Saxagliption (Oral)

Sometimes used in combination with other medications, Saxagliptin is an orally administered drug which helps to manage insulin levels for Type II diabetes patients.

Overview

Saxagliptin is most effective when used as part of an overall program in the treatment of Type II diabetes, and this program should also include proper exercise and an appropriate diet. When all these components are used together, they can control high blood sugar, so that the worst effects of diabetes can be avoided, such as nerve problems, kidney damage, blindness, loss of limbs, and sexual function.

It's also essential to control high blood sugar so as to reduce a patient's risk of heart attack or stroke. The way saxagliptin works is by increasing the level of a substance in the body known as incretins, which facilitate the release of insulin after someone has a meal. The incretins also have the effect of lowering the amount of sugar produced by your body's liver. Although saxagliptin is often used in tandem with other diabetes medications, it can be very effective all on its own, because of its impact on lowering sugar production and increasing insulin release.

Conditions Treated

  • Type II Diabetes

Type of Medicine

  • DPP4-enzyme inhibitor

Side Effects

There are several side effects which may accompany the usage of saxagliptin in some patients, and the severity of the side effects will range from fairly mild to fairly severe. Even if you do experience some side effects when taking saxagliptin, your doctor has determined that using this medication will provide more benefits to you than any harm generated by those side effects.

If the severity of the side effects you do experience become troublesome to the point where medical attention is required, you should immediately contact your doctor, so he/she can make a determination on how the symptoms should be managed.

Some of the most serious side effects are as follows:

  • Signs of pancreatic disease - severe stomach pain or abdominal pain which seems to travel around to the back
  • Nausea and vomiting - when this becomes persistent to the point that it just won't stop, medical intervention is indicated
  • Allergic reaction - although a serious allergic reaction to saxagliptin is uncommon, it has been reported by some patients. Signs of an allergic reaction include itching or swelling around the facial area, tongue, throat, or lips, severe dizziness, difficulty with breathing, and rashes
  • Joint pain - pain in the joints which was not experienced before taking saxagliptin
  • Unusual skin blisters or redness on the skin
  • Symptoms of heart failure - shallow breathing or shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles or feet, unusual fatigue or weakness, and unexplained sudden weight gain.

In some cases, taking saxagliptin can trigger a condition in a patient where low blood sugar becomes somewhat dangerous. If you don't happen to have any glucose tablets with you when this happens, you can treat low blood sugar by quickly ingesting some source of sugar like candy, fruit juice, honey, table sugar, or non-diet soda. If any the symptoms of low blood sugar do appear, you should inform your doctor at the earliest opportunity, because it may be necessary to adjust your dosage of saxagliptin.

The low blood sugar condition is more likely to occur in persons who consume large amounts of alcohol, routinely perform heavy exercise, or don't take in enough calories from the food they eat. To some extent, these risks can be lessened by maintaining a regular meal schedule and ensuring that no meals are skipped or missed. Some of the symptoms which are manifested by a person whose blood sugar is dangerously low include the following:

  • Sudden and profuse perspiration
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Persistent hunger
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • A tingling sensation in the hands or the feet.

It is also possible for a high blood sugar condition to be triggered by the ingestion of saxagliptin, and in that case, some of the symptoms you might observe include the following:

  • Persistent unquenchable thirst
  • More frequent urination
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • An unusual fruity odor on your breath
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Flushing which is noticeable in the facial area.

Dosage

The dosages listed in this section should not be considered appropriate for any given patient, as they are intended only as a standard dosage. Your doctor will prescribe a dosage for you personally, based on a number of factors, including your medical condition, the strength of the medication being used, and the frequency of administration.

For most adults, a baseline dosage would be 2.5 mg to 5 mg, orally ingested once each day, ideally after a meal. The tablets themselves should never be cut or split so as to achieve a certain dosage level, and your saxagliptin tablets should also never be shared with another patient being treated for the same condition.

For patients who are experiencing some level of renal impairment, it is not recommended that saxagliptin is taken at all in the most serious cases. For kidney patients with less severe issues, a 2.5 mg tablet of saxagliptin can be taken once daily with a meal.

It is permissible for kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis to take saxagliptin, but as yet, it is not known whether it's safe for patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis to use saxagliptin. All renal patients should be thoroughly assessed as to their precise medical condition before any kind of program including saxagliptin is recommended.

When saxagliptin is used concurrently with any kind of strong CYP3A4 or CYP3A5 inhibitors, a dosage of 2.5 mg is indicated for daily usage. When saxagliptin is used in tandem with sulfonylurea or with insulin, a lower dosage of the insulin treatment is indicated, so as to reduce the risk of triggering hypoglycemia.

Interactions

There are situations where saxagliptin may interact with other medications, and the net effect of those interactions could impact how saxagliptin works in your body, or how the other medications work in your body. It could also cause an increase in the severity of any side effects which you might experience. You should not stop, start, or change any of the medications you are currently using, or the dosages of any of those medications, without first consulting your doctor.

Before beginning a program of treatment with saxagliptin, it's a good idea to compile a comprehensive listing of all the medications you are currently taking, along with the dosage levels of each. This should include all your prescription medications, all over-the-counter drugs, all vitamins, and even all herbal supplements which you may currently be taking.

