For many people with type 2 diabetes, Trulicity, a once-a-week injectable drug developed by Eli Lilly, is a great option to help control blood sugar, improve HbA1c and even lose weight.
Figuring out the right dose of Trulicity for you will take some time, and this decision should be made under the guidance of your doctor. Various dosages are available depending on your health history, health goals and lifestyle.
This article explains everything you need to know about Trulicity dosage and how much to take.
What dose do you usually start with?
When you start taking Trulicity, your doctor will most likely want to start with a low dose until your body gets used to the drug. Starting with a low dose can help avoid or minimize unwanted side effects.
Trulicity can cause unwanted side effects that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and suppressed appetite – ranging from mild to debilitating.
According to the manufacturer’s website, the starting dose of Trulicity is 0.75mg administered once a week.
If additional blood sugar control is needed after four weeks and there are not too many side effects, the doctor may increase the dose to 1.5 mg once a week.
What is the normal dose of Trulicity?
While there is no “normal” dose, and each dose will vary from patient to patient, there is what is known as a “maintenance” dose.
This is when your body has gotten used to the drug long enough for you to know how effective it will be in controlling your blood sugar, as well as how many unwanted side effects are likely to occur, as well as their severity.
Most adult patients start on 0.75 mg once a week and increase to 1.5 mg after the first four weeks as a maintenance dose.
For children with type 2 diabetes, the starting dose of Trulicity is 0.75 mg once a week and the maximum maintenance dose is 1.5 mg once a week.
How and when can the dose be increased?
Increasing the dose can only be done under medical supervision. They will want you to take an initial dose of Trulicity for at least the first four weeks to monitor side effects and see how well you respond to treatment.
After the first four weeks, if you need extra blood sugar control, the dose can be doubled to 1.5mg.
If there are no unwanted side effects, but you need extra blood sugar control after another four weeks, your doctor may increase the dose to 3mg once a week. This only applies to adults as the maximum weekly dose for children is 1.5mg.
Finally, if after another four weeks you still need extra blood sugar control, your doctor may increase your weekly dose to 4.5mg given once a week.
What is the right dose for me?
Finding the right dose takes time, patience, and potentially some trial and error. This will depend on your health history, health goals, lifestyle, and how well your body can tolerate any unwanted side effects.
In general, higher doses of GLP-1 agonists such as Trulicity produce more results, such as lower blood sugar, weight loss, and better HbA1c, as well as a greater likelihood of side effects.
Keep this in mind when increasing doses and do so only under medical supervision.
What is the right dose for weight loss?
Trulicity is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, however many people who take the drug report losing weight.
Since Trulicity is not FDA approved for weight loss, there is no official recommended dosage to achieve weight loss.
Trulicity is most effective at improving blood sugar levels and helping with weight loss when combined with healthy eating and increased physical activity. If you’re concerned about your weight and want to take prescription medications for weight loss, talk to your doctor about trying an FDA-approved drug specifically for weight loss.
Note that you cannot take two GLP-1 agonists at the same time, so drugs such as Trulicity cannot be mixed with drugs such as Wegovy, which is a weight loss GLP-1 agonist drug.
There are other drugs that help with weight loss that can be taken at the same time as Trulicity, such as metformin.
You can learn more from our article Trulicity and Weight Loss: Can Trulicity Help You Lose Weight?
What happens if I stop taking Trulicity?
Never stop taking your diabetes medication without consulting your doctor first.
If you suddenly stop taking Trulicty, you may experience side effects such as increased hunger, lethargy, weight gain, greater insulin resistance and decreased insulin sensitivity, and higher blood sugar levels.
If you are experiencing debilitating side effects and are no longer able to perform your daily activities, your health insurance no longer covers your medication, or Trulicity no longer fits your lifestyle, talk to your doctor about exploring alternative treatments.
Are there different Trulicity pens?
Trulicity is available in four different pens, depending on the dose. They are all single-dose pens, so you get four pens for a monthly prescription.
They come in the following doses:
- 0.75 mg single-dose pen
- 1.5 mg single-dose pen
- 3 mg single-dose pen
- 4.5 mg single-dose pen
Having single-dose injectors is helpful because there is no chance of overdosing unless you accidentally take it twice a day or a week.
However, it also means there are no extra medications if your pen breaks or you lose it.
What is the strongest Trulicity?
All Trulicity pens contain the exact same active ingredient, dulaglutide, and the larger pens do not have a stronger formulation.
When people increase their dose of Trulicity, they simply increase the amount they take per week. Never take more Trulicity than prescribed by your doctor.
What is the maximum weekly dose?
The maximum weekly dose of Trulicity is 4.5 mg. You can change the day or time you take your dose if needed, as long as you haven’t taken your weekly dose in the last 72 hours.
If less than 72 hours have passed since your last dose, wait until the following week to select a new dosing day.
Never take two doses of Trulicity 3 days apart. This will make you more likely to experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting and low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can be fatal, especially if you are also taking insulin.
Monitor for signs and symptoms of extremely low blood sugar:
- Accelerated heart rate
- Shallow breathing
If you suspect you have overdosed on Trulicity, seek medical attention immediately.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Do not worry. Missing one weekly dose of the drug will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike or you will gain weight immediately.
If a dose is missed, but there are at least 3 days until the next scheduled dose, the missed dose can be taken without changing the dosing schedule too much.
If you have missed a weekly dose but it has been more than 3 days since you missed a dose, skip that week’s dose and just take your next dose on your regular schedule.
Never take two doses in 72 hours.
It can be hard to remember to take your weekly medication, and sometimes it’s even harder to remember if you’ve taken your medication at all.
Set an alarm or reminder on your phone to easily remember to take your medication weekly and on time.