectable medications that act as glucagon-like peptide agonists or GLP-1 receptor agonists, stimulating the pancreas to release more insulin, which reduces the release of glucagon, resulting in a lower blood sugar level. Both drugs also affect gastric emptying by delaying it, which leads to a controlled appetite and, as a result, weight loss. Although these drugs are not used to lose weight, their indirect effect on weight aids in the treatment of overweight people who take them.
Ozempic is a non-insulin injectable drug that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes as well as to help reduce the risk of heart-related events in diabetic patients who already have heart disease. Novo Nordisk manufactures it from Semaglutide, its active ingredient. Trulicity, on the other hand, is an FDA-approved drug for Type 2 diabetes that has the same effect on risk reduction in patients with accompanying heart disease as well as those with risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels, and obesity. Eli Lilly manufactures it from the active ingredient, Dulaglutide.
Ozempic and Trulicity are not approved for use in people with Type 1 diabetes. They are also used in conjunction with exercise and proper nutrition to improve efficiency.
Form, Dosage, and Cost
Ozempic and Trulicity are both brand-name medications with no generic alternatives. Brand-name drugs are typically more expensive than generic drugs. Both are more than $800, with prices varying by pharmacy.
Stress in the body, such as fever or trauma, will cause glucose levels in the blood to rise, resulting in an elevated blood sugar level. When this occurs, contact your health care provider because your blood sugar level will be difficult to control and may necessitate additional intervention as well as a change in dosing and frequency.
Trulicity is a liquid solution that comes with a pre-filled pen that can be used in a 1:1 ratio, meaning one pen equals one dose. This comes in a box of four pre-filled pens that contain 0.75 mg or 1.5 mg per 0.5ml injection. Once a week, it is injected subcutaneously into the upper arm, abdomen, or thigh. It is recommended to use a different injection site every week, with no two sites injected consecutively.
The typical first dose is 0.75mg once a week. This may be increased to 1.5 mg per week, which is also the maximum dose, depending on the level of sugar control required. If more control is required, this can be increased to 3 mg only after 4 weeks of 1.5mg dosing per week, or 4.5 mg after 4 weeks of 3mg dosing per week. Your health care provider will determine the appropriate dose for you based on your need for blood sugar control.
It is recommended that you take the injection on the same day each week, but if you miss a dose, you may take it as long as it is 3 days or 72 hours before the next dose. Otherwise, you can skip it and continue with the next dose schedule. It can be taken more than once per week as long as there is a 72-hour interval between doses.
Ozempic is a multiple-use injection pen that is prefilled and injected subcutaneously into the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. Each pen has a 2mg capacity per 1.5mL of medicine. Depending on your dose, you may need two injection pens per month. The Ozempic pen can be used for multiple doses, but the needle should be changed every time.
A 0.25mg injection once a week is usually used as a starting dose. After four weeks, your doctor may increase the dose to 0.5mg or 1mg. It is recommended that the injection site be changed once a week, rather than using the same site repeatedly. Because the pen can be used 2–3 times depending on your dosage, it is recommended that you change the needle after each dose.
Ozempic should be taken on the same day each week. With a 2-day interval, the frequency can be increased to more than 1 dose per week. If you miss a dose, you can still take it if it is within 5 days of the missed dose. Otherwise, you can skip the dose and resume your regular schedule.
You must follow your health care provider’s dosing, regimen, and schedule. Take careful note of your doctor’s instructions. Switching and skipping doses are not advised.
Ozempic and Trulicity are both used to control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, and they work best when combined with diet and exercise.
Both can also be used to lower the risk of serious heart problems, such as a heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease. Trulicity can also be used in patients who have several risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity.
Ozempic and Trulicity are not used as first-line drugs for type 2 diabetes control and are not used to treat type 1 diabetes. People who are allergic to its active ingredient or have pancreas problems should tell their doctor so that they can be prescribed alternative medications.
Data on the effect of these drugs in people with thyroid cancer are not yet established, therefore, if you have thyroid cancer, or has a family history of it, especially the multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), it is not advised to use these medications.
Women who are planning to become pregnant or who are breastfeeding are advised to seek alternative treatment. People with liver and kidney problems, as well as those who have had complications from diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy, are also advised to seek alternative treatment plans.
It is not advised to consume alcohol while taking these medications.
These medications are not intended for use by anyone under the age of 18.
How does it interact with other drugs?
Drug interactions can change the way your medication works, causing it to lose efficacy or causing other medications to lose or gain more efficacy and effectiveness, which can result in serious adverse reactions. Any medication you are taking, including herbal supplements, tonics, and over-the-counter medications, must be disclosed to your health care provider. It is not permitted to discontinue or change the dosage of your medication without first consulting your doctor.
The use of beta-blockers may mask symptoms that are typical of hypoglycemia. Therefore, taking beta-blockers with Ozempic or Trulicity requires attention to possible hypoglycemia and in taking measures to prevent low blood sugar by eating properly. Ozempic and Trulicity may also interact with exogenous insulin as well as other medications taken at the same time, like antibiotic drugs for bacterial infections.
Ozempic and Trulicity may indirectly cause weight loss in people taking it. Common side effects include a generalized feeling of unwellness, nausea, and vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation.
Trulicity may also suppress appetite, and both may cause a reaction at the injection site, such as redness, itching, or pain. The duration of these side effects can range from a few days to a few weeks. If symptoms persist, discontinue the use of the medication and notify your doctor.
More serious side effects include severe allergic reactions, hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, changes in vision, kidney failure, and thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid cancer symptoms include difficulty swallowing, persistent hoarseness, shortness of breath, and a lump in the neck. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.
Key similarities and differences are listed below:
- Ozempic and Trulicity are both subcutaneous injectable, non-insulin, GLP-1 agonist drug that is taken once a week;
- Ozempic is a Semaglutide-brand drug with dosing of 0.25mg to 1mg per week, while Trulicity is a Dulaglutide-brand drug with dosing of 0.75 mg to 4mg weekly;
- Both can be used to control type 2 diabetes as well as reduce the risk for heart-related problems; Trulicity can be used in people with multiple risk factors for heart disease;
- Both are not approved for use in ages 18 below; and
- Both are not approved for use in Type 1 diabetes.
Ozempic has been shown in recent studies to be more effective than Trulicity in terms of blood sugar control and lowering hemoglobin A1c levels. People, however, react differently to medications. If you’re thinking about changing your medications, talk to your doctor first.