If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been prescribed Trulicity® or are on the verge of taking it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration aproved the drug to treat type 2 diabetes in 2014, and it can also help those with overweight and obesity.
The fact that it’s been around for almost 10 years is a major plus. That time has allowed for lots of research on the drug and provided the opportunity to to see what foods it does and doesn’t work best with.
And with that being said, here’s the good news: There are no specific foods you need to avoid while taking Trulicity. However, you should follow some guidelines to ensure it works in your body and minimize any potential not-so-fun side effects.
Here’s what we know so you can be the most prepared when taking Trulicity.
Trulicity is the brand name for dulaglutide, a once-weekly subcutaneous (under-the-skin) injection. Dulaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that works by mimicking the GLP-1 incretin hormone your body already makes. By mimicking the hormone, the GLP-1 helps to support your pancreas in telling it how much insulin to release, lowers blood glucose levels, and slows digestion—also called gastric emptying.
Dulaglutide promotes weight loss by helping you feel fuller longer and regulating your appetite. It’s also FDA-approved to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, like death, heart attacks, and stroke, for adults with type 2 diabetes who have heart disease. In addition, it’s not meant to treat those with type 1 diabetes.
While you don't need to avoid any specific foods while taking Trulicity, some recommendations can help curb any side effects you may have while taking Trulicity. On top of that, dulaglutide works to lower your blood sugar levels, so you may want to eat or drink less of the foods or drinks that may hinder it from performing its best in your body.
Here’s the list:
Alcohol lowers your blood sugar levels when you drink—whether it’s hard liquor, wine, or beer, they all lower it. According to the American Diabetes Association, when you drink, your liver “will choose to metabolize the alcohol over maintaining your blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia.” Since Trulicity also works to lower your blood sugar levels, drinking alcohol while on the drug may reduce blood sugar levels even further, leading to hypoglycemia and symptoms of dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting.
In addition, one of the serious side effects patients can experience when taking Trulicity is pancreatitis—swelling of the pancreas—and alcohol has been shown to lead to pancreatitis too. If you’re drinking alcohol while taking Trulicity, your risk of pancreatitis may be exacerbated.
Foods that cause a spike in blood sugar make it tougher to control your diabetes with dulaglutide. Trulicity is working to lower blood sugar levels, but eating simple carbohydrates (or refined grains) like white flour, white bread, white rice, or corn grits can make it harder for the drug to do its job.
Refined grains go through a process called milling, removing many of the nutrients your body needs, like dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Instead, try eating foods that haven’t been refined, such as brown rice or quinoa, oatmeal or whole grain bread and cereals.
Fast foods, ice cream, and milkshakes, and similar foods are high in saturated fat that may sit in your stomach and delay digestion. When combined with GLP-1 receptor agonists like Trulicity, you may be more likely to experience symptoms of slow stomach emptying, like bloating, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, and other gastrointestinal issues. Opt for healthy fats to minimize these side effects.
Trulicity is a non-insulin prescription, and because of that, it can be taken with insulin. But, your health care provider or doctor will need to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels to ensure they don’t dip too low and lead to hypoglycemia.
Currently, there are only two drug interactions with Trulicity. The first is for oral medications. It’s important to let your doctor know if you’re taking any other supplements, vitamins, or drugs because they may be absorbed into your body at a reduced level while taking Trulicity.
The second is with any insulin secretagogue or insulin because when taken with Trulicity, there may be an increased risk of hypoglycemia. Of course, any existing or new medications you’re prescribed, as well as medical conditions, should also be discussed with your health care provider.
What are the common side effects of Trulicity?
GLP-1s, including Trulicity, have some side effects. Still, most patients report these subside pretty quickly after starting the medication. Part of taking any medication is preparing for possible side effects. Here are the common side effects you may experience:
Although rare, there are more severe side effects to be aware of. These include:
risk of thyroid c-cell tumors (thyroid cancer)
acute kidney injury
severe gastrointestinal disease
diabetic retinopathy complications
acute gallbladder disease
severe allergic reactions
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t take Trulicity if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
If you use Trulicity, there are ways of making side effects more bearable. Of course, talk to your health care professional about any negative side effects and if they become too much to handle. Eli Lilly recommends the following tips and tricks to help cope with any that might happen:
Eat smaller meals.
Try splitting your three daily meals into four or more smaller ones.
Stop eating when you feel full.
Avoid fat or fatty foods.
Try eating bland foods like toast, crackers, or rice.
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Access to GLP-1s prescriptions is now available as part of Found's weight-loss program. 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 medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate or affordable for you, Found providers can help determine if another effective medication is.
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.