Comparison of Two Major Antidiabetic Medications
For diabetics, choosing the right medication can be an important part of their daily life and healthcare routine. Type 2 diabetics have an array of antidiabetic medications available to them and therefore, should consider their best options for treatment.
Two popular antidiabetic medications are Trulicity and Ozempic. Both of these medications are given by prescription only and both categorized under the drug class of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
These two medications both have pros and cons to their use in treating patients with type 2 diabetes.
Trulicity (generic name: dulaglutide)
What is it
Trulicity is the brand name of the drug dulaglutide, which is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. An agonist means that the medication mimics the actions of a GLP-1 receptor.
GLP-1 is one of the main receptor types in the body that triggers insulin secretion. For someone with type 2 diabetes, the aid of a GLP-1 receptor agonist like dulaglutide, can trigger insulin that otherwise would not have been released. This lowers a person’s blood sugar levels and helps aid in glycemic control.
Furthermore, GLP-1 also reduces glucagon in the body. Glucagon is a hormone produced in the liver to keep sugar in the blood (this leads to high blood sugars). So by lowering glucagon, dulaglutide (or Trulicity) also helps lower blood sugar.
Essentially, GLP-1 is like a big flashing warning sign that says “your blood sugar is too high! You need to produce insulin to control it and you need to stop producing glucagon.”
When a person has type 2 diabetes, their GLP-1 receptors do not act effectively due to insulin resistance and frequent high blood sugars built up over time. To make up for a loss in bodily GLP-1 function, synthetic Trulicity (dulaglutide) mimics the GLP-1 receptor.
What it does
The main functions of Trulicity are: to control high blood sugar in diabetic clients (glycemic control) and to prevent clot formation that could lead to life-threatening events (stroke, heart attack, embolism). An off-label function that Trulicity might also contribute to is weight loss. Trulicity can delay gastric emptying, which sometimes reduces appetite, leading to weight loss.
- Trulicity reduces the risk of stroke & heart attack by lowering blood sugar.
- Sometimes it leads to weight loss because it slows digestion & creates a “full” feeling. However, this is an off-label use not approved by the FDA. It may be a secondary benefit but is rarely prescribed as a primary function of Trulicity.
- Trulicity only has to be taken once weekly via injection.
- Trulicity is injected subcutaneously through a small needle prick under the skin, so it might not be right for people who are afraid of needles.
- In some clinical trials, Trulicity (dulaglutide) appears to be less effective than Ozempic (semaglutide) at lowering blood sugars and diabetic A1C levels.
- In some cases, Trulicity can have more side effects than Ozempic.
Common side effects of Trulicity:
Some common side effects can occur as a result of Trulicity use. These side effects can typically be controlled or minimized with proper treatment from a healthcare provider. The side effects of Trulicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, indigestion, flatulence, belching, feelings of fullness, acid reflux (GERD), heartburn, frequent bowel movements, fatigue and malaise, feeling bloated, weakness, and lack of energy. One, none, or multiple of these side effects can occur with Trulicity. Inform your healthcare provider if you develop these side effects and cannot find relief.
Rare complications of Trulicity:
More severe but rare complications that can occur include: angioedema, allergic reactions, kidney disease, kidney failure, heart rhythm issues (such as AV heart blocks), and hypoglycemia (from taking too high or frequent doses). Notify your healthcare provider immediately if you develop one of these complications.
While medication costs always vary, Trulicity’s price per unit is about $467. Medicare Part D and private insurance plans typically cover the cost of Trulicity. However, if a person is paying out of pocket, a Trulicity prescription can be nearly $1,009 per month (4 single-dose pens).
Discounts may be found online to lower the out-of-pocket cost of Trulicity to $300 when you order through BuyCanadianInsulin.com.
Ozempic (generic name: semaglutide)
What is it
Ozempic also mimics a GLP-1 receptor agonist to lower blood sugar. The medication works very similarly to Trulicity, and just has a slightly different chemical formula. The main ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide, which is slightly different from dulaglutide.
Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that utilizes the same mechanism of action as dulaglutide. However, some clinical trials have found that semaglutide (Ozempic) is more effective than dulaglutide at controlling blood sugar.
Ozempic also helps reduce the production of glucagon in the liver, which additionally lowers blood sugar levels.
What it does
Ozempic is used to control high blood sugar in diabetic clients (glycemic control) and to prevent clot formation that could lead to life-threatening events (stroke, heart attack, embolism). Ozempic can also be used off-label to help promote weight loss, in some cases, due to delayed gastric emptying caused by the drug.
- Ozempic is also only injected once per week and is typically self-injected by the diabetic client, providing more autonomy.
- The actual dosage of semaglutide in Ozempic is lower than Trulicity, which could make the medication cheaper and less invasive.
- Ozempic seems to have less side effects than Trulicity, which can make the medication more comfortable and pleasant for use.
- Ozempic also still requires a needle stick so people who are afraid of needles might need to build their tolerance and courage.
- Currently, studies on whether Ozempic leads to weight loss are limited so the medication has less documented evidence of weight loss than Trulicity.
- Adverse effects of Ozempic drug interactions can be more severe than Trulicity drug interactions.
Common side effects of Ozempic: