Trulicity - Glucagon Like Peptide 1 Agonist (GLP-1)

Another Non-Insulin Injectable to Hit the Diabetes Market

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As we continue to advance care in diabetes, companies are streamlining new products and new medications. Understanding all the products and developments can sometimes be a confusing task, but when in doubt, ask your Certified Diabetes Educator for help. 

We are now seeing a newly approved once weekly, non-insulin injectable medication being prescribed to persons with Type 2 diabetes. Similar to the once weekly injectable medication, Bydureon, Trulicity™ dulaglutide by Eli Lilly and Company is also a (GLP-1 glucagon like peptide 1) agonist that was approved by the FDA as of September 2014.

As with all medicines indicated for those patients with Type 2 diabetes, Trulicity™ is to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise. Trulicity™ is not meant as a first-line diabetes medication and is not insulin. It falls into the category of non-insulin injectable medicines and is of the GLP-1 (glucagon like peptide 1) agonist class of medications. GLP-1 medicines stimulate insulin secretion when it comes into contact with glucose. Studies have shown that GLP-1 agonsists can help preserve beta cell function (beta cells make insulin) and promote weight loss by delaying gastric emptying and increasing feelings of fullness. Other medicines that fall into the category include, Victoza (once daily injectable), Byetta (twice daily injectable), and Bydureon (once weekly injectable)

How is Trulicity Given? 

Trulicity™ is delivered via pen and is available in two doses prescribed as two different pens- one with a yellow label (0.75 mg) and the other with a blue label (1.5 mg).

Your healthcare provider will tell you which is right for you. Both pens deliver one single dose of medicine and do not require mixing or needle attachment. It is to be administered once weekly, at any time of day, independent of meals. Like other injectables, Trulicity™ should be injected into fatty tissue, aka, subcutaneous and can be given into the abdomen, outer thighs and backs of upper arm.

The starting dose is .75mg which can be increased to 1.5mg if you are not reaching your blood sugar goals. 

For a video on how to use Trulicity™ go here: https://www.trulicity.com/taking-diabetes-medicine.aspx

How is Trulicity Different From Other GLP-1 injectables?

Like Bydureon, this medication can be given once weekly independent of meals. It should be taken on the same day each week. The difference is the delivery device and action taken. Bydureon  must be mixed, whereas Trulicity™ does not have to be. Also Bydureon comes in a pen or kit form and the the needle must be attached, whereas Trulicity™ comes prepared with no needle attachment. Rather, the needle is hidden inside its attachment. The entire Trulicity™ pen should be disposed off in a sharps container. 

How Much Will This Medication Cost?

New medications tend to be more expensive than other types of medicines that have been on the market longer. Contact your insurance provider to see how much money the medicine will cost per month.

Often companies will offer discounts on these types of medicines too. Check here for discount cards: https://www.trulicity.com/diabetes-medication-savings-card-and-support.aspx

What Does the Research Say?

In clinical trials, A1c reduction with Trulicity™ .75 and 1.5 range from .7-1.6% when used alone or in combination with other diabetes medicines. Please note that Trulicity™ has not been studied in combination with basal insulin, such as Lantus and Levemir

Is This Medicine Meant for You: 

If you are someone with diabetes that has been on oral medicines and unable to control your diabetes or lose weight, than a GLP-1 agonist, like Trulicity™, might be indicated for you. Discuss it with your health care provider. Trulicity™ is not meant for people with any of the following history: 

  • An allergic reaction to dulaglutide or any of the other ingredients in Trulicity™
  • Type 1 diabetes 
  • Pancreatitis
  • Severe gastrointestinal (GI) disease
  • Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC)
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
  • Kidney or liver problems 

What are the Side Effects: 

All diabetes medicines have potential side effects. The most common side effects include: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and indigestion. 

For more information go to: https://www.trulicity.com/?WT.srch=1

Sources: 

Eli Lilly and Company. FDA Approves Trulicity™ (dulaglutide), Lilly's Once-Weekly Therapy for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. Accessed on-line. March 15, 2015: https://investor.lilly.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=871658

Eli Lilly and Company. Accessed on-line. March 15, 2015: https://www.trulicity.com/?WT.srch=1

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