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Reporting a Medication Error

60 Seconds Safety Tip: Trulicity Pen Should Never Be Primed

Published April 1, 2022

Figure 1. The Trulicity pen has an attached needle at the base end and does not need to be primed before administration.

We received several reports about wasted Trulicity (dulaglutide) pens that were prescribed for hospitalized  patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. This happened because nurses tried to prepare the injection of medicine by priming the pen. Priming is when you try to remove the air bubbles from the device and ensure the needle is ready to use. There are some medicine pens used to treat diabetes that require the pen to be primed. However, Trulicity pens do NOT need to be primed because they are ready-to-use and each pen contains only one dose. If priming is done, the medicine inside the Trulicity pen will empty out.

To use the Trulicity pen, remove the base cap and throw it away. You will notice a thin green bar above the red “lock” and green “unlock” icons. Turn the green bar to the green unlock icon on the pen. Place the clear base flat and firmly against the skin at the injection site (abdomen, thigh, or upper arm). Press and hold the green injection button and listen for a click (Figure 1). After the click, release the button but continue to hold the clear base firmly against the skin for about 5-10 seconds longer until a second click is heard, which happens as the needle moves back into the device. Any attempt to “prime” a Trulicity pen by going through these steps and injecting contents into the air would empty its contents and waste the pen. Trulicity is packaged in cartons of four pens for a 1-month supply. If you receive a prescription for Trulicity, ask to speak with your pharmacist so you can learn how to use these pens. A short video on how to use the Trulicity pen can be found here.

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