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So Silly!

So Silly!

For months, my daughter and I have been talking about what I thought was Jardiance. That’s a diabetes medication. For some unknown reason, I asked her to spell it. You’ll never guess. It wasn’t Jardiance at all. I was talking about Jardiance; she was talking about Janumet. While this is still a diabetes medication, it was neither the one I thought we were talking about, nor one I knew anything about. Silly of me, isn’t it? So, of course, Janumet became the topic of today’s blog.

Now, while we know diabetes is the foremost cause of chronic kidney disease, have you ever wondered why? In my very first book about kidneys, What Is It and How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, I included the following information, which may be more than you ever wanted to know. [Hey, did you score your free copy of this book on New Year’s Day?]

“Thank you to the National Kidney Foundation for exactly the answer I was looking for:

  • Blood vessels inside your kidneys. The filtering units of the kidney are filled with tiny blood vessels. Over time, high sugar levels in the blood can cause these vessels to become narrow and clogged. Without enough blood, the kidneys become damaged and albumin (a type of protein) passes through these filters and ends up in the urine where it should not be.
  • Nerves in your body. Diabetes can also cause damage to the nerves in your body. Nerves carry messages between your brain and all other parts of your body, including your bladder. They let your brain know when your bladder is full. But if the nerves of the bladder are damaged, you may not be able to feel when your bladder is full. The pressure from a full bladder can damage your kidneys.
  • Urinary tract. If urine stays in your bladder for a long time, you may get a urinary tract infection. This is because of bacteria. Bacteria are tiny organisms like germs that can cause disease. They grow rapidly in urine with a high sugar level. Most often these infections affect the bladder, but they can sometimes spread to the kidneys.”

Okay then, time to turn to Medical News Today to find out what Janumet is.

“Janumet and Janumet XR contain the active ingredients sitagliptin and metformin. Janumet and Janumet XR are available only as brand-name medications. They’re not currently available in generic form.

Sitagliptin and metformin are available separately as generic medications. However, they aren’t available together as a combination generic drug.

A generic drug is an exact copy of the active ingredient in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.”

Reminder: XR means extended release or slowly released into your body and long lasting. The opposite is IR or immediate release into your body and fast acting.

Let’s take the active [That means what makes the medication work.] ingredients one by one. This is from the Mayo Clinic:

“Sitagliptin helps to control blood sugar levels by increasing substances in the body that make the pancreas release more insulin. It also signals the liver to stop producing sugar (glucose) when there is too much sugar in the blood. This medicine does not help patients who have insulin-dependent or type 1 diabetes.”

Obviously not for me since I only have ¼ of my pancreas left after cancer surgery. I also noticed that a bunch of medications I take would also prevent from taking sitagliptin. Oh, it’s sold as Januvia. So it’s possible to use a sitagliptin only medication.

And Metformin? Medline Plus informs us:

“Metformin is used alone or with other medications, including insulin, to treat type 2 diabetes (condition in which the body does not use insulin normally and, therefore, cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood). Metformin is in a class of drugs called biguanides. Metformin helps to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It decreases the amount of glucose you absorb from your food and the amount of glucose made by your liver. Metformin also increases your body’s response to insulin, a natural substance that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Metformin is not used to treat type 1 diabetes (condition in which the body does not produce insulin and therefore cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood).”

Wait a minute. What are biguanides? Let’s let the Cleveland Clinic explain:

“Biguanides (better known as metformin) are a type of oral diabetes medication that helps lower blood sugar levels for people with Type 2 diabetes. Healthcare providers prescribe this medication for other conditions, as well, like PCOS and gestational diabetes.”

Metformin is the only biguanide. Hmm, you can use medication that is solely metformin, just as you can use medication that is solely sitagliptin. Actually, I’m wondering why Metformin isn’t labeled biguanide. It is sold under five different brand names. And why isn’t sitagliptin sold as sitagliptin? This is confusing to me.

Anyway, finally, we arrive at Janumet, not the only diabetes medication to contain both Sitagliptin and Metformin. What is the benefit of taking both? Back to the Mayo Clinic for us:

“Metformin and sitagliptin combination is used to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes. Metformin reduces the absorption of sugar from the stomach, reduces the release of stored sugar from the liver, and helps your body use sugar better. Sitagliptin helps to control blood sugar levels by increasing substances in the body that make the pancreas release more insulin. It also signals the liver to stop producing sugar (glucose) when there is too much sugar in the blood. This medicine does not help patients who have insulin-dependent or type 1 diabetes….”

In the words of a former student, “Ah, so it’s a double whammy!” I’d have to agree. Be sure to ask your nephrologist or endocrinologist if you’re interested in changing your medication.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

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