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Trulicity® vs. Ozempic®: What's the Difference?

Medically reviewed on June 14, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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When it comes to treating Type 2 diabetes, two drugs that can help people manage their insulin production and regulate their blood sugar are Ozempic® and Trulicity®. [1,2] However, these drugs can also be used for weight loss purposes.

So, what’s the difference between Trulicity® and Ozempic® for weight loss?

In this guide on Trulicity® vs. Ozempic® for weight loss, we’ll break down how each drug works, compare their intended uses and side effects, and explore their effectiveness in terms of weight loss.

What Is Trulicity®?

Trulicity® is a medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes through its active ingredient—a compound known as dulaglutide. 3] Dulaglutide is part of a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. [4]

GLP-1 agonists mimic hormones within the body that attach to the body’s GLP-1 receptors during the process of insulin production. However, people with Type 2 diabetes can develop insulin resistance, a condition that impacts insulin production and blood sugar regulation. This is where GLP-1 agonists come into play.

To better understand the role of GLP-1 drugs, let’s talk about how insulin production and blood sugar regulation work for individuals who don’t have Type 2 diabetes [5]:

  • After you eat, your body breaks your food down into sugars, causing your blood sugar level to rise.
  • When your blood sugar rises, hormones attach to GLP-1 receptors, signaling the pancreas to produce insulin, which allows your body to absorb blood sugars for fuel.
  • As your body continues to make insulin, your blood sugar steadily decreases.

However, insulin resistance prevents people with Type 2 diabetes from absorbing blood sugars for fuel. This means their blood sugar levels stay high. [5] Fortunately, GLP-1 agonist drugs, like dulaglutide, can solve this issue by attaching to GLP-1 receptors to [4]:

  1. Produce feelings of fullness
  2. Tell the pancreas to produce additional insulin

This second effect can increase cellular sugar absorption and, as a result, lower blood sugar. But it’s the first effect that can impact weight loss—by simulating feelings of fullness, Trulicity® can make it easier for people with Type 2 diabetes to eat less and, in turn, lose weight. [3]

Trulicity® Uses

Although Trulicity® can have an effect on weight loss, it’s only FDA-approved to help people with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis regulate insulin and blood sugar. It’s typically prescribed and used alongside dietary adjustments and an exercise regimen. [4]

If you’re looking for a pharmaceutical treatment for weight loss but aren’t diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you simply aren’t eligible for a Trulicity® prescription. It’s also important to note here that Trulicity® isn’t approved to treat Type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. [3]

Trulicity® Side Effects

In clinical trials, only about 5% of Trulicity® patients experienced side effects. [4] The most common included:

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

Some patients in clinical trials also experienced injection-site reactions.

If you’re worried about the potential side effects of Trulicity®, talk to your healthcare provider before you start taking the medication, and monitor your responses once you start treatment.

What Is Ozempic®?

Ozempic® is another GLP-1 agonist drug that can help people with Type 2 diabetes manage their insulin production and blood sugar levels. [2] However, rather than using dulaglutide, Ozempic® uses the active ingredient semaglutide. [7] Like dulaglutide, semalgutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor antagonist that [7]:

  • Mimics the hormones that attach to GLP-1 receptors
  • Produces feelings of fullness
  • Tells the pancreas to produce additional insulin

Despite the difference in active ingredient and overall chemical composition, Ozempic® and Trulicity® work in the same way to achieve the same purpose: regulation of blood sugar and insulin production.

They’re even taken in the same way: once-a-week, from pre-filled injection pens that are self-administered by patients. [1,2]

Ozempic® Uses

Similar to Trulicity®, Ozempic® is also not approved for type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis treatments. Rather, both Trulicity® and Ozempic® are designed to help people with type 2 diabetes produce insulin and manage their blood sugar levels.

However, when it comes to usage, there is a key difference between the two drugs: unlike Trulicity® (which is only prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes), Ozempic® is approved for two distinct patient groups [8]:

  1. People with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis who need support for insulin and blood sugar management
  2. People who are overweight with at least one weight-related health condition, like high blood pressure

This means that between Trulicity® and Ozempic®, only Ozempic® can be prescribed to individuals who don’t have type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic® Side Effects

Regarding the Ozempic® weight loss side effects, the medication is similar to Trulicity®. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of the former are [7]:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Many patients also report appetite changes, like [11]:

  • Reduced appetite and cravings
  • Changes in preferred foods/tastes
  • Reduced alcohol cravings

See related: Ozempic® Foods to Avoid

Trulicity® vs. Ozempic®: What’s the Difference?

As stated earlier, one of the main differences between Trulicity® and Ozempic® is their active ingredients: dulaglutide and semaglutide, respectively. However, both of these drugs mimic the hormone that attaches to GLP-1 receptors, using the same process to simulate feelings of fullness and cause the pancreas to increase insulin production.

While this process can lead to both blood sugar regulation and weight loss, you may still wonder, is one drug more effective?

Let’s explore more below.

