Dulaglutide Joins War Against Diabetes

In September, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the fourth drug in the GLP-1 analogue class: dulaglutide. The granddaddy in the class is exenatide (Byetta). The new GLP-1 receptor agonist will be sold in the U.S. under the name of Trulicity. It’s a once-weekly injection.

This is only a summary and is liable to change. Get full information from your prescribing healthcare provider and pharmacist.

Even walking helps with blood sugar control

Even walking helps with blood sugar control


For adults with type 2 diabetes, in conjunction with diet and exercise. It’s not a first-line drug. It can be used by itself or in combination with metformin, pioglitazone, glimiperide (and presumably other sulfonylureas), and insulin lispro (e.g., Humalog, a rapid-acting insulin). The drug has not been tried with basal (long-acting) insulins.


Start with 0.75 mg subcutaneously every week. Can go up to 1.5 mg weekly if needed.

Adverse Effects

Hypoglycemia is rare, but possible, when GLP-1 analogues are used as the sole diabetes drug. When it happens, it’s rarely severe. But the risk increases substantially when dulaglutide is used along with insulin or insulin secretagogues such as sulfonylureas or meglitinides.

Common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, dyspepsia, and fatigue.

It might cause thyroid tumors and pancreatitis.

Do Not Use If…

…you have a family or personal history of medullary thyroid cancer, or if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 or pre-existing severe gastrointestinal disease. Those who are pregnant or nursing babies should probably not take it since we have no data on safety. Don’t use for diabetic ketoacidosis.

Use only with caution if you have a history of pancreatitis or known liver impairment.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click for full prescribing information.


Filed under Drugs for Diabetes

2 responses to “Dulaglutide Joins War Against Diabetes

  1. Why’re you pushing this crap? A lowcarb diet renders it irrelevant …

  2. Steve Parker, M.D.

    Hi, Jonathan.
    I think I’m picking up a whiff of sarcasm.
    For type 2 diabetes, a low-carb diet and exercise are my preferred initial approaches in most cases. Unfortunately, they don’t always work to control the condition adequately. That’s when drugs come into play. I’ve not rendered any opinion as to where this particular drug fits in, because we don’t have enough evidence to guide us. I will go out on a limb and say that if I were going to take a GLP-1 analogue, I’d rather take one injection weekly than twice a day.