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DPP-4 Inhibitors

What is DPP-4 inhibitor?

DPP-4 inhibitor medicines are a type of incretin-based medicine for type 2 diabetes. Since type 2 diabetes is typically a progression of worsening insulin resistance, this type of medicine can also be used to treat insulin resistance. This kind of medicine is based on the action of hormones called incretins, which help control how the pancreas works. GLP-1 incretins cause your pancreas to produce more insulin after you eat, helping your body use glucose. The effects of GLP-1 only last a few minutes because an enzyme (a substance that causes a chemical reaction in your body) called DPP-4 quickly breaks down GLP-1 in the blood. DPP-4 inhibitors block the action of the DPP-4 enzyme. This makes GLP-1 last longer and increases the amount of GLP-1 in your blood. More GLP-1 means less glucose build-up in the blood.

These medications includes: sitagliptin (brand name: Januvia), saxagliptin (brand name: Onglyza), linagliptin (brand name: Tradjenta), alogliptin (brand name: Nesina).

DPP-4 inhibitors come in pill form and are taken by mouth. They are used alone or in combination with other diabetes medicines. They are also available in combination pills that contain a DPP-4 inhibitor and another type of diabetes medicine. Your dose of sitagliptin or saxagliptin (but not linagliptin) may need to be adjusted if you have kidney problems. These medicines do not cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or changes in body weight.

What side effects can DPP-4 inhibitors cause?

  • gastrointestinal problems – including nausea, diarrhoea and stomach pain

  • flu-like symptoms – headache, runny nose, sore throat

  • skin reactions – painful skin followed by a red or purple rash

What other precautions should I take when using DPP-4 inhibitors?

There have been rare reports of joint pain, pancreatitis, and severe skin reactions

Are these medications expensive?

These medications are generally expensive, but it is usually covered by your insurance. Most DPP-4 inhibitors also have saving coupons available. Please visit their website for further information.

For complete patient information on DPP-4 inhibitors, please visit the website below:


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