Blood sugar Regulation

In a head-to-head clinical trial studying Type 2 diabetes patients, researchers used an A1C test (a test that measures average blood sugar levels over time), to compare the effectiveness of Ozempic® vs. Trulicity® on blood sugar regulation.

The results determined that Ozempic® (semaglutide) is slightly more effective than Trulicity® (dulaglutide) for blood sugar regulation. [11]

Weight Loss

When used for weight management, studies have found that Ozempic® (semaglutide) is more effective than Trulicity® (dulaglutide). In other words, people taking Ozempic® will likely lose more body weight than those taking Trulicity®. [11,12]

However, it’s important to note that neither drug may be effective for long-term weight loss. Anecdotal reports from people taking GLP-1 drugs indicate that rapid weight gain is one of the common side effects after treatment is complete. [13] Because both drugs are relatively new to the market, more research needs to be done on their long-term effects on weight loss.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean long-term weight loss isn’t possible with these medications. Rather, patients will simply have to continue to make healthy food choices and monitor their portion sizes after stopping either medication.

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

Frequently Asked Questions About Trulicity® vs. Ozempic®

If you’re curious about using either Trulicity® or Ozempic® for the management of your Type 2 diabetes, take a look below at some frequently asked questions and their answers. This information could help you choose the right medication for your unique needs.

Are Ozempic® and Trulicity® Approved for Weight Loss?

Although Ozempic® and Trulicity® are approved to treat Type 2 diabetes patients with high blood sugar and insulin regulation issues, only Ozempic® is approved as a treatment for obesity with weight-related health issues.

This means you need a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis to qualify for a Trulicity® prescription if you intend to use it for weight loss and don’t have a weight-related health condition. Otherwise, you need to have at least one diagnosed, weight-related health condition, which would make you eligible for an Ozempic® prescription.

It’s important to note here that your weight-related health condition must be caused by high body weight. [15] For example, a diagnosis of high cholesterol must be the direct result of being overweight. If the two conditions are only correlated, you may not qualify for an Ozempic® prescription.

The best way to know for sure whether or not you’re eligible for an Ozempic® prescription to treat a weight-related health condition through weight loss is by talking to your healthcare provider.

How are Trulicity® and Ozempic® Dosed and Given?

There are four dosage options for Trulicity®: [16]

  • 0.75 mg
  • 1.5 mg
  • 3 mg
  • 4.5 mg

Ozempic®, on the other hand, features three dosage options: [17]

  • 0.25 mg
  • 0.5 mg
  • 1 mg

Both drugs are self-administered via injection using a disposable, pre-filled injection pen. If you’re unsure how to inject yourself, you can ask your healthcare provider for tips.

Are Ozempic® and Trulicity® Covered by Insurance?

Every insurance policy is different, so it’s hard to say whether or not your Trulicity® or Ozempic® prescription will be covered. Some insurers may only cover some of the costs of a prescription, and only if you have a qualifying formal diagnosis. [18]

To learn whether or not your prescription will be covered (and how much), contact your insurance provider directly.

For Weight Loss Support That Meets Your Needs, Trust Everlywell

Understanding the differences between Trulicity® vs. Ozempic® for weight loss and management can help you make the most informed decisions about your health and well-being. And when you’re ready to start your weight loss journey, trust the compassionate healthcare professionals at Everlywell to continue to offer guidance, support, and advice every step of the way.

With our new online weight management program, you can connect with a licensed telehealth provider from the comfort of your own home. They’ll help you determine if a GLP-1 medication is right for your weight loss goals, prescribe the most effective treatment option, and provide one-on-one virtual care visits that fit seamlessly into your schedule. You’ll also have access to at-home lab tests and helpful lifestyle content to keep you informed and motivated on your journey to better health.

If you’re curious about GLP-1 prescriptions like Trulicity® and Ozempic® for weight loss purposes, reach out to the experts at Everlywell to learn more about your treatment options.

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  12. Lingvay I, Hansen T, Macura S, et al. Superior weight loss with once-weekly semaglutide versus other glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists is independent of gastrointestinal adverse events. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. October 28 2020;8(2):e001706. URL. Accessed June 13 2023.
  13. Constantino AK. People taking obesity drugs Ozempic® and Wegovy gain weight once they stop medication. CNBC. March 30, 2023. URL. Accessed June 13, 2023.
  14. Common misconceptions about cholesterol. May 4, 2023. URL. Accessed June 13, 2023.
  15. Highlights of Prescribing Information. US Food and Drug Administration. September 2020. URL. Accessed June 13 2023.
  16. Highlights of Prescribing Information. US Food and Drug Administration. December 2017. URL. Accessed June 13 2023.
  17. Prior Authorization/Notification: Diabetes Medications - GLP-1 Receptor Antagonists. Clinical Pharmacy Programs. 2022. URL. Accessed June 13, 2023.
  18. Does Medicare Cover Trulicity®? Medicare & Medicare Advantage Info, Help and Enrollment. May 17 2019. URL. Accessed June 13 2023.
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