GENERIC NAME: sitagliptin
BRAND NAME: Januvia
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Sitagliptin is an oral drug that reduces blood sugar (glucose) levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Sitagliptin is a member of a class of drugs that inhibit the enzyme, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) and are therefore called DPP-4 inhibitors. Other members of the class include saxagliptin (Onglyza) and linagliptin (Tradjenta) 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. Sitagliptin inhibits the enzyme, DPP-4, that destroys GLP-1 and GIP and thereby increases the levels and activity of both hormones. As a result, blood glucose levels fall. In summary, sitagliptin reduces blood glucose levels by inhibiting DPP-4 and increasing the levels of GLP-1 and GIP. Sitagliptin was approved by the FDA in October 2006.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Sitagliptin is combined with diet and exercise to improve blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. It also may be combined with other types of oral drugs for diabetes or insulin.
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