When starting any new diabetes medicine, it is important to know the pros and cons of the therapy.
This includes any side effects and reactions you may experience, and what you can and cannot eat while taking the medicine.
In this article, we’ll go over the foods to avoid when starting Trulicity and everything you need to know about this diabetes medication.
What is Trulicity?
Trulicity is the brand name for Dulaglutide, which is an injection taken once a week to treat type 2 diabetes (and sometimes for off-label use in people with type 1 diabetes who struggle with insulin resistance).
When combined with diet and exercise, it helps you manage high blood sugar better and can improve your HbA1c by 0.8-1.6%!
It is also approved in the United States for adults with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular (heart) disease to reduce the risk of a heart attack. It also reduces all-cause mortality in people with diabetes.
While it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, it is a common side effect for people taking Trulicity, who typically lose 2 to 7 pounds while taking the drug.
Trulicity is not insulin. It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist or GLP-1 agonist and was first approved for use in the United States in 2014. It can be taken in combination with insulin.
More than 5 million prescriptions for this drug are written annually.
How does Trulicity work?
Trulicity lowers blood sugar by attaching itself to specific receptors on cells in the pancreas, telling the pancreas to release more insulin than it currently does (if you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes). It naturally lowers blood sugar levels.
Trulicity also slows down digestion, helping to prevent blood sugar from rising after eating. Trulicity also blocks the release of glucagon from the liver, further lowering blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.
By lowering blood sugar over the long term, Trulicity also reduces the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Foods to avoid while taking Trulicity
While Trulicity has not been contraindicated for any particular food, there are some helpful tips to make taking Trulicity more enjoyable.
Trulicity can be taken with or without food, so if you are prone to nausea, you can take Trulicity on an empty stomach.
It is recommended to eat smaller meals more often, rather than larger meals spread out throughout the day. It is recommended to eat slowly to prevent nausea. And stick to light and bland foods (especially at the beginning of Trulicity).
Because Trulicity can slow down digestion, it’s best to avoid fried or fatty foods and foods high in sugar while taking this medicine. These types of foods are some of the hardest for the body to digest and may increase nausea when taking GLP-1.
When first starting Trulicity, stick to clear liquids for drinks and avoid dairy and full-fat drinks (like milkshakes). This may reduce the likelihood of vomiting and nausea.
You may want to be more careful about your alcohol intake while taking Trulicity, especially if you are also taking insulin.
Both alcohol and Trulicity cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and your risk of developing low blood sugar increases significantly, especially the first time you start Trulicity. Before consuming alcohol, it is worth finding out how the body reacts to Trulicity.
If you experience nausea after eating Trulicity, replace your next meal with toast, banana or applesauce rice and contact your doctor.
Your doctor may be able to modify and reduce your dose of Trulicity until your body has had time to adjust.
What foods should I eat on Trulicity?
Since Trulicity helps improve blood sugar and HbA1c, it’s best to eat a healthy diet full of lean protein, healthy fiber, and plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to support your health as a person with diabetes.
If you are taking Trulicity to improve insulin sensitivity or lose weight, you should also include the following foods:
- Plenty of vegetables, including leafy and root vegetables
- Fruit, especially low-carb vegetables like blueberries, avocados, and coconut
- Legumes and all types of beans
- Lean proteins such as chicken, beef, turkey, and low-fat dairy (milk and yogurt)
- Unsweetened beverages such as coffee, tea and plenty of water (especially to avoid dehydration if diarrhea or vomiting occurs while taking the medicine)
Remember, start slow and start with more mild foods like toast, crackers, soup, rice or bananas if you experience unpleasant side effects as a result of Trulicity.
Work with your doctor to create a healthy meal plan that works for you, or work with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to create a meal plan to help you reach your goals.
What are the side effects of Trulicity?
People taking Trulicity may experience several unpleasant side effects, especially at the beginning of taking the drug. These side effects include:
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Injection site reactions such as bruising, redness, swelling or pain
- Weight loss
- Low blood sugar (combined with insulin)
Several serious side effects have been reported, including acute pancreatitis, severe allergic reactions, kidney dysfunction, and (although rare) medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).
If you have a family history of MTC or multiple endocrine tumours, Trulicity should not be used.
The FDA issued a black box warning to the public regarding taking Trulicity and its ability to increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
Before trying Trulicity, talk to your doctor if you suffer from gastroparesis, existing retinopathy, or chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Trulicity, also known as dulaglutide, is a relatively new diabetes drug that was first approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 2014.
It is a GLP-1 receptor antagonist medicine (given by injection once a week) used in people with type 2 diabetes to help them better control their blood sugar levels.
It can also be used by people with type 1 diabetes who struggle with insulin resistance and people with diabetes who want to lose weight.
It is not insulin and can be used in combination with insulin, although this increases the risk of hypoglycemia.
Common side effects of Trulicity include nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, indigestion, abdominal pain, and fatigue. In rare cases, people may experience acute pancreatitis, kidney problems or a severe allergic reaction.
The drug increases the risk of thyroid cancer and you should not use Trulicity if you have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).
Trulicity can be taken with or without food. While taking Trulicity, be careful with your alcohol intake, avoid fried and fatty foods, avoid heavy meals, and start slowly.
If you experience nausea and/or vomiting during your normal diet, contact your doctor about changing your meal plan or modifying/reducing your Trulicity dose.
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