Why does Trulicity Need to be Refrigerated & How to Travel with Trulicity pens?

Trulicity has proven its efficiency as a non-insulin treatment for high blood glucose levels and is now widely prescribed to type 2 diabetes patients in the USA and worldwide. But Dulaglutide, Trulicity's active ingredient, is highly sensitive to extreme temperatures and temperature changes. To stay effective, Trulicity requires strict storage and refrigeration conditions.

Let’s see exactly how to keep your Trulicity pens the most effective possible and how to safely travel with your medication and diabetes supplies. 

What exaclty is Trulicity?

Trulicity (Dulaglutide) is a liquid injectable medicine used in type 2 diabetes management. It helps control blood sugar levels by inhibiting the release of glucagon, slowing down the digestive process, and stimulating the pancreas natural production of insulin.

Dulaglutide is also believed to help with weight loss, although it’s not its first intent and it’s not FDA-approved for that purpose. Weight loss is more of a side effect  due to the loss of appetite Trulicity can cause.

It’s sold as a single-use injectable pen and it's taken once a week. There are two different dosages: 0,75mg and 1,5mg. It’s manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company Laboratories.

Trulicity is a medication that's only delivered with a medical prescription. It should be taken as a complement to a healthy, diabetes-friendly, and nutritionally balanced diet as well as regular physical exercise.

Is Trulicity insulin?

No. Trulicity is not insulin. Trulicity helps your body release the insulin it’s already capable of producing. Trulicity is only suitable for type 2 diabetes patients who still have functioning pancreatic cells to produce insulin. Trulicity is never prescribed in the treatment of type 1 diabetes where the body isn’t capable of producing insulin at all. 

Dulaglutide, Trulicity’s active ingredient, is a Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist. It belongs to the same class of drugs as Ozempic, Byetta, and Victoza. They stimulate the body’s natural production of insulin in type 2 diabetes management.

While insulin can be injected up to several times a day according to a strict dosing schedule put in place by a medical team, Trulicity is only taken once a week.

Trulicity vs Ozempic vs Victoza

Trulicity, Ozempic, and Victoza are Glucagon-like Peptides 1 (GLP-1)

Trulicity vs. Ozempic

Ozempic is another non-insulin injectable medication used for type 2 diabetes management. It’s manufactured by Novo Nordisk. Like Trulicity (Dulaglutide), Ozempic (Semaglutide), is a Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist. It’s also taken once a week by self-subcutaneous injection.

Both Trulicity and Ozempic are taken weekly, work similarly, and have similar effects, although Ozempic has been shown to have slightly better results lowering blood sugar levels. Prices are quite similar too. The average cost of an Ozempic pen is $899 while a pre-filled Trulicity pen should cost around $891.

Diabetes is a serious chronic disease. Only your medical team can advise what medicine is more suitable in your case.

Related: How to properly store and refrigerate Ozempic in all situations?

Trulicity V. Victoza

Victoza (Liraglutide) is another medicine used to help lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients. It belongs to the same class of drugs as Trulicity and Ozempic: it’s a Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist. It works pretty much the same by stimulating the release of insulin after meals.

The only big difference between Victoza and Trulicity is that Victoza is taken daily instead of weekly. Like Ozempic, Victoza is produced by Novo Nordisk Laboratories.

Diabetes is a serious chronic disease. Only your medical team can advise what medicine is more suitable in your personal case.

Related: How to travel & fly with your Victoza pen: tips & bits of advice!

Related: Victoza storage: what really happens if Victoza isn’t refrigerated? 

Trulicity Storage: Frequently Asked Questions!

Trulicity is a temperature-sensitive medicine that needs to be refrigerated when not in use and protected from the heat when in use. Here's a series of questions and answers about how to properly store your Trulicity injectable pens. 

What are Trulicity official storage instructions?

According to Eli Lilly and Company, Trulicity's drug manufacturer, here's how you should store your Trulicity pen:

Store your pen in the refrigerator, but do NOT freeze your pen. If you decide to travel with your Trulicity pens, you can keep them at room temperature (below 86°F, 30°C) for up to 14 days”.

How long is Trulicity good for?

If properly stored at fridge temperature (36°F to 46°F / 2°C to 8°C), Trulicity is good until its expiration date. Check the expiration date for each of your Trulicity pen on the carton box or on the pen itself. If the pen has expired, throw it away. Never use medicine that has expired.  

