Highlights for sitagliptin
- Pancreatitis warning: Sitagliptin may increase your risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). This can be severe and sometimes fatal. Before you start taking this drug, tell your doctor if you’ve ever had:
- gallstones (stones in your gallbladder)
- high triglyceride levels
- kidney problems
- Joint pain warning: This drug may cause severe and disabling joint pain. Tell your doctor right away if you have joint pain while taking this drug. Your doctor may switch you to another medication to control your diabetes.
Sitagliptin is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet.
Sitagliptin oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug Januvia. It’s not available as a generic drug.
Sitagliptin may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.
Why it’s used
Sitagliptin is used to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes. It’s used along with lifestyle changes such as improved diet and exercise, and avoiding smoking.
How it works
Sitagliptin belongs to a class of drugs called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs 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. Sitagliptin 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.
Sitagliptin oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.
More common side effects
The more common side effects that can occur with sitagliptin include:
- upset stomach
- stomach pain
- upper respiratory infection
- stuffy or runny nose and sore throat
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
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Pancreatitis. Symptoms can include:
- severe pain in your stomach that won’t go away, and that can be felt from your stomach through your back
- Low blood sugar.* Symptoms can include:
- intense hunger
- sweating, chills, and clamminess
- fast heart rate
- blurred vision
- crying spells
- nightmares and crying out in your sleep
- Severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- skin rash
- swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- Kidney problems. Symptoms can include:
- swelling of your feet, ankles, or legs
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- producing less urine than usual
- Bullous pemphigoid. Symptoms can include:
- large, fluid-filled blisters
- skin erosion
- itchy skin
*Treating low blood sugar
Sitagliptin will decrease your blood sugar levels. It could cause hypoglycemia, which is when your blood sugar level drops too low. If this happens, 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.
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.
An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.
To find out how sitagliptin might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
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.