GENERIC NAME: linagliptin
BRAND NAME: Tradjenta
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Linagliptin is an oral drug that reduces blood sugar (glucose) levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Linagliptin is a member of a class of drugs that inhibit the enzyme, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4). Other members of this class include sitagliptin (Januvia), and saxagliptin (Onglyza). Following a meal, incretin hormones such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are released from the intestine, and their levels increase in the blood. GLP-1 and GIP reduce blood glucose by increasing the production and release of insulin from the pancreas. GLP-1 also reduces blood glucose by reducing the secretion by the pancreas of the hormone, glucagon, a hormone that increases the production of glucose by the liver and raises the blood level of glucose. The net effect of increased release of GLP-1 and GIP is to reduce blood glucose levels. Linagliptin inhibits the enzyme, DPP-4, that destroys GLP-1 and GIP and thereby increases the levels and activity of both hormones. As a result, levels of GLP-1 and GIP in the blood remain higher, and blood glucose levels fall. In summary, linagliptin reduces blood glucose levels by inhibiting DPP-4 and increasing the levels of GLP-1 and GIP. Linagliptin was approved by the FDA in May 2011.
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