Januvia is the brand name for sitagliptin, a medication prescribed to improve blood sugar regulation in adults with type 2 diabetes. Produced by Merck and Co., Januvia is intended to be used along with diet and exercise. Evidence on whether Januvia is beneficial for weight loss is conflicting, but the medication does have some effects that might lead to weight loss.
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Januvia helps to regulate blood sugar by increasing the amount of two hormones that the body produces in response to food intake. This increase in hormones has several effects, and two effects may help with weight loss. The hormones decrease the transit time for food to move from the stomach into the intestines, slowing the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, explains NetDoctor. They also cause a feeling of fullness that helps the person to eat less.
In pre-approval research evaluating the effectiveness of Januvia for treating type 2 diabetes, the medication generally did not cause weight gain or weight loss, reports eMedTV. In addition, people taking Januvia along with metformin for treating type 2 diabetes did not lose more weight than those taking only metformin.
In 2008, Merck and Co. presented an analysis of research on Januvia at the American Diabetes Association 68th Annual Scientific Sessions, as reported by "Medical News Today." In comparison with the type 2 diabetes medication glipizide, Januvia was much better at preventing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, in type 2 diabetes patients needing medicine to control blood sugar. In addition, participants taking Januvia experienced significant weight loss, although the actual amounts were small on average.
Some people experience side effects when taking Januvia that could cause weight loss. These effects include excess gas, diarrhea, lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, headaches and dizziness, as listed by NetDoctor.
Januvia is not connected with weight gain, according to eMedTV. This is an important aspect because many other type 2 diabetes medications cause weight gain. Gaining weight is particularly problematic for type 2 diabetes patients, as many already are overweight, and being overweight can worsen the disorder. In the research analysis by Merck and Co., as detailed by "Medical News Today," patients taking glipizide experienced a small but significant weight gain.