Trulicity vs Victoza: Which is best to help you lose weight?

Trulicity vs Victoza: Which is best to help you lose weight?

Victoza and Trulicity are GLP-1 medications that not only treat type-2 diabetes but have also shown great results in weight loss. Which one is better for you? Find out here.

The Found Team
March 16, 2023
5 min read
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The drugs Trulicity® and Victoza® may ring a bell if you or someone you know has type 2 diabetes or is on a weight-management journey. If you’re considering weight loss medication, there are a number of available options. Being well-informed about the differences between them will give you an advantage. The most important thing to know is that a medication that works for someone else may not work for you. It helps to understand how your unique biology–your experience with weight loss, medical history, and lifestyle–guides obesity medicine specialists in recommending a medication that will work for you. 

Keep in mind that, as you’re exploring choices for weight care, working with an obesity medicine expert to tailor a treatment plan is the best way to set yourself up for success. 

What kind of drugs are Trulicity and Victoza?

Trulicity and Victoza are injectable prescription medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating type 2 diabetes. They belong to the GLP-1 agonist drug class and are prescribed off-label for treating overweight and obesity.

Trulicity and Victoza are also medications Found’s affiliated clinicians prescribe. 

What is Found, and how can Found help with weight loss?

Found is a 100-percent online, evidence-supported weight-care program that prescribes medication to people who are eligible. For convenience, many prescriptions can be delivered straight to your door. The Found program doesn’t use the traditional “calories in, calories out” approach. Instead, Found is a comprehensive, evidence-based program that combines biology, behavioral, and social factors to help members lose weight. 

Eligible Found members can get personalized prescriptions for medication, access to clinicians and health coaches, a supportive community, and an in-app behavior change program to track and celebrate healthy habits. Our science-backed and sustainable weight care is all delivered conveniently in the palm of your hand. 

So, if you’re curious about Victoza or Trulicity, you might wonder if either one is right for you, if one is more effective, and how they compare. We’ve gathered information to give you the facts about both medications. Let’s explore Trulicity vs Victoza and if they can help you.

What is Trulicity?

Trulicity is the brand name for dulaglutide, a medication manufactured by the U.S. drug company Eli Lilly to treat type 2 diabetes. You may also be familiar with another Lilly diabetes drug, Mounjaro® (tirzepatide), which the FDA approved in 2022. (Mounjaro’s also made the news because of its ability to promote weight loss.) Of the two drugs, Trulicity’s been around longer. The FDA approved Trulicity to treat type 2 diabetes in adults in September 2014.

Dulaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Like other medications in its drug class, it mimics the GLP-1 incretin hormone your body naturally produces that helps control appetite and lower blood glucose levels after you eat. Dulaglutide mimics GLP-1, helping tamp down appetite and reduce blood sugar levels, and studies show that it also lowers the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in adults with type 2 diabetes.

What is Victoza?

Like Trulicity, Victoza is part of the GLP-1 agonist drug class used to treat type 2 diabetes and works in your body to help lower blood sugar levels. Victoza’s active ingredient is liraglutide, and the Danish drug company Novo Nordisk manufactures it. Novo Nordisk also makes the well-known type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic® (semaglutide). The FDA approved Victoza in 2010 for treating adults with type 2 diabetes. Nine years later, the FDA approved liraglutide to treat type 2 diabetes in children and teens ages 10 to 17.

In addition to helping manage blood sugar levels, liraglutide aids in slowing digestion (gastric emptying). It also prevents the liver from making too much glucose and helps the pancreas produce more insulin when blood sugar levels are high. 

It’s worth knowing that liraglutide is the same active ingredient in Saxenda®, the FDA-approved weight-loss drug. But Saxenda comes in higher doses than its sister diabetes drug Victoza. 

And, as a heads up, Victoza and Trulicity are not intended to treat those with type 1 diabetes.

Trulicity vs Victoza: Can they help with weight loss?

The short answer: Yes. In clinical trials, both diabetes medications caused meaningful weight loss among participating patients. Here are some of the results: 

Weight loss with Trulicity

Weight loss is a side effect of Trulicity, and research shows it helps people with type 2 diabetes lose weight. In 2021, the journal Diabetes Care published the results of a clinical trial on 1,842 patients with type 2 diabetes and an average body mass index (BMI) of 34 who had tried the first-line diabetes drug metformin. The participants randomly received once-weekly dulaglutide doses of either 1.5 mg, 3.0 mg, or 4.5 mg for 52 weeks. 

