Tradjenta (Linagliptin) - Oral

What Is Tradjenta?

Tradjenta (linagliptin) is a prescription drug used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is available as an oral tablet. Tradjenta is in a drug class called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, which are also known as gliptins because the chemical name of each drug in the class ends in “gliptin.”

Tradjenta stimulates the production and release of insulin in the body. Insulin is an important hormone that helps cells absorb glucose (blood sugar) for energy. Problems with insulin production can lower blood sugar levels. Tradjenta also decreases glucagon, another hormone that counteracts insulin by increasing glucose levels.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Linagliptin

Brand Name(s): Tradjenta

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Hypoglycemic

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Linagliptin

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Tradjenta Used For?

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

Tradjenta is not for use in patients with type 1 diabetes (a condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin). It is also not for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a life-threatening complication of diabetes. It occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.

Although more common in people with type 1 diabetes, DKA can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes. Tradjenta has not been studied in patients who have a history of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

Tradjenta (Linagliptin) Drug Information - Illustration by Zoe Hansen

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Tradjenta

If you are prescribed Tradjenta:

  • Read the patient information leaflet that comes with your prescription. 
  • Take Tradjenta once daily and as directed by your provider. Do not skip doses or take more or less than prescribed.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on diet and exercise.

You can take Tradjenta with or without food. Throughout treatment, remember to check your blood sugar as instructed by your healthcare provider. You may want to talk to your provider about hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and how to treat it.

Hypoglycemia symptoms can include:

  • Hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision 
  • Confusion
  • Shakiness

Eating or drinking a certain amount of fast-acting sugar, such as glucose tablets or juice, can help increase low blood sugar levels quickly. You can also ask your provider about a glucagon prescription, such as Baqsimi, which can be used to treat severe low blood sugar in an emergency situation.

Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about Tradjenta.

Storage

Keep Tradjenta in the bottle it came in, and keep the bottle tightly closed. Store at room temperature, away from heat, direct light, and moisture. Do not store Tradjenta in the bathroom. Keep this medication out of the reach of children and pets. It is best to keep your medication in a safe location that is out of sight and out of reach, especially if you use a pill organizer that is not child-resistant.

How Long Does Tradjenta Take to Work?

After a single dose of Tradjenta, the highest level is reached in the body in about 90 minutes. However, it may take a few days or weeks to have an effect on blood sugar.

What Are the Side Effects of Tradjenta?

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.

Like other medications, Tradjenta can cause side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience while taking this medication.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Tradjenta are:

  • Nasopharyngitis (common cold)
  • Cough 
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperuricemia (increased levels of uric acid in the blood)
  • Hyperlipasemia (increased levels of the pancreatic enzyme lipase in the blood, which could indicate a problem with the pancreas)

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:

  • Hypersensitivity reaction, or anaphylaxis: Symptoms can include rash, hives, swelling around the lips, tongue, and face, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms require emergency medical attention. 
  • Hypoglycemia: This is low blood sugar.
  • Heart failure: Call your provider right away if you have swelling, shortness of breath, or rapid weight gain.
  • Pancreatitis: This can be life-threatening. Call your provider right away if you have pain in the upper stomach that may spread to the back, with or without vomiting.
  • Severe joint pain: Call your provider right away if you have severe or ongoing joint pain.
  • Bullous pemphigoid: This is a rare skin condition that causes blisters filled with fluid. Call your provider right away if you have itching, blisters, or a breakdown of the skin’s outer layer.

Long-Term Side Effects

While many people tolerate Tradjenta well, long-term or delayed side effects are possible. Some long-term or delayed side effects can be mild, such as:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain
  • Changes in weight (gain or loss)

Moderate long-term or delayed side effects can include mouth sores/ulcers. Severe long-term or delayed side effects may include pancreas problems, heart failure, or severe skin reactions.

Report Side Effects

Tradjenta 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 Tradjenta Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

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—5 milligrams (mg) once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

A healthcare provider will determine whether Tradjenta is an appropriate treatment for you. 

Because there is limited data on Tradjenta’s use in people who are pregnant or nursing, you should consult with your provider if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you already take Tradjenta and find out you are pregnant, consult your provider.

Tradjenta is generally safe and effective in older adults (aged 65 years and older), as well as in people with kidney or liver problems. This medication is not approved for use in children.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Tradjenta, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Tradjenta?

You should never take more than the prescribed dose of Tradjenta. If you suspect that you or someone else may have taken too much of Tradjenta, contact a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center.

What Happens If I Overdose on Tradjenta?

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

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

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

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

Pancreatitis 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 serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are 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.

This medicine may cause bullous pemphigoid. Tell your doctor if you have large, hard skin blisters 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 Tradjenta?

Tradjenta is not appropriate for everyone. You should not take this medication if you are allergic to linagliptin, any of the inactive ingredients in Tradjenta, or any drug in the DPP-4 inhibitors drug class.

