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Drug Facts: DPP-4 Inhibitors

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors, more commonly known as DPP-4 Inhibitors, include Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta, and Nesina.

DPP-4 inhibitors prevent the breakdown of hormones that help lower blood sugars. They do not cause blood sugars to go too low, but if you are taking insulin or a sulfonylurea along with them, hypoglycemia is possible.

These drugs are taken once a day with or without food. Side effects are relatively uncommon, but may include runny nose, sore throat or headache. You should see the full effect about a week after starting the medication.

The longer you’ve had diabetes, the less effective these drugs are going to be. So, if you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, this drug could be a great option. If you’ve had diabetes for several years, a different medication may be better suited for you.

When I first started practicing, these drugs were being used pretty regularly. Since then, however, GLP-1s are becoming more popular and SGLT2s are now on the market. These newer drugs are more effective in most people and also help with weight loss. Despite the fact that DPP-4s are no longer the new kids on the block, they are still expensive. Always discuss the pros and cons of all your medications with your provider.

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