Drugs Q & A

Does Januvia Cause Weight Loss?

Many medications come with a long list of side effects, some of which may make you want to give up on taking them altogether. One common risk on these lists: weight loss. While this effect may not be dangerous in itself depending on your health goals. That’s why it’s important to be prepared, understand why weight loss can happen, and feel confident that it’s not something you have to deal with. According to experts, losing 1–2 pounds (0.45–0.9 kg) per week is a healthy and safe rate, while losing more than this is considered too fast.

Anytime you start a new medication, ask your pharmacist for basic information, such as what the medication is used for and its side effects.

What is Januvia?

Januvia is a brand of sitagliptin, a medication  used along with diet and exercise and sometimes with other medications to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes (condition in which blood sugar is too high because the body does not produce or use insulin normally).

Over time, people who have diabetes and high blood sugar can develop serious or life-threatening complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, nerve damage, and eye problems. Taking medication(s), making lifestyle changes (e.g., diet, exercise, quitting smoking), and regularly checking your blood sugar may help to manage your diabetes and improve your health.

This therapy may also decrease your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes-related complications such as kidney failure, nerve damage (numb, cold legs or feet; decreased sexual ability in men and women), eye problems, including changes or loss of vision, or gum disease.

Does januvia cause weight loss?

Yes, Januvia can cause weight loss. Studies have shown that patients who took Januvia lost an average of 4 pounds (1.9 kilograms). The 1,200 study participants were also taking one or two standard diabetes medicines. Novo Nordisk, a leader in diabetes care, has also been testing the drug separately for weight loss alone.

This side effect is considered advantageous because many Type 2 diabetes patients are overweight or obese, and losing significant weight usually helps them reduce their blood sugar and better control their diabetes. Over time, too high sugar in the blood can damage multiple organs and weaken circulation.

What other side effects can januvia cause?

Januvia may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

•          stuffed or runny nose

•          sore throat

•          headache

•          diarrhea

•          nausea

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking Januvia and call your doctor immediately:

•          fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, ongoing pain that begins in the upper left or middle of the stomach but may spread to the back

•          shortness of breath, rapid weight gain, or swelling of feet or ankles

•          itchy skin, skin blistering or peeling

•          joint pain

•          rash

•          hives

•          swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat

•          difficulty in breathing or swallowing

Januvia may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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