How long can Trulicity stay out of the fridge? 

Trulicity can stay out of the refrigerator for up to 14 days. During that time, it should still be protected from the heat and always stay cool below 86°F / 30°C. Your Trulicity pen shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight nor heat sources neither.

What happens if Trulicity is not refrigerated or gets warm?

If your Trulicity pen has been left unrefrigerated for more than 14 days, it’s not safe for use anymore. The drug manufacturer and laboratory tests guarantee it`s effectiveness up to 14 days at room temperature. After that time, it starts deteriorating and its effectiveness considerably lowers.

Never inject Trulicity if you suspect it has gone bad. Immediately dispose of it in a sharps container and get a new pen from the fridge.

Can Trulicity be injected cold?

Yes, you can inject cold Trulicity immediately taken out from the fridge. There are no medical contraindications. However, just like with any injectable medicine, cold increases the sting sensation and possible pain during the injection.

To avoid the pain, it’s recommended to let your Trulicity pen sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes after you take it out of the fridge and before you proceed to the injection. You can also place the injection pen between your hands to speed the process up. But never use a microwave, stove, nor boiling water. It would deteriorate your medicine.

What happens if Trulicity freezes?

Trulicity should never be frozen. Freezing temperatures break the molecule down and your medicine won't work as it should anymore. If you think your Trulicity pen might have frozen, immediately dispose of it, even if it has thawed afterward.

To prevent your Trulicity pen from freezing, place it far away from the freezer compartment of your fridge. Never put your medicine in direct contact with the ice.

Frozen Trulicity pen

If you’re traveling with Trulicity and using a portable medicine cooler, be sure it has anti-freeze security like the ones from 4AllFamily.

If you're living or traveling to extreme cold weather destinations, keep your Trulicity pen in your inside pocket. Your body's warmth should be enough to prevent it from freezing. Don't forget your Trulicity pen in your car overnight when temperatures gets below 32°F / 0°C. 

Injecting yourself with Trulicity that has frozen, even temporarily, can have serious consequences.

Related: Can you freeze insulin and what happens if you do?

How to know if Trulicity has gone bad?

Trulicity is a liquid translucid and colorless product. Inspect your pen before each injection. You can usually see with the eyes if Trulicity has gone bad. Trulicity that has gone bad looks cloudy, discolored, or contains particles. When in doubt, do not use the pen. Immediately dispose of it and get a new one. 

How to dispose of Trulicity injectable pens?

Your Trulicity self-injectable pens should be disposed of in a sharps container. As with any medical injection device, there is a risk of injuries and infections for others. FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are made from rigid plastic to protect any person that manipulates them from pricking themselves. They are available in most pharmacies, health care facilities, and online. 

If you don’t have any sharps container, use any alternative that would have a similar level of puncture-proof protection. A solid container with a secure lid like a laundry detergent bottle or a coffee can for example. Be sure the lid is tight, and the needles can’t poke through. 

Traveling withh Trulicity

Traveling with Trulicity: How to keep it cool?

Remember that your Trulicity pen should be stored at fridge temperature (36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Once out of the fridge, it’s good for up to 14 days and only if it’s been protected from the high heat. If you’re traveling with diabetes and need to carry your Trulicity pens, you need to make sure your medication is safe and cool.

Related: TSA regulations for diabetics: Traveling with diabetes supplies

Related: 10 best diabetic snacks on the go for road trips and travels!

Traveling with Trulicity for less than 14 days

If you’re planning a short trip for less than 14 days, all you need to do is make sure your Trulicity pens stay at room temperature (below 86°F / 30°C).

In most situations, common-sense measures should be enough to keep your medication safe. Always keep your injection pen in the shade, far away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight. Never leave it inside the car if parked in the sun.

However, if you’re traveling to destinations where the outside temperature gets above 86°F / 30°C, you need to take some extra precautions. A medical-grade travel cooler is the safest and most recommended solution.