Besides reviewing this list with your doctor, it will be a good idea to have the list on hand if you should ever need to make an unplanned trip to an emergency room, or a healthcare clinic for treatment of a medical condition. Since any doctors at the clinic will not be aware of your medical condition or the drugs you are currently taking, the list will be very helpful in avoiding unwanted interactions between drugs. This will allow your emergency room doctor to safely prescribe a treatment program for whatever emergency medical condition you might have.

The types of medications which most commonly interact with saxagliptin are known as beta-blocker medications. These include such drugs as propranolol, metoprolol, and timolol, which is often used in the treatment of com/health/coma/">glaucoma.

Warnings

Before you start a program of treatment with saxagliptin, make sure that you aren't allergic to this medication or any of the ingredients used in its manufacture. If you should discover that you are allergic to the medication after you start a treatment program, you need to inform your doctor immediately about the situation, so an alternative medication can be considered. It is also prudent to inform your doctor if you have any other type of allergies to pets, foods, or other medications. Since there could be inactive ingredients in some of these substances which trigger an allergic reaction for you, it's something your doctor should know about.

When you first consult with your doctor about taking saxagliptin, tell him/her everything about your family's medical history, especially as it relates to persistent use or abuse of alcohol, high triglycerides or fat levels in the blood, any history of heart failure, kidney disease, pancreatic diseases, gallbladder stones, and any of the risk factors for pancreatitis.

Since it is possible for patients who take saxagliptin to experience blurry vision, disorientation, or drowsiness, it is unwise to drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery after taking saxagliptin.

Taking the medication can trigger either high blood sugar or low blood sugar conditions in a patient, and that will sometimes be enough to trigger unwanted side effects that can impact your performance on the job or at home.

You should not drink alcohol to excess when taking saxagliptin because it has the potential for increasing the risk of pancreatitis or for triggering low blood sugar. Managing your blood sugar is made considerably more difficult when you have a fever, an infection, some kind of significant injury, or if you just had surgery. If any of these medical conditions are imparting additional stress on your body, it may be necessary to increase your dosage of saxagliptin, because its normal effectiveness may be degraded due to the other conditions present.

If you have any surgeries which are being planned for the near future while you are still taking saxagliptin, you should consult with your surgeon to make sure he/she knows you're taking the medication. This is true even for oral procedures, so make sure your dentist is aware that you are taking saxagliptin if you have any oral surgeries scheduled for an upcoming time frame.

Women who are currently pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant should have a thorough discussion with the family doctor to consider the pros and cons of taking saxagliptin during pregnancy. As a general rule, it is inadvisable to be taking this medication while pregnant, because pregnancy has the potential to worsen diabetes or bring it on. If saxagliptin is not used during pregnancy, some alternative management technique will have to be devised so that blood sugar can be managed during the period of pregnancy.

While it is not known with any certainty whether saxagliptin is passed to an infant through breast milk, it's a good idea to avoid breastfeeding anyway while also taking saxagliptin. Pregnant women who want to breastfeed while taking saxagliptin should discuss the issue with their family doctor so that any risks can be considered.

Storage

Saxagliptin should always be stored in the container in which it was sold and should be tightly sealed so that if a child should come across it, the container could still not be opened. Ideally, saxagliptin should be stored high out of the reach of all pets and children, in a location which has normal room temperature and does not experience any high or low extremes of temperature.

There should also not be any excessive humidity in the location where saxagliptin is stored since this can degrade the effectiveness of the medication. For this reason, it is not advisable to store the medication in a bathroom medicine cabinet, because bathrooms are notorious for high heat and high humidity during times of showering and bathing.

Any unused portion of your subscription should be disposed of properly so that pets, children, and any other people do not have access to the medication, and cannot consume it. It should not be flushed down the toilet or down one of the sinks in the home.

If your area has a medicine take-back program in operation, this is probably the best way to have your unused saxagliptin properly disposed of. If you aren't sure about the existence of a take-back program in your area, you can consult with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure. If this is not a possibility where you live, you can consult the FDA's website regarding the disposal of medicines in order to find out how you should proceed.

Make sure not to store your saxagliptin in weekly pill reminder containers, because very few of these have any safety features which prevent access. That would enable any curious child to simply open your pill container, and unknowingly ingest a medication which could prove seriously harmful.

Summary

Saxagliptin is a medication used in the treatment of Type II diabetes and is often used in conjunction with other medications to achieve the most beneficial effects. It works by lowering the amount of sugar produced in the liver, and by facilitating the release of more insulin, so as to bring about better management of blood sugar levels.

Any side effects associated with using saxagliptin have been relatively mild in nature, although it is possible for some severe situations to be triggered. Since saxagliptin can cause either high blood sugar or low blood sugar conditions to develop, patients using the drug should be closely monitored for the first few times after ingesting the medication. If there are no pronounced reactions in the early phase of a treatment program, the chances of any serious side effects developing later are reduced.

Saxagliptin is known to be most effective when used as part of a complete program which includes diet management and regular exercise. It should also be used regularly, with no skipping of meals or dosages, since it delivers the greatest benefit when taken at the same time every day.

 

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Last Reviewed:
January 31, 2018
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018