Generic Name: sitagliptin, Oral tablet

Generic Name:

sitagliptin, Oral tablet

Januvia

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  • Januvia
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for sitagliptin

Oral tablet
1

Januvia is an oral drug that’s used to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes.

2

Januvia is used along with lifestyle changes and sometimes other medications.

3

The standard starting dose is 100 mg taken by mouth once per day.

4

This drug may increase your risk of inflammation of your pancreas. This can be severe and sometimes fatal.

5

Common side effects include stomach problems, diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, stuffy or runny nose, and headaches.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Pancreatitis warning

Januvia may increase your risk of inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis). This can be severe and sometimes fatal. Before you start taking this drug, tell your doctor if you’ve ever had:

  • pancreatitis
  • stones in your gallbladder (gallstones)
  • alcoholism
  • high triglyceride levels
  • kidney problems

Drug Features

Januvia is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why It's Used

Januvia is used to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes. It’s used along with lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, and no smoking) and sometimes other medications.

How It Works

Januvia belongs to a class of drugs called dipeptidyl peptidate-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly.

More Details

How It Works

Januvia belongs to a class of drugs called dipeptidyl peptidate-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions. 

Insulin is a chemical in your body that helps remove sugar from your blood and moves it to cells, where it can be used for energy. Hormones in your body called incretins regulate the production and release of insulin. Januvia works by protecting incretin hormones so they aren’t broken down too quickly. This helps your body use insulin better and lowers your blood sugar.

SECTION 2 of 5

sitagliptin Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with Januvia include:

  • upset stomach

  • diarrhea

  • upper respiratory infection

  • stuffy or runny nose and sore throat

  • headache

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  •  pancreatitis. Symptoms may include:

    • severe pain in your stomach that won’t go away, and that can be felt from your stomach through your back
    • vomiting
  • low blood sugar. Symptoms may include:

    • intense hunger
    • nervousness
    • shakiness
    • sweating, chills, and clamminess
    • dizziness
    • fast heart rate
    • lightheadedness
    • sleepiness
    • confusion
    • blurred vision
    • headache
    • depression
    • irritability
    • crying spells
    • nightmares and crying out in your sleep
  •  severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

    • skin rash
    • hives
    • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat
    • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • kidney problems. Symptoms may include:

    • swelling of your feet, ankles, or legs
    • drowsiness
    • tiredness
    • chest pain
    • nausea
    • shortness of breath
    • producing less urine than usual
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug will decrease your blood sugar levels. Januvia can cause your blood sugar level to drop too low (hypoglycemia). If you have a low blood sugar reaction, you need to treat it.

  • For mild hypoglycemia (55–70 mg/dL), treatment is 15–20 grams of glucose (a type of sugar). You need to eat or drink one of the following:
    • 3–4 glucose tablets
    • a tube of glucose gel
    • ½ cup of juice or regular, non-diet soda
    • 1 cup of nonfat or 1% cow’s milk
    • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
    • 8–10 pieces of hard candy, such as lifesavers
  • Test your blood sugar 15 minutes after you treat the low sugar reaction. If your blood sugar is still low, then repeat the above treatment.

Once your blood sugar level is back in the normal range, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than 1 hour later.

Januvia doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

sitagliptin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Januvia can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Other diabetes medications
  • insulin
  • sulfonylureas
  • glipizide
  • glimepiride
  • glyburide

When you take Januvia with certain other diabetes drugs, your blood sugar can become too low. Your doctor will check your blood sugar more closely when you’re taking one of these drugs with Januvia.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with pancreatitis

Januvia may increase your risk of inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis). If you have pancreatitis already, your doctor may choose another medication to treat your diabetes.

People with kidney problems

Your dose of this medicine will depend on your kidney function. If your kidneys don’t work as well as they should, you may need a lower dose of this drug so that you don’t experience side effects.

People with diabetic ketoacidosis

You shouldn’t use Januvia to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.

Pregnant women

Januvia is a pregnancy category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals haven’t shown risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show the drug poses a risk to the fetus. 

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Januvia should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if Januvia passes through breast milk. It isn’t known whether Januvia causes side effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take Januvia or breastfeed. If your doctor decides that it’s okay for you to take Januvia while you’re breastfeeding, your infant should be monitored for side effects of the medication.

For Seniors

As you age, your kidneys may not work as well as they did when you were younger. Your doctor should monitor your kidney function before starting and during treatment with this medication to limit your risk of side effects.

For Children

The safety and effectiveness of Januvia in people younger than 18 years old haven’t been established.

Allergies

Januvia can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • skin rash
  • hives
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat
  • trouble breathing or swallowing

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

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How to Take sitagliptin (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Type 2 diabetes
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)

The standard dose is 100 mg taken by mouth once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years old.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

As you age, your kidneys may not work as well as they once did. Your dose of Januvia will depend on your kidney function. Your doctor will check your kidneys before starting and regularly during treatment with this medication.

Special Considerations

Kidney problems:

  • mild kidney impairment (creatinine clearance greater than or equal to 50 mL/min or serum creatinine levels of less than 1.7 mg/dL in men or less than 1.5 mg/dL in women): 100 mg per day
  • moderate kidney impairment (creatinine clearance greater than 30 but less than 50 mL/min or serum creatinine levels greater than 1.7 but equal to or less than 3 mg/dL in men or greater than 1.5 but less than or equal to 2.5 mg/dL in women): 50 mg per day 
  • severe kidney impairment (creatinine clearance greater than 30 mL/min or serum creatinine levels of greater than 3 mg/dL in men or greater than 2.5 mg/dL in women): 25 mg per day
  • end-stage kidney disease (requiring dialysis): 25 mg per day

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Januvia comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If You Don't Take It At All

If you don’t take this drug at all, your symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not improve or may even get worse.

If You Stop Taking It Suddenly

If your condition improved while you were taking Januvia and then you suddenly stop taking it, your symptoms of type 2 diabetes may come back.

If You Take Too Much

If you double up your dose or take it too close to your next scheduled time, you may be at higher risk of experiencing serious side effects such as severe gastrointestinal problems or a low blood sugar reaction. If you think you’ve taken too much, call your doctor.

What To Do If You Miss a Dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours before the time for your next dose, then only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell if this drug is working if your blood sugar is near your target range as determined by your doctor. Your symptoms of diabetes may also get better.

Januvia is a long-term drug treatment.

Store Januvia at room temperature

Keep it at 68–77°F (20–25°C). This medication can be stored briefly from 59–86°F (15–30°C).

Keep the drug away from light and high temperature.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication: 

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Self-Management

Your doctor may have you regularly test your blood sugar levels at home.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to use your blood glucose monitoring machine. You need to know how to use this device to test your blood sugar.

If your doctor decides that you need to test your blood sugar at home, you’ll need the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • blood sugar test strips
  • blood glucose monitoring machine
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets

Clinical Monitoring

Before starting and during treatment with Januvia, your doctor may check your:

  • blood sugar levels
  • glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) levels. This test measures your blood sugar control over the last 2–3 months.
  • cholesterol
  • kidney function

Your Diet

Januvia, when combined with lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, and not smoking), can help lower your blood sugar. Follow the nutrition plan that your doctor, registered dietician, or diabetes educator recommended.

Hidden Costs

If your doctor decides that you need to test your blood sugar at home, you’ll need the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • blood sugar test strips
  • blood glucose monitoring machine
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for Januvia.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does sitagliptin Cost?

Oral tablet
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Lowest price for sitagliptin

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on July 29, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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