Generic Name: Linagliptin
Brand Name: Tradjenta
What is Tradgenta (linagliptin)?
Tradjenta is an oral antidiabetic medicine that helps regulate blood sugar levels of individuals with type 2 diabetes. It is mostly recommended for individuals who are unable to control their blood sugar levels through diet and exercise. Doctors sometimes recommend this medicine in combination with other antidiabetic drugs. When blood sugar levels are controlled, the risk of developing health issues such as kidney disease, nerve problems, stroke, slow wound healing, vision trouble leading to blindness, and heart attack is decreased.
Linagliptin is available with the brand name called Tradjenta and is currently not available in its generic form. It belongs to the class of drugs called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. The drug works by increasing hormones that can stimulate the insulin production of the pancreas along with promoting less glucose production by the liver. It is a prescription drug that should only be taken when prescribed by the doctor.
Tradjenta is not for the treatment of type 1 diabetes and another medical condition called diabetic ketoacidosis since it would not be effective in such conditions. Currently, Tradjenta is not yet studied in patients who have a history of pancreatitis. Moreover, it is still not known whether the medication can lead to an increased risk of developing pancreatitis in people who already had pancreatitis in the past.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes can affect any individual regardless of age or gender. Its early symptoms are not easily noticeable, so people who have the disease are mostly unaware of their condition. It is estimated that one out of three individuals at the early stages of type 2 diabetes is unaware of the medical condition.
The disease tends to interfere with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which are required for energy, thereby causing high blood sugar levels. A chronic increase in a person's blood sugar level can also lead to an increased risk of developing other dangerous health issues. Glucagon maintains the normal concentration of blood glucose and works oppositely to insulin. It is a linear peptide of 29 amino acids. Structurally, glucagon is related to the secretin family of peptide hormones. Glucagon is synthesized as proglucagon, which is synthesized within the intestinal tract, where it is processed not into glucagon, but into a family of glucagon-like peptides. The alpha-cells of the pancreatic islets undergo processing to yield glucagon. The major effect of glucagon is on the blood glucose levels. Glucagon causes the liver to release glucose to the rest of the body by exerting control over two pivotal metabolic pathways in the liver.
DPP-4 inhibitors help the pancreas synthesize more insulin. Aside from Tradjenta (linagliptin), DPP-4 inhibitors include:
Glucagon is released from the alpha cells within the pancreatic islets. It controls glucose and ketone production in the liver. Glucagon is also essential for maintaining the blood sugar levels in the body. It is released between meals and overnight. It stimulates the body to break down glycogen and starch reserves and helps to form new units of ketones and glucose from other substances.
Avoid taking linagliptin if you have the following conditions:
- Certain Allergies - If you are allergic to any of its contents or ingredients.
- Type 1 Diabetes - Linagliptin is not used for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis - If you have high levels of ketones in the urine or blood.
There are a lot of factors that must be considered before any medicine is prescribed to ensure an effective treatment and prevention of possible drug side effects. It is highly recommended to inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- Pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- High cholesterol levels or triglycerides
- A history of gallstones
- A history of alcohol abuse
- Taking insulin or other kinds of oral antidiabetic medicines
- Currently taking other prescription or non-prescription drugs such as over-the-counter medications, herbal medicine, vitamins, or any dietary supplements.
- Allergy to any food, drugs, or other substances
- A history of pancreatitis
Individuals who have a history of angioedema, which is characterized by swelling of the face, hands, lips, tongue, or throat along with a difficulty in breathing or swallowing. Such reactions are mostly caused by the intake of another DPP-4 inhibitor called saxagliptin.
Certain drugs cannot be given in combination with linagliptin to avoid a reduction in the effectiveness of either of the medicines or cause any side effects.
- Rifamycins - These drugs are antibiotics that treat and prevent particular bacterial infections such as tuberculosis and meningitis. The effectiveness of linagliptin tends to reduce when these antibiotics are taken.
- Meglitinides - These drugs are also oral antidiabetic drugs, which include repaglinide, insulin, or sulfonylureas such as glipizide. If they are taken along with linagliptin, the risk of having low blood sugar levels also increases.
Other drugs that can interact with Tradjenta (linagliptin):
- St. John’s wort
Linagliptin can also have an interaction with medications used for seizures, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, any kind of oral diabetic medications, beta blockers, and sulfa drugs.
Drug interactions are said to occur when medicine is taken along with food or other types of medications. Let your doctor know if you smoke, consume caffeinated drinks or alcohol, and any illegal drugs since it can hinder or interact with the prescribed medicine.
Linagliptin should be taken as directed by the doctor. You can also check the medicine label for a detailed instruction on dosing and usage. Linagliptin should be taken orally either with or without food. It is also beneficial to take the medicine at the same time daily to achieve a faster recovery.
Follow the course of treatment by continuously taking the medicine even if your symptoms have already improved. If you miss a dose, then take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is time for the next dose, then skip the missed one and follow the regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses simultaneously to avoid overdosing. The dose would vary from person-to-person, but the usual recommended dose is 5 mg daily. The medication should be stored at room temperature away from sunlight, heat, and moisture.
This medicine is part of a complete treatment plan, which includes regular exercise, proper diet, weight control, monitoring of blood sugar levels, eye care, dental care, and foot care. Make sure to properly manage your exercise routine along with following the recommended diet and medication. Stopping or changing any of these important factors can affect your blood sugar levels.
Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit in case of an emergency such as severe hypoglycemia. The doctor can teach any of your family members or friends on how to use the kit if such emergency arises. Low blood sugar levels can happen to anyone who has diabetes. Always carry a glucose candy or tablet for emergency purposes. Other sources of sugar are crackers, fruit juices, non-diet soda, and raisins.
Any type of medication can have certain side effects, which can either be minor or major. You can ask and discuss the possible side effects associated with linagliptin with your doctor.
The common side effects of linagliptin are joint pain, stuffy nose, headache, and sore throat. Stop taking linagliptin and call your doctor as soon as possible in case of severe side effects such as:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Severe allergic reactions such as hives or swelling of the face, mouth, throat, lips, and tongue
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- Unusual hoarseness in the voice
- Skin peeling
- Symptoms that indicate pancreatitis such as back pain or stomach pain, which can be accompanied with or without nausea and vomiting
Aside from taking the medicine on time, make sure that you also diligently follow the prescribed diet and exercise routine provided by the doctor to achieve maximum benefit. Do not alter the dosing without your doctor's recommendation. Continue taking the medicine even if you start feeling well.
Linagliptin all by itself would not lead to hypoglycemia, but if it is taken with other medications, then it can probably lead to low blood sugar levels. When an individual has a low blood sugar level, certain symptoms can be experienced such as fainting spells, dizziness, weakness, excessive sweating, and drowsiness. Moreover, the heart can beat faster and there can be changes in one's vision. Headaches can also become severe along with making you feel hungrier. To prevent such situations, make sure to have meals at regular intervals and at the same time every day, so that it becomes a habit. Avoid skipping your meals since it can cause an instant impact on your blood sugar levels.
There have been reports of fatal pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in few patients who have been taking linagliptin. Do not delay and seek immediate medical help if you experience a sudden development of pain in your back or stomach that tends to become severe.
Always check your blood sugar level whenever you feel unwell or when you are dealing with stressful situations. You may feel weak or unwell when you have a fever, infection, or a medical emergency.
- Linagliptin is available with the brand name called Tradjenta and is currently not available in its generic form.
- It is an oral antidiabetic medication that helps regulate blood sugar levels of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
- It is mostly recommended for individuals who are unable to control their blood sugar level through exercise and proper diet.