Two, Two, Two Pills in One: Meet Janumet

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By: Linda von Wartburg

The FDA has approved Janumet, Merck’s merge of metformin and Januvia into one pill, for use with type 2 diabetes in the United States.  Januvia (sitagliptin) is a DPP-4 inhibitor that works by enhancing the incretin system, a natural process that lowers blood sugar.

(For a description of exactly how that works, see our article “The Incretin Saga”)  Metformin, the most prescribed medicine for type 2 diabetes, is an older drug, the generic form of Glucophage.  It decreases the amount of glucose absorbed from food, reduces the quantity of glucose made by the liver, and increases the body's response to insulin. Merck hopes that their new pill will be helpful from a copay and from a convenience perspective. Combined sales of Januvia and Janumet are expected to total more than $2 billion by 2010.

Sources: Janumet website
Bloomberg.com

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