The trial revealed that the 4.5 mg dose of dulaglutide (Trulicity) was the most effective for weight management, with an average weight loss of about 10 pounds after 36 weeks. 

Weight loss with Victoza

Even though Victoza is not FDA-approved for weight management, research shows it’s effective for weight loss when combined with behavior changes. A critical review of five liraglutide studies published in Obesity Science & Practice in 2017 saw significant results in one clinical trial performed in eight European countries on patients with BMIs between 30 and 40. 

The trial compared 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg, or 3.0 mg once-daily subcutaneous injections of liraglutide, once-daily placebo injections, or a 120 mg oral dose of orlistat three times a day. Participants also received counseling on lifestyle changes, including a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity during treatment.  

After 20 weeks, those who received liraglutide lost significantly more weight. Even those who took the lowest dose of liraglutide, 1.2 mg, lost almost twice the weight as the placebo group (an average of about 11 pounds versus about 6 pounds). 

Victoza vs. Trulicity: Side effects

Like with any medication, side effects can occur while taking Victoza or Trulicity. It’s important to tell your health care provider if you experience any issues when taking a new medication and ask for their medical advice. Detailed side effects and risk information for specific GLP-1 medications are here.

The most common side effects for Victoza and Trulicity are similar: nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. However, a few of their other side effects differ. Be on the lookout if you experience any of the following:

Trulicity side effects

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue

Serious side effect warnings: risk of thyroid c-cell tumors, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), hypoglycemia, hypersensitivity reactions, diabetic retinopathy complications, and acute gallbladder disease.

Victoza side effects

  • Constipation
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Headaches
  • Back pain

Serious side effect warnings: possible thyroid tumors (including cancer), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), kidney problems, severe allergic reactions, and gallbladder problems.

Victoza and Trulicity aren’t recommended for those who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, so speak to your health care provider before starting either drug.

Do not use Victoza or Trulicity if you or anyone in your family has ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or if you’ve had multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Side effects of other medications You may also want to know the side effects and risks of some other medications used for weight loss. Like Victoza and Trulicity, Saxenda is also a GLP-1 agonist. Mounjaro is a GLP-1/GIP (glucose-dependent inhibitory polypeptide) dual agonist. GLP-1 and GLP-1/GIP drugs have known potential side effects. The most common are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and acid reflux. More serious but less common side effects include pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, and worsening diabetic eye disease. Those with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasias should not use them. Find detailed side effects and risk information for specific medications here

Orlistat is in a different class of medications. It works by preventing your body from absorbing about 25% of the fat in the food you eat. The most common side effects are diarrhea, oily stools, stomach discomfort, gas, and increased bowel movements that are hard to control. Other side effects include loss of appetite, dizziness, skin rash, back pain, chills, runny nose, and irritability. Once your body adjusts to the medication, these symptoms may go away. Don’t take orlistat if you’ve had an organ transplant, are not overweight, or have problems absorbing food. You should also not take orlistat if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Find more information about side effects and risk information for orlistat here

How do I take Victoza and Trulicity?

Dulaglutide and liraglutide are subcutaneous (under-the-skin) injections you administer at home. However, Trulicity is a weekly medication, while Victoza is daily. You can inject either prescription drug into your upper arm, upper thigh, or abdomen. 

Trulicity vs Victoza: Dosing schedule

Your health care provider will share prescribing information and decide the dosing that’s just right for you. But here’s the manufacturer’s suggested dosing schedule:

Trulicity dosing schedule

The recommended starting dose for Trulicity is 0.75 mg subcutaneously once weekly. After four weeks, your health care provider can increase the dose to 1.5 mg for additional glycemic control. Then, if you tolerate it well, your health care provider can increase your dose by 1.5 mg every four weeks until you reach the maximum dose of 4.5 mg weekly.

Victoza dosing schedule

Keep in mind that Victoza is a daily medication. The recommended starting dose is 0.6 mg daily for at least one week, 1.2 mg a day for at least one week, and 1.8 mg for further glycemic control. The 1.8 mg Victoza dose is the highest your health care provider will typically prescribe.

