First In Its Class:
A new oral medication called Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for management of Type 2 diabetes. It's the first in a new class of drugs called DPP-4 inhibitors. Januvia lowers blood sugar levels by blocking an enzyme known as dipeptidyl peptidase IV or DPP-4.
Prolongs Insulin Production:
DPP-4 is responsible for breaking down the proteins that stimulate the insulin producing cells after a meal. If DPP-4 is inhibited, then the proteins can activate the release of insulin for a longer period of time, thereby lowering the glucose level in the blood.
Diet, Exercise and Medications:
Januvia showed good results in recent trials both in combination with other drugs, like metformin, and also by itself. It is prescribed for Type 2 diabetes only. For some people, diet, exercise and conventional medications are not enough to keep blood glucose levels in a good range. Januvia has been successful in clinical trials at helping to lower them when traditional methods aren't enough. Diet and exercise are still important additions to medical management, however.
How It Works:
Januvia works by prolonging the stimulation of insulin production. The risk of hypoglycemia is unlikely because Januvia only works when it's needed. For example, if there is no glucose in the blood, then there is no action from Januvia, but after a meal when glucose levels rise, then Januvia will work to lower that level. Also, scientists have found that there is little risk of weight gain with Januvia, unlike some other oral diabetes medications.
The most commonly reported side effects include upper respiratory infection, sore throat and/or headache.
Januvia is processed through the kidneys. People who have decreased renal function may need to have their dose of Januvia adjusted by their doctor to a lower dose. Renal function should be assessed before taking Januvia.
Januvia will be prescribed in a dose of 100 milligrams once a day. The dose may be adjusted based on renal function. It does not need to be taken with a meal, as some other classes of oral diabetes medications do. Merck & Co., Inc., the company who manufactures Januvia, has set the price of Januvia at $4.86 per tablet. This works out to a little less than $150.00 a month. Januvia should be available at pharmacies soon.