What is Januvia?
Januvia (Sitagliptin) is a medication used to treat high blood sugar associated with type 2 diabetes. Januvia contains the active ingredient sitagliptin, which belongs to a class of medications called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. Sitagliptin works by increasing levels of incretins, which increases insulin release particularly after a meal. They also reduce the amount of sugar produced by the liver, to overall control blood sugar. Sitagliptin does not treat tyupe 1 diabetes.
Januvia is taken orally once daily, with or without food. The prescribed dosage is dependent on the severity of your condition, your kidney function, and how you respond to treatment. This medication should be taken consistently and at the same time each day to get the most benefit from it. Januvia is often prescribed in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise plan, which should be followed carefully. While taking this medication you should monitor your blood glucose levels regularly, and inform your doctor of any inconsistencies or changes, as they may need to change your treatment plan.
Januvia should be stored in a place that will not exceed 25°C. Keep out of direct sunlight and away from moisture. Store out of reach of children and pets. Do not consume expired medication. Dispose of expired or surplus medication responsibly, following the instructions of your healthcare provider. Do not flush medication down the toilet or sink. Do not share this medication with anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.
Common Side Effects
All medications come with a risk of side effects. It is important to recognize that your medical professional has determined that your risk of side effects is outweighed by the potential benefit that this medication can provide. Side effects will differ between individuals, and it is possible that you may not experience any side effects at all.
Januvia can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when taken alongside other diabetes medications. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include unexplained sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, vision changes (e.g., blurriness), dizziness, or tingling of the hands or feet. You should always have glucose tablets or gel handy to treat low blood sugar. You can also have high-sugar foods or beverages like honey, candy, or fruit juice to improve your blood sugar levels. You are more likely to experience low blood sugar when consuming a lot of alcohol, during intense exercise, or if you do not eat enough calories. To help maintain normal blood sugar levels, stick to a regular meal schedule, and avoid skipping meals. Check with your doctor if you are experiencing severe symptoms of low blood sugar, or the symptoms happen frequently.
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can also occur while taking this medication. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include increased urination and thirst, confusion, drowsiness and dizziness, rapid breathing, and fruity breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, inform your doctor immediately, as they may need to adjust your medication schedule.
Januvia may also lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, stomach pain, upper respiratory infections, runny nose, sore throat, or headache. If you experience any of these symptoms and they concern you, or they worsen or do not resolve on their own, contact your doctor right away.
Severe Side Effects
Occasionally, Januvia can be associated with severe side effects that should be taken seriously. These include symptoms of kidney dysfunction (such as urine output changes), joint pain, abnormal blistering of the skin, symptoms of heart failure (such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the ankles and feet, unusual tiredness, or unexplained sudden weight gain). Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms. If you experience severe nausea or persistent vomiting, appetite loss, or severe abdominal pain, this could indicate pancreatitis, and you should seek emergency medical help immediately.
An allergic reaction to Januvia is rare, but not impossible. If you experience rash, itching, facial swelling, dizziness, or difficulty breathing, this could indicate an allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical assistance.
Occasionally, people taking DPP-4 inhibitors have reported joint pain or a skin reaction called bullous pemphigoid. If you experience severe joint pain or develop blisters on the surface of your skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Warnings & Precautions
Before starting Januvia, inform your doctor of all allergies you have, including if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. Ensure your doctor is aware of your full family and personal medical history, particularly of kidney disease, heart failure, pancreatitis (or other pancreatic diseases), and gallstones.
As Januvia affects your blood sugar, it can cause blurred vision and drowsiness. Avoid operating heavy machinery (including driving) until you know how this medication affects you. Avoid alcohol while taking this medication as it can exacerbate low blood sugar.
The control of blood sugar is affected by stress, fever, infection, or injury. Experiencing these may require adjustments in your treatment plan or closer monitoring of your blood sugar. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.
Prior to surgery, all medical professionals involved in your care should be aware of all the medications you take on a regular basis, including both prescription and non-prescription.
Pregnant people should only take this medication when it is absolutely necessary. Pregnancy can cause or exacerbate diabetes, so it is best that you consult with your doctor first before taking this medication. If you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, think you could be pregnant, or do become pregnant while taking Januvia, contact your doctor regarding what to do next.
It is not known whether Januvia can pass into breast milk. Ask your doctor before breast feeding while taking this medication.
Interactions & Contraindications
When two or more medications are taken concurrently they can interact with one another, changing the way one or more functions in the body and leading to negative side effects. It is important that you keep a comprehensive list of all of the drugs you take on a regular basis (including both prescription and non-prescription) and share this with your doctor. Do not stop, start, or change the dosage of any of your medication without consulting your doctor first.
Medications belonging to the class ‘beta-blockers’ can mask the pounding heartbeat associated with low blood sugar. This can make it tricky to discern when your blood sugar is low. Take care when taking beta-blockers alongside Januvia and monitor your blood glucose regularly. Typically, the other low blood sugar symptoms (dizziness, sweating, hunger) are not affected.
Other medications that affect blood sugar levels make it more difficult to control with Januvia. Check with your doctor or pharmacist how your current medications influence blood sugar, and ensure you check your blood sugar frequently, even if you feel well. Contact your doctor right away if you experience drastic changes in blood sugar, as they may need to adjust your medication schedule, exercise habits, or diet.