Januvia is used to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. The medication works to lower blood sugar by increasing insulin production in response to meals and by decreasing the amount of sugar produced by the liver. At this time, there are no universally accepted off-label Januvia uses. The medication has not been approved for use in children.
What Is Januvia Used For?Januvia® (sitagliptin) is a prescription medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. The medication should be used when blood sugar cannot be controlled by diet and exercise alone.
Using Januvia for Type 2 DiabetesType 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes (see Diabetes Types). It is also sometimes called adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the cells of the body do not respond to insulin as well as they normally should. As a result, the cells do not take sugar out of the blood very well. This is why type 2 diabetics have high blood sugar.
Over time, high blood sugar can lead to a number of problems, including diabetic impotence, diabetic neuropathy, kidney failure, and heart disease (see Diabetes Complications). The cause of type 2 diabetes is not fully understood, although it is known that obesity and genetics play an important role in the development of the disease.
Januvia is used for treating type 2 diabetes in people who cannot lower blood sugar through lifestyle changes (weight loss, diet, and exercise). Januvia is a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor. DPP-4 is an enzyme that breaks down incretin hormones. As a DPP-4 inhibitor, Januvia slows down the breakdown of incretin hormones, increasing the level of these hormones in the body. It is this increase in incretin hormones that is responsible for the beneficial actions of Januvia, including increasing insulin production in response to meals and decreasing the amount of glucose (sugar) that the liver produces. These effects work in combination to lower blood sugar.