Januvia (Sitagliptin) – Oral

What Is Januvia?

Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate) is a prescription medication used with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar (glucose) control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

In type 2 diabetes, your body develops heightened resistance against the hormone insulin. The pancreas produces insulin to help move glucose into the cells. When you develop insulin resistance, the body needs more insulin to stabilize glucose levels. Over time, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to keep up.

Januvia belongs to a class of medications known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DDP-4) inhibitors.

DDP-4 inhibitors reduce the amount of blood sugar your body makes and help keep your insulin levels stable. They work by blocking an enzyme called DDP-4. DDP breaks down the proteins that stimulate insulin production after a meal. DDP-4 inhibitors block DDP so that these proteins can activate the release of insulin for a longer period of time, which lowers glucose levels in the blood.

Januvia is an oral medication available in tablet form.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Sitagliptin

Brand Name(s): Januvia

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: DDP-4 inhibitor

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Sitagliptin

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Januvia Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Januvia for use along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

It should not be used in people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes, when the pancreas produces little or no insulin) or diabetic ketoacidosis (a life-threatening complication in which the body produces excess blood acids called ketones).

Januvia (Sitagliptin) Drug Information - Illustration by Zoe Hansen

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Use Januvia

Januvia is available as an oral tablet. You can take it with or without food. Try to take your dose around the same time each day.

In addition to taking your medication, it's important to remember to stay on your prescribed diet and exercise program.

Storage

People should store Januvia at a controlled room temperature, about 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Always carry your medication with you. If you are flying, keep the original prescription-labeled bottle or box in your carry-on bag. Don’t leave this medication in your car, especially if the temperature is very cold or hot.

What Are the Side Effects of Januvia?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects with Januvia are:

Talk to your healthcare provider if any side effects don’t go away or become more severe.

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider 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:

  • Severe allergic reactions: Symptoms may include trouble breathing, hives, or swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Pancreatitis: Symptoms may include swollen or tender abdomen (belly), nausea or vomiting, upset stomach, unintentional weight loss, fever, and upper body pain.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Symptoms may include dizziness, confusion, hunger, headache, fast heartbeat, sweating, feeling jittery, tiredness.
  • Skin reactions
  • Severe joint pain
  • Severe kidney problems: Symptoms may include confusion, fatigue, seizures, swelling of the ankles, legs, and feet; nausea, chest pain, and coma.

Report Side Effects

Januvia may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Januvia Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For type 2 diabetes:
      • Adults—100 milligrams (mg) once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modification

Certain factors may require closer monitoring of Januvia treatment and potential dosage changes. Discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider.

If you are 65 years old or older, your healthcare provider may assess your kidney function more frequently. Having reduced kidney function can require a lower dose of Januvia. This can include people with moderate and severe kidney impairment, as well as those with end-stage renal disease who are on dialysis.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Januvia, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it is almost time for the next scheduled dose, you should skip the dose you missed. Do not take extra to make up for the missed dose. Doing so can increase your risk for side effects.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Januvia?

If you take too much Januvia, you may begin to experience:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Change in thinking or reasoning
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremor

What Happens If I Overdose on Januvia?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Januvia, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Januvia, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, angioedema, or certain skin conditions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome). These reactions can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, blistering, peeling, or loose skin, fever or chills, trouble breathing or swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, mouth, or throat while you are using this medicine.

Pancreatitis (swelling and inflammation of the pancreas) may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have a sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, or lightheadedness.

Check with your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms: chest pain, decreased urine output, dilated neck veins, extreme fatigue, irregular breathing, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, or weight gain. These may be signs of heart failure.

This medicine may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This is more common when this medicine is taken together with certain medicines. Low blood sugar must be treated before it causes you to pass out (unconsciousness). People feel different symptoms of low blood sugar. It is important that you learn which symptoms you usually have so you can treat it quickly. Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat low blood sugar.

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may occur if you do not take enough or skip a dose of your medicine, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise as much as usual. High blood sugar can be very serious and must be treated right away. It is important that you learn which symptoms you have in order to treat it quickly. Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat high blood sugar.

