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New Drug for Type 2 Diabetes

Aschenbrenner, Diane S. MS, RN

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: September 2011 - Volume 111 - Issue 9 - p 22-23
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000405054.38571.4f
Drug Watch

Diane S. Aschenbrenner is the course coordinator for undergraduate pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. She also coordinates Drug Watch: dianea@son.jhmi.edu.

Linagliptin (Tradjenta), one of a class of drugs called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, is the newest drug approved for use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Hormones called incretins, which are produced in the gastrointestinal tract and are involved in the regulation of blood glucose levels, rise immediately after a meal in response to elevations in glucose levels. They increase insulin biosynthesis and reduce the secretion of glucagon from the pancreas in order to decrease circulating glucose levels. The enzyme DPP-4 breaks down incretin hormones. As a DPP-4 inhibitor, linagliptin allows the incretins to remain active in lowering blood glucose levels. Linagliptin has been shown to promote long-term control of glucose levels.

The drug is taken once daily, either with or without food. Because it decreases blood glucose levels only when they're elevated, linagliptin doesn't cause significant hypoglycemia when used as monotherapy. The risk of hypoglycemia increases, however, if it's administered with other antidiabetic drugs such as the sulfonylurea derivative glyburide (Diabeta and others) or the biguanide metformin (Glucophage and others).

For more information on linagliptin, see the complete prescribing information from the Food and Drug Administration: http://1.usa.gov/kIxd5Z.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.