 

4AllFamily’s medicine coolers keep Trulicity safe at room temperature

Traveling with Trulicity for more than 14 days

It gets a bit trickier when you’re going on longer trips and need to bring stocks of Trulicity for several weeks. As you know, Trulicity can only be left out of the fridge for a maximum of 14 days. After that, it starts deteriorating and it isn’t safe for use anymore. Whether you’re traveling to hot weather destinations or not, you need to carry your medicine at constant fridge temperature (36°F to 46°F / 2°C to 8°C). Two solutions are available:

  • You can DIY your own cooler using an insulated lunch bag and ice. In that case, be sure to wrap your Trulicity pen inside a cloth to prevent it from freezing in direct contact with the ice. It would be a good idea to add a smart waterproof thermometer so you can check the inside temperature without opening the cooler. Be aware that this solution can maintain your medicine at fridge temperature from 2 to 24 hours depending on the quantity of ice and the outside temperature. You might not be able to board a plane with it.
  • You can buy an authentic medical-grade travel cooler specially designed for temperature-sensitive medicines. These devices can keep your meds safe at fridge temperature from 10 up to 72 hours without electricity nor ice! They usually come with integrated temperature sensors as well as anti-freeze security. It does come at a higher price, but it guarantees your Trulicity is safe and your mind is at peace while traveling!

 4AllFamily’s Portable travel coolers for Trulicity

At 4AllFamily, we’ve specialized in designing medical-grade portable coolers for people traveling with chronic diseases and using temperature-sensitive medicines. Depending on your needs, you can choose from 4 different coolers featuring different options.

Our most performant cooling case can keep medications at fridge temperature for up to 72 hours without electricity. When plugged into any USB-power source (household power, car cigarette lighter, portable solar panel, or power bank), it keeps your meds safe for an unlimited period! It’s ideal for road trips and camping excursions, as well as airplane travels. All our cooling systems can fit Trulicity pens.  

Which medicine cooler would most suit your travel needs?

Related: Camping with diabetes: medical supplies & healthy camping foods

Flying with Trulicity: Diabetes supplies & Airport security

Flying with diabetes requires a bit of preplanning. You're about to carry medical supplies through airport security checkpoints and onboard. Nothing to stress about though: hundreds of thousands of diabetics are flying every day, and they’re doing just fine!

Related: How to travel and fly with your Victoza pen?

Trulicity & other diabetic supplies at the airport

As a diabetic, you have the right you bring your medical supplies on the plane with you. That means: Trulicity pen, insulin, injection devices, preloaded syringes (used and unused), needles, lancets, blood glucose meters & continuous blood glucose monitors, blood test strips, alcohol swabs, pumps, infusion kits, glucagon emergency kit, urine ketone strips, sharps disposal containers, liquids (juice for hypoglycemia), diabetes medications, pills, and any injectable medicine.

Never leave your Trulicity pens in your checked luggage in the hold. The hazardous atmosphere and temperature conditions could damage or freeze your medicine during the flight.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring systems and insulin pumps

If you’re wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system such as Dexcom G6, Medtronic Guardian, or Abbott FreeStyle Libre, you should know that 360 body scanners can deteriorate the electronics in your device. You should not pass through these scanners. You have the right to request a pat-down search instead. The same goes for insulin pumps.

Related: Can insulin pumps go through x-ray machines and metal detectors at te airport?

Diabetes Medical Certificate

A medical certificate is not obligatory to take your diabetic supplies on the plane. TSA (Transport and Security Administration) does not officially require you to bring any paperwork at airport security checkpoints.

However, having a medical certificate where your doctor has listed all your diabetic supplies can sometimes make things easier and speed the security screening process up, especially if you're being attended by new or non-compliant agents. You can also download and fill out the free TSA notification card for individuals with disabilities and medical conditions yourself.

If you’re traveling to non-English speaking countries, it’s a good idea to translate these documents. Most international destinations allow travelers to bring diabetic supplies and medicines without any prescription. However, always verify the information before flying and be sure what documents you need to enter a specific country.

TSA-approved medicine cooler

If you're traveling with Trulicity pens that you need to keep cool and carrying a medicine cooler, be sure it's TSA-approved. DIY coolers made with insulated lunch bags and ice aren't officially TSA-approved. Security staff will probably let you go with it, but there's no guarantee.

 TSA approved insulin cooler

4AllFamily’s medicine coolers are officially approved by TSA for airplane travels

Flying may affect your blood sugar levels

Many factors can unexpectedly affect your blood glucose levels during a flight. Stress, dehydration, altitude changes, etc. You may experience a drop of glycemia as well as a sudden blood sugar spike! While on the plane, limit unnecessary sugar and carbohydrate intakes, and always keep fast-acting sugars close to you.

Time zone changes should not affect your Trulicity weekly injection.

We hope you have a safe a happy travel and we’d be happy to hear your stories. Please, comment & share!

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