People with type 1 diabetes should not take Tradjenta. Also, Tradjenta should not be used to treat diabetic ketoacidosis. Tradjenta may be prescribed with caution in some people, only if the healthcare provider determines it is safe. This includes people who are at risk for heart failure or pancreatitis.

What Other Medications May Interact With Tradjenta?

Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and vitamins or supplements.

Tradjenta can interact with certain drugs that are processed by P-glycoprotein or CYP3A4 enzymes. These medications include rifampin, Tegretol (carbamazepine), Dilantin (phenytoin), Saint-John’s-wort, and phenobarbital.

Additionally, taking insulin or other diabetes drugs along with Tradjenta can increase the risk of low blood sugar. Examples of these drugs include all insulins, Glucotrol (glipizide), and Micronase (glyburide).

Consult your healthcare provider for a complete list of drug interactions.

What Medications Are Similar?

Tradjenta contains the ingredient linagliptin and is a DPP-4 inhibitor. Other drugs in this class include:

  • Januvia (sitagliptin)
  • Nesina (alogliptin)
  • Onglyza (saxagliptin)

The main ingredient in Tradjenta, linagliptin, is also available as part of a combination product in the following drugs:

  • Glyxambi (linagliptin and empagliflozin)
  • Jentadueto, Jentadueto XR (linagliptin and metformin)
  • Trijardy XR (linagliptin, empagliflozin, and metformin)

Other oral medications are available to help control blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes, including: 

  • Glinides: Prandin (repaglinide) and Starlix (nateglinide)
  • Glucophage (metformin)
  • SGLT2 inhibitors: Invokana (canagliflozin), Farxiga (dapagliflozin), and Jardiance (empagliflozin)
  • Sulfonylureas: Amaryl (glimepiride), Glucotrol (glipizide), and Micronase (glyburide) 
  • Thiazolidinediones: Actos (pioglitazone)

Some people with type 2 diabetes use injectable medications that are not insulin to help control blood sugar. These injectable medications include: 

  • Ozempic (semaglutide)
  • Saxenda (liraglutide)
  • Trulicity (dulaglutide)
  • Victoza (liraglutide)

These drugs are in a class called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. An oral GLP-1 agonist called Rybelsus (semaglutide) is also available.

People with type 2 diabetes may also need injectable insulin. There are various types of long-acting and short-acting insulin. Some examples of long-acting insulin include Lantus and Levemir. Examples of short-acting insulin include Humalog and Novolog.

This is a list of drugs also prescribed for type 2 diabetes. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Tradjenta. Ask your pharmacist or a healthcare practitioner if you have questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Tradjenta used for?

    When used along with diet and exercise, Tradjenta helps improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

  • How does Tradjenta work?

    Tradjenta stimulates the production and release of insulin. Insulin helps lower blood sugar levels. Tradjenta also decreases glucagon, a hormone that works to control glucose levels. By doing so, it helps to lower blood sugar.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Tradjenta?

    Tradjenta interacts with drugs that are processed by certain enzymes. It can interact with drugs such as Rifadin (rifampin), Tegretol (carbamazepine), Dilantin (phenytoin), and phenobarbital. Also, people who use insulin or take certain medications for diabetes are at higher risk for low blood sugar episodes. Consult your healthcare provider regarding possible drug interactions before taking Tradjenta.

  • How long does it take for Tradjenta to work?

    A single dose of Tradjenta reaches its highest level in the body in about 1.5 hours. It may take several days or weeks to see an effect on blood sugar levels.

  • What are the side effects of Tradjenta?

    The most common side effects of Tradjenta are cough, cold, low blood sugar, and diarrhea. Serious reactions are rare but require emergency medical attention. If you have hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling around the face, get emergency medical help right away. Severe skin reactions, such as blistering, also require immediate medical attention.

  • How do I stop taking Tradjenta?

    Your healthcare provider will advise you on how long to take Tradjenta. Do not stop taking the medication without guidance from your provider.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Tradjenta

Before taking Tradjenta, discuss your medical history and all medication you take with your healthcare provider.

When taking Tradjenta, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for use. Read the patient information leaflet and ask your provider about any questions or concerns.

Prepare a diabetes kit with supplies to take with you everywhere you go. Some items to include are:

  • A blood glucose meter and extra supplies, including strips, lancing device, lancets, alcohol wipes, and extra batteries
  • Emergency contact information
  • Glucagon (injection or nasal Baqsimi)
  • Low blood sugar treatment, such as juice boxes and glucose tablets

Be sure to wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet at all times to alert emergency personnel that you have type 2 diabetes.

Check your blood sugar as directed. Tradjenta should be used along with diet and exercise. Ask your healthcare provider what kind of diet and exercise regimen you should follow.

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
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Linagliptin.

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  4. Prescribers’ Digital Reference. Linagliptin - Drug Summary.