Janumet alternatives for diabetes

Janumet and Janumet XR are brand-name diabetes medications manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. It is used to help manage blood sugar levels in adults who have type 2 diabetes mellitus. Janumet should be used alongside exercise and changes to your diet.

Here, we will take a look at what Janumet is, how it works, its side effects, and the alternative treatments available to Janumet for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

How does Janumet work?

Janumet contains two active ingredients, called sitagliptin and metformin. These active ingredients reduce the amount of sugar released into your blood and increase the insulin produced by your pancreas. Janumet helps you lower your blood glucose levels.

Sitagliptin belongs to the drug class known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4/DPP-4 inhibitors, which increases the amount of insulin you produce after you’ve eaten. When you digest food, your stomach and gut produce digestive hormones called GLP-1 and GIP that make your pancreas secrete insulin. As you continue to digest your food, these digestive hormones are broken down by an enzyme called DPP-4. This allows your levels of insulin to fall again. If you take Janumet, sitagliptin stops the DPP-4 enzyme from breaking down these digestive hormones. This keeps the hormones active for longer and makes you produce more insulin.

Metformin is classed as a biguanide and reduces how much sugar your liver releases into your blood. As your digestive system breaks down food, your liver releases sugar into your blood. If you take Janumet, metformin slows down the process that causes your liver to do this, lowering the amount of sugar released.

What are the side effects of Janumet?

The most common side effects caused by Janumet in clinical trials include:

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

In rare instances, Janumet can cause more serious side effects, including:

  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication
  • Lactic acidosis – a buildup of lactic acid in your body that can cause breathing difficulties, malaise, sleepiness, muscle pain, and stomach pain
  • Severe joint pain (arthralgia)
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Kidney failure

If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Janumet and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report the negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Janumet drug interactions

Janumet can interact with other medications, including carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (such as zonisamide, acetazolamide, or dichlorphenamide), cationic drugs (such as amiloride, digoxin, morphine, or vancomycin, diuretics, corticosteroids, estrogens, oral contraceptives, nicotinic acid, and calcium channel blocking drugs.

Before taking Janumet, be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to ensure they are safe to take at the same time.

Janumet warnings & precautions

Janumet isn’t suitable for everyone. Don’t take Janumet if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredients sitagliptin or metformin
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Janumet (listed in the leaflet which comes with the medication)
  • Have type 1 diabetes (Janumet is for type 2 diabetes)
  • Have reduced kidney function
  • Have diabetic ketoacidosis – a potentially life-threatening condition caused by diabetes where you break down body fat too quickly
  • Are under 18 years of age

Talk to your physician before taking Janumet if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Janumet (listed in the section above)
  • Have a history of pancreatitis
  • Have heart problems, including congestive heart failure
  • Have liver disease
  • Have kidney disease
  • Are going to get an injection of dye or contrast agents for an x-ray
  • Drink alcohol often or binge drink alcohol
  • Are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
  • Are over 65 years of age

Is there a cheaper alternative to Janumet?

Janumet prices will vary depending on how much you buy and where you buy your medication from. As a guide, a pack of 60 Janumet tablets will cost around $650. Alternative brand name medications containing similar classes of drugs include:

How much these cost and whether they are cheaper than Janumet will also depend on how much you buy and where you buy them from.

Generic (non-branded) medications are normally a cheaper alternative to branded medications such as Janumet. Examples of these include drugs such as metformin, glipizide, and glyburide. Again, how much you pay for these drugs will vary depending on how much you buy and where you buy it from.

Cheaper alternatives to Janumet may also include using natural alternatives. A healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise can help with weight loss and the management of blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes.

Supplements such as cinnamon have been shown to help with the management of Type 2 diabetes. Herbal or plant-based alternatives such as berberine or turmeric are also natural alternative treatments. Speak to your healthcare provider for medical advice before taking supplements to make sure they are safe to take.

Other alternatives to Janumet

What drug can be substituted for Januvia?

Alternatives to Januvia include medications such as Micronase (glyburide), Rybelsus (semaglutide), Jardiance (empagliflozin), Onglyza (saxagliptin), Nesina (alogliptin), and Janumet (sitagliptin/metformin). Your healthcare provider will decide which alternatives are suitable for you based on your medical condition.

Which is better Janumet or Januvia?

Januvia contains sitagliptin only, while Janumet contains sitagliptin and metformin. Januvia is only able to stimulate the body to produce more insulin, while Janumet is able to do this as well as reduce the amount of glucose produced by the liver and reduce the absorption of glucose back into the body.

Are Jardiance and Janumet the same thing?

No. Jardiance contains empagliflozin, which is classed as a sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2), as the active ingredient. Janumet contains sitagliptin and metformin.

Your kidneys normally help you recycle sugar back into your blood from your urine with the help of a protein called SGLT-2. Empagliflozin blocks this protein from working, reducing how much sugar your kidneys recycle. This makes you lose more sugar in your urine. This diuretic action of Jardiance can help to reduce blood pressure.

Jardiance is prescribed to adults with type 2 diabetes to reduce blood sugar levels when used alongside exercise and diet changes and to reduce risk factors such as death by cardiovascular/heart disease.

What’s the difference between Janumet and metformin?

Janumet contains the active ingredients sitagliptin and metformin. This gives Janumet the ability to not only work as metformin does but also allows it the additional function of sitagliptin. Metformin is only able to reduce how much sugar your liver releases into your blood, while Janumet is also able to increase the amount of insulin released from the pancreas and keep the insulin working longer.

Is there a Janumet generic?

Janumet is only available as a brand-name medication. It is not currently available in a generic form. Sitagliptin and metformin, the active ingredients in Janumet, are available separately as generic medications.

When will generic Janumet be available?

Generic Janumet will not be available until the patent for Janumet expires in May 2027. A patent gives the manufacturers of Janumet the exclusive right not to allow a competitor to make a cheaper version of Janumet.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist whose active ingredient is liraglutide. It was approved in 2010 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with a healthy diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels in patients 10 years of age and older with type 2 diabetes. It is used to reduce heart attacks and stroke in type 2 diabetic patients with heart disease.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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Sources (4)

  1. FDA - highlights of prescribing information for Janumet

  2. FDA - highlights of prescribing information for Januvia

  3. FDA - highlights of prescribing information for Jardiance

  4. Drugs.com - Janumet

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.