DPP 4 Inhibitors

When you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas does not make enough insulin and your body's cells do not react to insulin as efficiently as they should. Insulin helps glucose move from the bloodstream and into the body's cells, where it can be used for energy. When there is a problem with insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. DPP-4 inhibitors (also written as DPP-IV) work by increasing production of insulin and decreasing production of glucose by the liver.


Possible Side Effects of DPP-IV Inhibitors

Talk with your doctor if you think the medicine is causing side effects. You may experience the following:

  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • stuffy or runny nose


Possible Drug Interactions With DPP-IV Inhibitors

Before you take a DPP-IV inhibitor, tell all your doctors and your pharmacist about all the medicines you take. Include medicines you take for your diabetes as well as for any other problem. Tell them about everything you take and how much you take each day, including all of the following:

  • prescription medicines
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • herbs
  • vitamin and mineral supplements

It's best to keep an updated list of these and bring a copy to give to your doctor. That way you can add to it whenever you take something new or delete the types you no longer take. Make a copy for each of your doctors so that they can keep it in your file. This complete list helps your doctor be better prepared to prescribe diabetes pills that are the least likely to interact with your other treatments.


Many medicines can have harmful effects when you take them with other medicines. Always tell your doctor about all the medications that you take. Do not use any other medicine without your doctor's OK. Talk with your doctor before you use a DPP-IV inhibitor if you take other medications.

Written by Beth Seltzer, MD

Last updated June 2008