Do Victoza and Trulicity cost the same?

Victoza’s pricing varies by insurance coverage. You can check the Novo Nordisk website to get copay estimates. Your copay may be anywhere from $30 to $55 per fill (a 30-day supply) when prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Before getting a prescription for Victoza, check with your insurance provider to see if it's covered and how much you’ll pay out of pocket. The good news is that research suggests many insurance companies will cover most of Victoza’s cost when prescribed for its approved use.

Trulicity's list price is $930.88 monthly, per Eli Lilly, but your cost will depend on your insurance. “About 92% of Trulicity prescriptions cost between $0 and $30 per month, and the remaining cost an average of $239 per month,” according to Lilly’s pricing information. Check with your insurance company about coverage.

Can you take Trulicity and Victoza at the same time?

Because Trulicity and Victoza are GLP-1s, you should not take them together because your risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and other side effects will be much higher.

But, if you try Trulicity and find it’s not a fit, your health care professional may suggest trying Victoza to see if it works better for you.

Inform your doctor about any other supplements or over-the-counter medications you’re on to avoid adverse drug interactions when on Trulicity or Victoza.

The verdict: Is Trulicity or Victoza more effective?

Both medications have very similar efficacy, so determining a winner in a Trulicity vs Victoza matchup will depend on what works best for you. You may try one and find that it’s not working, so you can try the other and see if it works better for you. 

On the other hand, it may be more appealing to have a once-weekly injection instead of a daily one. You and your Found-affiliated provider will decide the best medication for you during your consultation and help you find what works for you during your weight loss journey.

GLP-1*

GLP-1 prescriptions, filled through your local pharmacy, are now available as part of Found's weight-loss toolkit. While GLP-1s are effective for weight loss, they are not clinically appropriate for everyone. Eligibility for a GLP-1 is based on a thorough evaluation of your medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate for you, our providers will work with you to determine an effective medication for your health profile.

About Found

Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.

Published date:
March 16, 2023
Meet the author
The Found Team
The Found Team

Sources

  • Eli Lilly and Company. 18 Sept 2014. FDA Approves Trulicity™ (dulaglutide), Lilly's Once-Weekly Therapy for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. Lilly Press Release. https://investor.lilly.com/static-files/92d98c27-c673-4c44-9507-3510afc15b97
  • Eli Lilly and Company. Dec 2022. Trulicity Cost Information. https://www.lillypricinginfo.com/trulicity
  • Juan P. Frias, Enzo Bonora, Luis Nevarez Ruiz, Ying G. Li, Zhuoxin Yu, Zvonko Milicevic, Raleigh Malik, M. Angelyn Bethel, David A. Cox; Efficacy and Safety of Dulaglutide 3.0 mg and 4.5 mg Versus Dulaglutide 1.5 mg in Metformin-Treated Patients With Type 2 Diabetes in a Randomized Controlled Trial (AWARD-11). Diabetes Care 1 March 2021; 44 (3): 765–773. https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article/44/3/765/138650
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5358074/#!po=14.7059
  • Mehta, A., Marso, S. P., & Neeland, I. J. (2017). Liraglutide for weight management: a critical review of the evidence. Obesity science & practice, 3(1), 3–14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5358074/#!po=14.7059
  • Novo Nordisk. Aug 2022. Dosing and administering Victoza. NovoMedLink. https://www.novomedlink.com/diabetes/products/treatments/victoza/dosing-administration.html
  • Novo Nordisk. Aug 2022. Coverage for Victoza. NovoMedLink. https://www.novomedlink.com/diabetes/products/treatments/victoza/cost-coverage.html
  • Trulicity. July 2022. Trulicity and cardiovascular. https://www.trulicity.com/hcp/efficacy-weight/cardiovascular-disease
  • Trulicity. July 2022. Side Effects of Trulicity. https://www.trulicity.com/how-to-use/side-effects
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 17 June 2019. FDA approves new treatment for pediatric patients with type 2 diabetes. FDA News Release. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-treatment-pediatric-patients-type-2-diabetes
  • Victoza. Dec 2022. Possible Side Effects | Victoza. https://www.victoza.com/faq/Possible-side-effects.html
  • Trulicity. July 2022. Getting Patients Started. https://www.trulicity.com/hcp/getting-patients-started.
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