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Diabetes Health Center

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Selective Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 Inhibitors (DPP-4 Inhibitors)


Generic Name Brand Name
alogliptin Nesina
linagliptin Tradjenta
saxagliptin Onglyza
sitagliptin Januvia

Sometimes these medicines are combined with other diabetes medicines in one pill.

  • Janumet is a combination of sitagliptin and metformin.
  • Jentadueto is a combination of linagliptin and metformin.
  • Kazano is a combination of alogliptin and metformin.
  • Komboglyze is a combination of saxagliptin and metformin.
  • Oseni is a combination of alogliptin and pioglitazone.

Juvisync is a combination of sitagliptin and simvastatin, a cholesterol medicine.

How It Works

Incretin is a natural hormone that your body makes. It tells your body to release insulin after you eat. Insulin lowers blood sugar.

When your body makes incretin, an enzyme called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) removes it from your body. This is a normal, healthy process for people without diabetes.

Some people with type 2 diabetes do not make enough incretin. This is where DPP-4 inhibitor medicines are helpful. Stopping (inhibiting) DPP-4 helps the incretin that is in the body to stay there longer. This triggers insulin to be released, which lowers blood sugar.

Why It Is Used

These medicines help keep blood sugar in a target range without causing low blood sugar or weight gain.

How Well It Works

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that can get worse over time, so medicines may need to change.

Diabetes medicines work best for people who are being active and eating healthy foods. Studies have suggested that DPP-4 inhibitors lower hemoglobin A1c by 0.5% to 0.8%.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

Call your doctor if you have:

Common side effects of this medicine include:

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Your doctor may want you to have kidney tests while taking this medicine. If you have kidney problems, you may be prescribed less of this medicine.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


  1. Inzucchi SE, et al. (2012). Management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes: A patient-centered approach. Diabetes Care, 35(6): 1364-1379.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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