There may be a time when you need emergency help for a problem caused by your diabetes. You need to be prepared for these emergencies. It is a good idea to wear a medical identification (ID) bracelet or neck chain at all times. Also, carry an ID card in your wallet or purse that says you have diabetes with a list of all your medicines.

This medicine may cause bullous pemphigoid. Tell your doctor if you have large, hard skin blisters while using this medicine.

This medicine may cause severe and disabling joint pain. Call your doctor right away if you have severe joint pain while using this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Januvia?

There are a few reasons why your healthcare provider may not choose Januvia as part of your treatment plan, including the following:

Allergy

A person should not take Januvia if they are allergic to the ingredients.

Pregnancy

It may not be safe to take Januvia during pregnancy. It is best to talk to your provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, so they can decide the best option for you.

Breastfeeding

It may not be safe to take Januvia while breastfeeding. Talk with your provider if you are breastfeeding to discuss the best plan for you.

Older Adults

People 65 years or older often process drugs more slowly. A lower dose or different schedule may be required.

Other Health Conditions

In certain individuals, the body may handle Januvia differently and dosage adjustments may be needed. Before starting Januvia, inform your provider if you have:

What Other Medications May Interact With Januvia?

There are a few medications that can interact with Januvia:

  • Birth control: Birth control pills can make Januvia less effective. 
  • Insulin: Taking both insulin and Januvia may increase your risk for low blood sugar.
  • Lanoxin (digoxin): When taken with digoxin, Januvia can cause an increased amount of digoxin in your body leading to dangerous side effects, such as dizziness, headache, and diarrhea.

This list does not include all drugs that can interact with Januvia. Before using Januvia, tell your healthcare provider about all of the prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbs you are taking. This will help you avoid potential interactions. If you have any questions about drug interactions, speak with your provider.

What Medications Are Similar?

A few other similar medications used to treat this type 2 diabetes include:

  • Glucophage (metformin)
  • Tradjenta (linagliptin)

Glucophage

Glucophage (metformin) is part of a class of medications known as biguanides. It is often prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. Glucophage is available as an oral tablet. The most common side effects include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, or upset stomach.

Tradjenta

Tradjenta (linagliptin) is also a DDP-4 inhibitor often prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. It is available as an oral tablet. Common side effects include cough, diarrhea, or upper respiratory infections.

This list is a list of examples of medications used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Januvia. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Januvia used for?

    Januvia is part of a class of medications known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DDP-4) inhibitors. It works by reducing the amount of blood sugar in your body and helps to stabilize your insulin levels. Januvia is often used to treat type 2 diabetes.

  • What are the side effects of Januvia?

    The most common side effects are runny or stuffy nose, headache, or upper respiratory infections. Januvia also has the potential for serious side effects such as an allergic reaction, pancreatitis, or low blood sugar. If you are experiencing any serious side effects, call your healthcare provider right away. Call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency or life-threatening symptoms.

  • Can I use Januvia if I have type 1 diabetes?

    No. Januvia is only approved to treat type 2 diabetes. The FDA has not approved Januvia for type 1 diabetes.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Januvia?

Januvia is a safe and effective medication when used correctly. This drug is often used to treat type 2 diabetes.

While Januvia does have the potential for serious side effects such as allergic reactions or pancreatitis, the most common side effects may be milder. Those tend to include upper respiratory infection, runny nose, or headache.

Try to follow your healthcare provider’s dietary instructions and continue regular physical activity, as well as blood glucose monitoring and A1C testing.

It is important to inform your healthcare provider of all of your other health conditions and any prescription medications, OTC medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbs you are taking. This way, your provider can make the best decision about what medication and dose work best for you.

Speak with your healthcare provider to learn more about if Januvia is the right medication for you.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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4 Sources
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  2. Food and Drug Administration. Januvia (sitagliptin) tablets label.

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  4. U.S. Library of Medicine. DailyMed. Tradjenta - linagliptin.