Trulicity and Ozempic are brand-name medications that help adults manage type 2 diabetes. You’ve probably seen commercial ads for both, or your healthcare provider may have mentioned Trulicity or Ozempic as possible treatments to help manage type 2 diabetes. The drugs appear similar. If so, do you wonder which might better manage your disease? Let’s break it down.
Table Of Contents
- What Are Trulicity and Ozempic?
- How Do Trulicity and Ozempic Compare?
- The dosages prescribed for each drug vary:
- Comparing Glucose Control
- How Ozempic and Trulicity Work to Lower Blood Sugar
- Comparing Body Weight Loss & Reduced Risk for CV Events
- Comparing Side-effects
- Possible Drug Interactions
- Comparison of Trulicity and Ozempic for the treatment of type 2 diabetes
- What is Best for You?
What Are Trulicity and Ozempic?
Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) are both classified in a group of medications called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) receptor agonists, and both are FDA approved. Trulicity is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company, while Ozempic is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. Neither contains insulin, but—like insulin—they are taken by injection. Unlike insulin, the medications are useful for managing other complications arising from type 2 diabetes.
How Do Trulicity and Ozempic Compare?
Adults with type 2 diabetes are often at risk for
- high blood glucose levels,
- cardiovascular (CV) disease, and
- problems maintaining a healthy weight
Taking a GLP-1 receptor agonist may help lower CV risks, and also tends to lower blood sugar levels and body weight.
Moreover, both medications are marketed with weight loss in mind, particularly when a patient follows a regimen that includes exercise and a healthy diet. The makers of Trulicity, for example, state that the product begins working with a patient’s first dose—motivation for users wanting to experience weight loss.
The dosages prescribed for each drug vary:
Ozempic pens are prescribed in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, and 1 mg doses. Trulicity pens are prescribed in 0.75 mg, 1.5 mg, 3 mg, and 4.5 mg doses.
Ozempic, though typically taken in smaller doses, cites that, “independent research has shown it to be more effective than Trulicity” in managing complications associated with type 2 diabetes. This appears to be true for improved glycaemic control, reduced risks for CV events, and improved weight loss.
Comparing Glucose Control
In an important study, the SUSTAIN 7 clinical trial, researchers found that in both low- and high-doses, Ozempic was deemed superior for controlling blood glucose levels, called glycaemic control.
How Ozempic and Trulicity Work to Lower Blood Sugar
When we eat and drink, the bodies of non-diabetics produce digestive hormones called incretins. GLP-1 is a natural incretin hormone that enhances insulin secretion while it also slows glucose release in the bodies of both non-diabetics and in some patients with type 2 diabetes. The GLP-1 hormones in Ozempic and Trulicity work to lower blood glucose levels by
- Stimulating the body to produce more insulin
- Preventing the release of glucagon (sugars)
- Slowing down how quickly the body digests food
Incretin hormones help us digest food, and they’re naturally more active when we eat or drink, and less active when we don’t. By stimulating the body’s receptors, GLP-1 hormones in Ozempic and Trulicity cause the body to release more insulin and less glucagon. This makes the body digest food more slowly.
Ozempic & Trulicity typically work for those with type 2 diabetes (that’s approximately 90-95% of people with diabetes) because their bodies tend to produce insulin; the insulin just needs help doing its job.
Comparing Body Weight Loss & Reduced Risk for CV Events
Both Trulicity and Ozempic can lead to weight loss. In an ongoing STEP-2 study, researchers found that Ozempic helped participants lose about 10% of their body weight after 68 weeks (approximately 17 months). As mentioned, Trulicity vs Ozempic were also tested head-to-head in the Sustain study. Overall body weight loss at low and high doses found Ozempic to be superior to Trulicity for reduced body weight.
Risks for cardiovascular events are also lowered by taking either medication. Trulicity was found to provide a 12% risk reduction compared to Ozempic’s 26% risk reduction, making Ozempic superior in reducing CV events.
Trulicity and Ozempic may produce both common and uncommon side effects. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal:
- Nausea Constipation
- Vomiting Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea Indigestion
- Heartburn Burping
Ozempic is associated with less common side effects than Trulicity; uncommon side effects tend to be more serious in nature than those listed above. Uncommon side effects occur rarely, but they can occur. Therefore it’s recommended that patients speak with their healthcare provider before starting either GLP-1 medication.
For individuals who are or might become pregnant, the effects of GLP-1 receptor medications on fetuses are unknown, therefore, patients should discuss details about a possible pregnancy with their healthcare provider.
Possible Drug Interactions
There may be drug interactions to watch for when taking Ozempic or Trulicity. These include:
- Any medications are taken orally to reduce the risk of blood clots (oral anticoagulants) like Warfarin
- Insulin – Ozempic and Trulicity can be used along with insulin, but your doctor may need to change your insulin dosage and/or how often you use insulin
- Any other medications are taken to treat type 2 diabetes such as sulfonylureas
Comparison of Trulicity and Ozempic for the treatment of type 2 diabetes
|Trulicity (Dulaglutide)||Ozempic (Semaglutide)|
|Purchase Contents||4 Single-dose pens with attached needles||1 or 2 multi-dose injection pens with attachable needles|
|Used to Treat||Blood sugar levels and weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet|
Reduce the risk of major cardiovascular problems (like heart attack and stroke) in adults with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors
|Blood sugar levels and weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet|
Reduce the risk of major cardiovascular problems (like heart attack and stroke) in adults with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
|Dosage Instructions||Inject once each week||Inject once each week|
|Common Side Effects||Belly pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, fatigue, malaise, bloating, belching, and gastroesophageal reflux disease||Belly pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation|
|Possible Interactions||Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), slowed absorption of certain oral medications, |
risk if taking other diabetes medications
|Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), |
slowed absorption of certain oral medications, risk if taking other diabetes medications
Note: The American Diabetes Association (ADA) also recommends that adults with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease take a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist, such as Ozempic or Trulicity.
What is Best for You?
Ozempic appears to offer greater benefits and less uncommon side effects. Sure, it’s smart for patients to learn about the health benefits and risks associated with taking GLP-1 medications, but when making a decision, it is best to speak with your healthcare provider. With a trusted doctor by your side, you can be certain that you are making the best decision for your short- and long-term health needs.
- A snapshot: Diabetes in the United States. Retrieved August 1, 2022, at cdc.gov
- Ozempic vs Trulicity: Drug facts and comparison. NiceRx. Retrieved July 31, 2022, at nicerx.com
- NIH: U.S. National Library of Medicine. A research study investigating how well semaglutide works in people with type 2 diabetes suffering from overweight or obesity (Step 2). Retrieved August 1, 2022, at ClinicalTrials.gov
Semaglutide versus dulaglutide once weekly in patients with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN 7): a randomized, open-label, phase 3b trial. April 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2022, at pubmed.ncbi.nim.nih.gov