Oral Diabetes Medications

Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 Inhibitors

The newest diabetes drug is sitagliptin (Januvia), which prolongs the activity of proteins that boost the release of insulin after blood sugar rises. By blocking an enzyme - dipeptidyl peptidase 4, or DPP-4 - that breaks down these proteins, the drug leads to better blood sugar control. Januvia can be used alone or in combination with two other commonly prescribed oral diabetes medications, metformin or Starlix, when either of these treatments fails to provide adequate blood sugar control by itself.

The most common side effects from Januvia seem to be mild and include a possible increase in upper respiratory infections, headache, stuffy or runny nose, and sore throat. If you have kidney problems, you may need lower doses of the drug. You should also have periodic blood tests to measure how well your kidneys are working.

Publication Review By: Written by: Christopher D. Saudek, M.D.; Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D.

Published: 21 Apr 2009

Last Modified: 31 Jul 2014