The drugs Trulicity® and Victoza® may ring a bell if you or someone you know has type 2 diabetes or is on a weightt -management journey.
Trulicity and Victoza are injectable prescription meds approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat type 2 diabetes. They also belong to the GLP-1 drug class and are prescribed off-label for treating overweight and obesity.
So, if these prescription drugs are similar, you’re probably left wondering which is right for you, if one is more effective, and how they compare. Let’s explore Trulicity vs Victoza and how they can help you.
Trulicity is the brand name for the drug dulaglutide that U.S. drug company Eli Lilly manufactures. You may also be familiar with the other Lilly diabetes drug, Mounjaro® (tirzepatide), which the FDA approved in 2022. Mounjaro’s also been making media waves because of its ability to help support significant weight loss, but Trulicity’s been around longer. The FDA approved it in September 2014 for treating type 2 diabetes in adults.
Dulaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Like other drugs in its class, it can mimic the GLP-1 incretin hormone your body naturally produces that helps control appetite and lower blood glucose levels. Dulaglutide may also lower the risk of adverse cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Like Trulicity, Victoza is part of the GLP-1 drug class and works in your body to help lower blood sugar levels. However, liraglutide is its active, and Danish company Novo Nordisk manufactures it. Novo Nordisk also manufactures the well-known diabetes drug Ozempic® (semaglutide). The FDA approved Victoza in 2010 for treating adults with type 2 diabetes. In June 2019, 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 helps slow digestion (gastric emptying). It also prevents the liver from producing 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 the FDA-approved weight-loss drug, Saxenda®. But Saxenda has a higher dose than its sister diabetes drug Victoza.
And, as a head’s up, Victoza and Trulicity are not intended to treat those with type 1 diabetes.
The short answer: Yes. In clinical trials, both diabetes medications caused meaningful weight loss among participating patients. Here’s what we know:
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 received once-weekly Trulicity doses of 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, with an average weight loss of about 10 pounds after 36 weeks.
A critical review published in Obesity Science & Practice in 2017 saw significant results in a clinical trial performed in eight European countries on patients who had BMIs between 30 and 40. The study had participants inject a 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg, or 3.0 mg once-daily dose of liraglutide, a once-daily placebo injection, or a 120 mg oral dose of orlistat three times a day.
After 20 weeks, those who had taken 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 (about 11 pounds vs about 6 pounds).
The review also mentioned the patients in the trial were also instructed to make lifestyle changes, such as a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Like any med you take, side effects can occur. It’s important to tell your health care provider if you experience any when taking any new medications and ask for their medical advice.
Interestingly, the most common side effects for Victoza and Trulicity are similar: nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. But a few of their other side effects differ. Be on the lookout if you experience any of the following:
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.
Upper respiratory tract infection
Serious side effect warnings: pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), kidney problems, severe allergic reactions, and gallbladder problems.
And importantly, Victoza and Trulicity aren’t recommended for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so speak to your health care provider before starting.
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).
Liraglutide and dulaglutide are subcutaneous (under-the-skin) injections you administer at home. However, Trulicity is a weekly medication, while Victoza is daily. You can inject both meds into your upper arm, upper thigh, or abdomen.
Your health care provider will cover in detail all prescribing information and decide the dosing that’s just right for you. But here’s the suggested 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 tolerated, doses can increase by 1.5 mg every four weeks with a maximum dose of 4.5 mg weekly.
Keep in mind that Victoza is a daily medication. The recommended starting dose is 0.6 mg for at least one week, 1.2 mg 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 prescribe to you.
Victoza pricing varies by insurance coverage. You can check the Novo Nordisk website NovoCare.com to get estimates of your co-pay. It may be anywhere from $30 to $55 per fill (30-day supply) when prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Before being prescribed 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 research suggests most insurance companies cover most of Victoza’s cost when prescribed for its approved use.
On the other hand, Trulicity's price is $930.88 monthly, per Eli Lilly. “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. So, check with your insurance company about coverage, but there's a good chance your insurance will cover most of it.
No. Because Trulicity and Victoza are both 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 next to see if it works better for you.
Also, inform your doctor about any other supplements or over-the-counter meds you’re taking to avoid adverse drug interactions when on Trulicity or Victoza.
Both medications have very similar efficacy; it depends on what works best for you. You may try one and find that it’s not working, so you can switch to the other and see if it works better for you.
On the other hand, it may be more appealing to you to have a once-weekly injection instead of a once-daily one. You and your doctor will decide the best medication for you during your weight-loss journey and help you to find the most maintainable one.
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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.
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