Alogliptin is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body does not make enough insulin, or the insulin that it makes does not work properly.
This can cause high blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia).
Alogliptin is prescribed for people who still have high blood sugar, even though they have a sensible diet and exercise regularly.
It works by increasing the amount of insulin that your body makes. Insulin is the hormone that controls sugar levels in your blood.
Alogliptin is only available on prescription.
It comes as tablets that you swallow. It also comes as tablets containing a mixture of alogliptin and another diabetes medicine called metformin. This is known by the brand name Vipdomet.
Who can take alogliptin
Most adults aged 18 years and older can take alogliptin.
This medicine is not used to treat type 1 diabetes (when your body does not produce insulin).
Alogliptin is not suitable for some people. To make sure it's safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to alogliptin or any other medicine
- have kidney disease or liver disease
- are a heavy drinker or dependent on alcohol
- have heart failure
- have or have ever had problems with your pancreas
- are pregnant or breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant
Dosage and strength
Alogliptin comes as 25mg, 12.5mg or 6.25mg tablets.
The usual dose is 25mg a day.
If you have problems with your kidneys, your doctor might give you a lower dose of 12.5mg or 6.25mg a day.
Take alogliptin once a day. You can take it at any time – for example, in the morning or in the evening. But try to take it at the same time every day.
Take your tablet with a drink of water. Swallow the tablet whole, without breaking it.
You can take alogliptin with or without food.
How long to take it for
Alogliptin helps keep your blood sugar level as normal as possible to prevent health problems.
You'll probably have to take it for a long time, even for the rest of your life.
Over time it gets harder to control blood sugar levels, so your doctor might eventually recommend stopping alogliptin and trying a different treatment.
Do not stop taking alogliptin without speaking to your doctor.
If you forget to take it
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it's nearly time for your next dose. In this case, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time.
Do not take 2 doses to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember to take your medicine.
If you take too much
you take more than your prescribed dose of alogliptin and:
- have stomach pains
- are feeling or being sick
- feel dizzy
- are worried
Common side effects
These common side effects of alogliptin happen in more than 1 in 100 people. There are things you can do to help you cope with them:
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if the advice on how to cope does not help and these side effects bother you or do not go away.
Alogliptin does not usually cause low blood sugar (known as hypoglycaemia, or "hypos") when taken on its own.
But hypos can happen when you take alogliptin with other diabetes medicines, such as insulin or gliclazide.
Early warning signs of low blood sugar include:
- feeling hungry
- trembling or shaking
- difficulty concentrating
It's also possible for your blood sugar to go too low while you're asleep. If this happens, it can make you feel sweaty, tired and confused when you wake up.
Low blood sugar may happen if you:
- take too much of some types of diabetes medicines
- eat meals irregularly or skip meals
- are fasting
- do not eat a healthy diet and are not getting enough nutrients
- change what you eat
- increase your physical activity without eating more to compensate
- drink alcohol, especially after skipping a meal
- take some other medicines or herbal remedies at the same time
- have a hormone disorder, such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- have kidney or liver problems
It's important to have regular meals, including breakfast, to prevent hypoglycaemia. Never miss or delay a meal.
If you're planning to exercise more than usual, make sure you eat carbohydrates like bread, pasta or cereals before, during or after exercise.
Always carry a fast-acting carbohydrate with you, like sugar cubes, fruit juice or some sweets, in case your blood sugar level gets low. Artificial sweeteners will not help.
You may also need to eat a starchy carbohydrate, like a sandwich or a biscuit, to maintain your blood sugar for longer.
If taking in sugar does not help or the hypo symptoms come back, contact your doctor or the nearest hospital.
Make sure your friends and family know about your diabetes and the symptoms of low blood sugar levels so they can recognise a hypo if it happens.
Serious side effects
It happens rarely, but some people may have serious side effects after taking alogliptin.
Call your doctor or contact 111 straight away if:
- you get severe pain, tenderness, redness, or swelling in the groin or perineal area accompanied by a high temperature or feeling unwell – this may be a sign of a serious infection called Fournier's gangrene
- you get severe stomach pains – this may be a sign of pancreatitis
- the whites of your eyes turn yellow, or your skin turns yellow (this may be less obvious on brown or black skin) – this can be a sign of liver problems
Serious allergic reaction
It's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to alogliptin.
These are not all the side effects of alogliptin. For a full list, see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
Alogliptin and pregnancy
Alogliptin is not usually recommended in pregnancy as there is little information about whether it may affect a developing baby.
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant talk to your doctor, as they will need to review your treatment. They will be able to suggest a different medicine that is safer for you to take in pregnancy.
Alogliptin is not usually recommended while breastfeeding. We do not know how much of alogliptin passes into breast milk, but it is possible it could lower your baby's blood sugar level.
If you are breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed, talk to your doctor about what's best for you and your baby. They will need to review your treatment and may be able to suggest a different medicine for you, particularly if you're breastfeeding a newborn or premature baby.
If your doctor says it's OK to keep breastfeeding, contact your health visitor, midwife, pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible if:
- your baby is not feeding as well as usual
- your baby seems unusually sleepy or drowsy
- your baby seems unusually restless or irritable
- your baby is paler, or more sweaty, than usual
- your baby seems hungrier than usual
- your baby is peeing more
- you have any other concerns about your baby
Alogliptin and fertility
There's no evidence to suggest that taking alogliptin reduces fertility in either men or women.
Speak to a pharmacist or your doctor if you're trying to get pregnant. They may want to review your treatment.
Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines and alogliptin can affect each other. Taking them at the same time as alogliptin can cause low blood sugar or increase your risk of getting side effects.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking insulin or any other diabetes medicine. Your doctor may want to lower the dose of these medicines when you start alogliptin to reduce the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
Make sure that your doctor and pharmacist know you're taking alogliptin before starting or stopping any other medicine.
There's very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements with alogliptin. They're not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They're generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines.
Some herbal remedies might increase your chance of getting low blood sugar with alogliptin.
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